Fat Albert’s wraps up another season tonight with The Curries
At 47 years of age, the weekly (except in summer) Fat Albert’s Wednesday open stage is far and away the longest running such event in Toronto –if not in the history of the world!
When you think about all of the talents, great and small, who’ve appeared at alcohol-free gatherings that started out in a church basement in 1967, it’s hard not to find yourself feeling a sense of awe. It was one of the first places I performed at when I began hanging around the TO music scene in the late 80s and it wasn’t just the fact that it was taking place in a church basement that made it feel like a weekly religious experience.
You get an inkling of the range of talents who’ve done their thing at “Fat’s”, as regulars call it, from perusing the list of participants on the two Darn Folksingers compilation albums that contain tracks by performers who’ve called Fat’s home over the years. The discs include tracks by stellar talents like Bob Snider, Glen Hornblast, Noah Zacharin, Linda Saslove, Doc MacLean, Signe Miranda, Norm Hacking, Michael Laderoute, likewater, and many more. In the Fat’s spirit, the double-album set is just $15!
Fat’s is a unique experience that’s all about the love of songwriting. Usually about 15 performers take the stage on any given Wednesday, doing two songs each, with sign-up starting at 7, the sets at 8 and a feature set taking place at 9.
A donation of $2 is requested for entrance but no one is ever turned away for being unable to pay. The toonie helps put a couple of bucks in the pockets of the feature performer but it’s not what you’d call a big-ticket gig –players participate and do features because they love the vibe. As the Fat Albert’s website puts it: “what we pay is attention”.
It can feel a bit intimidating for a newbie talent, because it’s true: the entire audience actually listens to your material!
These days the gatherings, which run September through June, take place in a building known as the Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St., quite near the corner of Spadina and across the street from Grossman’s, another aged yet still vibrant live music room a block south of College Street.
Tonight’s feature to wrap up the 47th season is charming duo The Curries. Jeff and Debbie usually do a mix of acoustic Pop covers and originals, but I’d expect to hear pretty much all originals (there’s one on one of the compilation albums, btw) for their set tonight since that is really what the essence of Fat Albert’s is all about.
The world may have changed a lot since 1967 and Fat’s may have moved, but the spirit of the 60s is alive and well among the circle of dedicated volunteers who run it and the legion of artists who will always have a special place for it in their hearts.
-Gary 17, www.torontomoon.ca
Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.) 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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TDJF = Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival; cover charge/pass entry for most shows except where specified otherwise by $0 in listing.
Noon> TDJF: Woodshed Orchestra @ Shops at Don Mills (New Balance Side Stage), 1090 Don Mills Rd., TO East ~Jazz; $0
*5-8> The Mediterranean Stars @ Castro’s, 2116 Queen St. E.. TO East ~Jazz
5> TDJF: Chris Gale Group @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
5> TDJF: jam @ Shops at Don Mills (New Balance Side Stage), 1090 Don Mills Rd., TO East; $0
6> TDJF: Gary LaRocca @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~instrumental guitar; $0
6> Belle Regards @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
6> Comhaltas Irish Slow Session @ Tranzac Club (Tiki Room), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~folk dancing
8> The Colour Of Soul @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~Jazz
7> TDJF: Slowcan Ramblers @ Shops at Don Mills (City Cadillac Stage, Town Square), 1090 Don Mills Rd., TO East ~Jazz; $0
7-9> Liam Titcomb ep release for Shuter Street Sessions @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West
*7-11> open jam with Wayne Buttery Band @ The Beacon, 146 45th St., Wasaga Beach
*7:30-10:30> Peter Griffin & BTBs @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave., TO East ~Jazz
