Circle Jerk leader Nelson Sobral has come a long way baby
How old exactly songwriter and versatile ace guitarist Nelson Sobral is I can’t really say, but I’d wager that when I first met him fifteen or so years ago he was probably too young to be in a bar legally –maybe that’s why I met him when he was performing in a booze can!
Back then he was a hirstute and dishevelled looking character, completely unlike his suave, even dapper appearance these days –while the beard is a touchstone to those wilder days (and nights) today it’s very artfully groomed. But despite his unkempt appearance in younger days, even then he had a pretty fine command of the six-string.
The late great Liquid after-hours joint (which eventually became the site of the recording studio that adopted the same name, operated by Alec Fraser for many years out of the College St. location in the basement below Pizza Gigi) was a hotbed of live musical activity back then. A mix of artists, gangsters, sluts and party animals –alcoholics and druggies all of us, back then— made for an excitingly edgy place to hang out late into the night. No doubt it inspired more than one song and gave birth to more than one band, as well as leading to a few beatings and romantic breakups. It’s just the way we were back then.
Not everyone emerged unscathed, or even at all, but Nelson came through with flying colours, earning street cred while at the same time retaining a semblance of sanity and honing his talent in a crucible that demanded you stretch yourself musically in ways you might never have imagined doing otherwise.
These days he’s a member of a couple of bands –his own Melting Pot crew, the art-Rock combo I Hate Todd, which I told you about a few weeks ago, the Chris Harper Band– and for the past year or so he’s also been putting on a monthly event labelled Songwriters Circle Of Jerks (there’s that booze can humour still poking its snotty nose out) that is populated by talents who are, of course, doing far more than just spewing their seed for their own gratification.
The shows, which take place at the venerable Free Times Café (320 College St.) each have a theme name (though I’m not sure that this relates to the topics of the songs participants will perform) and the artists, pre-selected by Sobral, share their tunes in the traditional “songwriters circle”, taking turns one after another and, no doubt, occasionally also joining in on one another’s pieces. They also include a feature performer (doing an uninterrupted set of their own).
The tagline for tonight’s show, which starts at 8:30 is “Que Sera Sera” and the feature act is Shikha, an artist I’m not familiar with –which is kind of the point of having these things in the first place: to put otherwise unknown artists into the spotlight. Cover is pay-what-you-can but presumably there’ll be cds or eps for sale and likely a tip jar for people who get excited by a performer and want to up the ante.
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.
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5-8> G Street Jazz Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*5-8> Nelson Denis @ Frank’s Pasta, 42 King Street E., Cobourg ~eclectic mix (Folk, Jazz, soft Rock, Latin)
6> Corin Raymond @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO ~Roots-Pop
6:30> Kevin Quain @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~moody Blues
7-9> Michael Sheen Cuddy @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~songwriter
7> Shugga @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke South ~Funk
7:30> Mega City Swing Band @ Seven44, 744 Mount Pleasant Ave., TO North
*7:30-9:30> Bluegrass Thursdays with Houndstooth @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
*7:30> open stage with Rob Phillips and Chelsey Bennett Band @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough ~Jazz Blues
*7:30-12> open mic with K.M. Smith @ Molly Bloom’s Guelph, 91 Wyndham St. N., Guelph
*8-12> jam with Tommy Rocker Band @ Karla’s Roadhouse, 4630 Kingston Rd., Scarborough
8-12> Blues jam with Howard Ross & Big Mojo @ The Hub, 15 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
*8> open mic with Anthony Abbatangeli & Ken Foster @ DeSotos, 1079 St. Clair Ave. W., TO West
8> Tafelmusik @ Tranzac Lounge (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO ~baroque + beer
8> John K & The Outfit @ The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Rock
8-12> Kenny V @ Ember Hot Stove, 3039 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke South ~acoustic Pop Rock
*8-12> open mic & jam @ Black Swan Pub Burlington, 4040 Palladium Way, Burlington
*8-11:30> Christopher Plock & Stevie G @ Mulligan’s Pub, 2458 Dundas St. W., Mississauga ~Blues/Jazz/R&B
8-11> open mic with Sandy MacDonald @ Williamsburg Arms, 1187 Fischer Hallman Rd., Kitchener
8:30> Steve Strongman album release for Let Me Prove It To You @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Blues; $25/-
8:30> Songwriters Circle of Jerks: ‘Que Sera Sera’ edition with Nelson Sobral; Shikha; Hugh Wilson; Nick Verona; David Hustler @ Free Times Café, 320 College St. TO ~original Roots/Rock; pwyc
8:30> Songbirds Sessions with host Sarah Beatty & sets by Michelle Rumball; Angie Nussey; Lynne Jackson @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St. Oakville ~original Roots-Pop; $5/pwyc
9> Sam Taylor & The East End Love @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave., TO East ~indie Pop Rock
*9> jam with Ted Rusk @ The Sauble Dunes, 11 Southampton Parkway, Sauble Beach
*9-1:30> open stage with Jay Pennell @ Dave’s On St. Clair, 730 St. Clair West, TO West ~eclectic
9-12> Mr. Rick’s Tin Pan Jazz Band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Jazz
9> The Wooden Horsemen @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~Folk/Blues
9-1> Fat Tony @ Black Dog Pub, 87 Island Rd., Scarb. ~Pop Rock
9-1> Chris Antonik Band @ Monarchs Pub (Eaton Chelsea Hotel), 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~Blues
9> Jack Connolly & The Gas Station Cowboys @ Legends On The Queensway, 1184 The Queensway, Etobicoke South ~Country
9> Oakland Stroke featuring Lou Pomanti @ Orbit Room, 480 College St. TO ~Tower Of Power tribute; $10
9> Ron Hawkins & The Do Good Assassins @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West; $15
**9> jam with Laura Lee Montgomerie @ DNA Bar, 15474 Yonge St., Aurora
*9> jam @ The Wee Pub, 371 Wilson Rd. South, Oshawa
*9-2> karaoke with Joe @ Tudor Rose, 700 Harwood Ave. S., Ajax
*9:30-2> Skip Tracer @ Southside Johnny’s, 3653 Lakeshore Blvd., Etobicoke South ~Rock/Pop
*9:30> karaoke with The English Rose & The Mad Scotsman @ Coyote Jack’s, 64 Harwood Ave. S., Ajax
*9:30> karaoke with Kiki @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East
9:30> Side A feat. Robbie Botos @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
*9:30> jam with Jack B Nimble @ Abbey Road Pub, 3200 Erin Mills Parkway, Mississauga
10> The Shoeless @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave., TO
10> Matthew Hornell @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
10> The Tonkas @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Blues
*10> Salt & Pepper karaoke with Josh & Danish @ St. Louis Ajax. 11 Harwood Ave. S., Ajax
10> Little Birdie @ The Red Garnet, 231 Hunter St. W., Peterborough ~Blues/Roots
10:30> Gargantua @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
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