7:30> Trevor Giancola @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO ~jazz
7:30> One Hit Wonders fundraiser for Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund with various performers @ Clinton’s, 693 Bloor St. W., TO
7:30> Catfish Willey & The Buckle Busters @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough
*8-12> Girls Night Out Jazz singers jam with Lisa Particelli, Peter Hill et al @ Chalkers, 247 Marlee Ave., TO North-West
*8> open jam with Juggernaut Jam Band featuring Andy Narsingh @ Rockpile East, 2878 Eglinton Ave. E., Scarborough
**8> open stage season finale with 9 p.m. feature by Jeff & Deb Currie (The Curries) @ Fat Albert’s, 25 Cecil St. (Steelworkers Hall), TO ~Roots
*8-1> open jam with Wednesday’s Child feat. Johnny Bootz Hutt @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave., TO
8> tba @ Monarchs Pub (Eaton Chelsea Hotel), 33 Gerrard St. W., TO ~Jazz
8> Those Damned Buskers @ The Only Café, 972 Danforth Ave., TO East
*8-11> Fraser-Daley @ Inter Steer, 357 Roncesvalles Ave. TO West ~Roots/Blues
8-1> Jeanine Mackie @ Timothy’s Pub, 344 Brown’s Line, Etobicoke South ~R&B
8-1> Songsmiths with host Lorne Allen & sets by Ian Reid; Rob Birmingham @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville ~songwriters; $5
*8-12> all-ages jam with The Brand New Low @ Sixth Line Pub, 1500 Sixth Line, Oakville
*8-11> open mic @ Frank’s Pasta, 426 King St. E., Cobourg
8:30> The Outside Track @ Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., TO West ~Roots Fusion; $20/-
*8:30> Crazy Strings host High Lonesome Wednesdays with opening acoustic act @ Silver Dollar 486 Spadina Ave., TO ~Bluegrass
8:30> TDJF: Sinners Quartet with Neil Braithwaite, Nathan Hiltz, Giampaolo Scatozza & Bret Higgins @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West ~Jazz
*8:30> open mic with Jenn Fiorentino @ Earl Of Whitchurch, 6204 Main St., Stouffville
*8:30> Something Country @ The Endzone, 1900 King St. E., Hamilton ~Country
*8:45> Bradley & The Bouncers @ Reservoir Lounge, 52 Wellington St. E., TO ~Jazz/Blues/R&B
9-12> Mike Field Jazz Band @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~original Jun0-winning Blues
9> The Vaudevillian @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave., TO West ~1920s Blues
*9?> open mic with Skip @ The Queen’s Legs, 286 Eglinton Ave. W., TO North
*9?> open mic with Sean Barker @ Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton St., TO
*9?> jam with Michael Zane @ Shakers, 580 Kerr St., Oakville
*9-12> jam with Damage Control @ St. Louis Bar & Grill Ajax, 11 Harwood Ave. S., Ajax
9> Big Wind @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa
*9-1> open mic jam with Whiskey Birds @ Sweetz Lounge, 5289 Hwy 7, Woodbridge-Vaughan
*9:30> open stage with Nicola Vaughan @ Black Swan (downstairs), 154 Danforth Ave., TO East
10> TDJF: Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W., TO ~NYC Jazz
9:30> Remembrance concert for Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson with Ryan Isojima, David Porteous, Simeon Ross & Bradley Trauzzi @ Free Times Cafe, 320 College St., TO; pwyc
9:30> The Black Pearls @ Dakota Tavern, 249 Ossington Ave., TO West ~covers of Travelling Willburys & its members
*9:30-2> jam with Live Animals @ The Unicorn, 175 Eglinton Ave. E., TO North
**9:45> Wednesdays Go Pop showcase with tba @ Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave., TO ~indie
10> Luke Bill @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W., TO
10> Arnd Jurgensen with Bob Vespaziani, Guy LeBlanc, Matthew Poulekakis & friends @ Tranzac Club (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave. TO
*10-2> Blues-Rock jam with Bruce Domoney @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave. TO
*10-2> Paul & Curtis @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~Rock/Pop
10:30> The Undercovers @ The Hideout, 484 Queen St. W., TO ~indie Rock
*10:30> The LMT Connection @ Orbit Room, 580 College St. TO ~Funk/R&B; $10
10:30> TDJF: Wayne Cass Quartet @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West ~Jazz
1am-4am> TDJF: Late Night Jazz jam with Wayne Cass, Richard Underhill, Great Bob Scott, Chris Gartner @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave., TO West ~Jazz
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