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The Bloody Five play Lee’s Palace this Saturday

November 25th, 2011 · 3 Comments

By Karen Bliss

The Bloody Five will be releasing an 11-song album in the new year. Courtesy Martin Wojtunik

The Bloody Five frontman Kevin “KD” DeFreitas, a former Annex resident who is now a high school teacher living in suburban Toronto, is lining up a giveaway for his band’s show at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W.) on Nov. 26.

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Tags: Annex · Arts · People · General

Daycare Records brings new talent to the Toronto music scene

September 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on Daycare Records brings new talent to the Toronto music scene

By Síle Cleary

The Danger Bees. Courtesy Luther Mallory.

They may be new in town, but Daycare Records are showing just how feisty they are by utilizing the tag line “babysitting your stupid band.”

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Tags: Annex · Liberty · Arts · General

Weekly music meet-ups: bringing pros and newcomers together

August 5th, 2011 · 5 Comments

By Karen Bliss

On BS Fridays, local musicians and artists shoot the breeze. Perry King/Gleaner News

A meeting at a local Starbucks with “Steal My Sunshine” hit maker Marc Costanzo from the pop group Len gave Barbara Sedun, EMI Music Publishing Canada’s senior vice-president, the idea to host a free weekly networking event in the Liberty area.

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Tags: Liberty · Arts · General

This year’s Junofest stacked with nominees

March 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on This year’s Junofest stacked with nominees

By Karen Bliss

After moving around the country for the past nine years, the Junos will be back in Toronto on March 27th for their 40th anniversary show. As part of the week-long celebration, JunoFest will take over downtown this weekend with 120 acts—more than 50 of them Juno nominees—playing 20 venues.

“I believe we broke a record for JunoFest for booking Juno-nominated bands,” says Jeff “JC” Cohen, co-owner of Toronto’s Collective Concerts, who was hired by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) to book the music festival. “We really focused on making it very heavy on nominees. We even got Christian and Aboriginal nominees.”

“[CARAS] told us to pick our favourite bands. We got some of them, not all of them, but we tried. They told us to book as many nominees as possible and they also told us to keep it as Toronto as you possibly can. It’s supposed to be showing off Toronto [talent], but I included Montreal because they haven’t had a Junos yet.”

Unlike Canadian Music Week or North By Northeast, JunoFest books less acts that play longer sets. “The headline act is doing 90-minutes, as opposed to the usual 40,” explains Cohen. “It’s booked less like a festival and more like a club crawl with regular nights at the venues.”

Cohen added that for the first time advance tickets are available for some of the larger shows. We’ve compiled a couple of shows to look out for in our coverage area. On the 25th, Flash Lightnin’, a Southern rock trio from Toronto, playing the Bovine  Sex Club. A line up of singer songwriters will also be playing that night. Canadian music veteran Emm Gryner, Songwriter of the Year nominee Royal Wood, and acoustic pop duo Dala will be performing at The Great Hall. Also worth a listen that night are Young Empires at the Drake, Grapes of Wrath at the El Mocambo, Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose at The Garrison, and D-Sisive, Said The Whale, and Justin Rutledge at the Horseshoe.

The festival continues on March 26, including music from Moncton singer-songwriter Julie Doiron at The Garrison, folk artist  Basia Bulat at the Great Hall, indie group Dearly Beloved at the Rivoli, and country rock trio Elliott Brood at The Horseshoe.

“Being a part of Juno weekend is pretty amazing in itself,” says country artist and Juno nominee Dean Brody who plays the El Mo on the 26th, “but looking ahead to my Junofest show on Saturday night is a real bright spot because it’s post Gala Awards and the pressure of the impending award will be off and we will be ready to go. Fresh back from Australia, myself and my band will use that rockin’ 75-minute set to keep the party going. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Check the website for up-to-date venues and times. For $30, wristbands (available at or 1-855-985-5000) grant access to all the JunoFest shows. Many are restricted to ages 19 and over. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster or in person at the Horseshoe, Soundscapes, and Rotate This.

Karen Bliss is an Annex-based music journalist and the co-author of Music from Far and Wide: Celebrating 40 Years of the JUNO Awards.

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Tags: Liberty · Arts

Annex gets taste of largest ever CMW

March 9th, 2011 · Comments Off on Annex gets taste of largest ever CMW

Meredith Shaw plays the Annex WreckRoom Mar. 9. Courtesy Meredith Shaw

By Karen Bliss

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Tags: Arts · General

Sam James makes good joe

November 19th, 2010 · Comments Off on Sam James makes good joe

Sam James' self-titled coffee shop has been brewing up good business. Matt James/Gleaner News

By Karen Bliss

The lattes at Sam James Coffee Bar (297 Harbord St.) are a work of art and it has little to do with the carefully poured rosetta design that decorates each cup.

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Tags: People · General

Watch the Watchmen: ‘90s frontman works to balance music and real life

September 12th, 2010 · Comments Off on Watch the Watchmen: ‘90s frontman works to balance music and real life

The Watchmen, led by singer Danny Greaves, will be performing at the Horseshoe Sept. 24–25. Courtesy Reil Munro.

By Karen Bliss

Danny Greaves, vocalist from the popular ‘90s rock band The Watchmen, still plays live with the band, but he’s been working on solo material, composing for film, and has ventured into the restaurant biz.

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Boast about The Coast

September 10th, 2010 · Comments Off on Boast about The Coast

The Coast will be releasing their sophomore album Queen Cities Sept. 23. Courtesy Carl Heindl.

By Karen Bliss

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Choosen ones: local acts worth checking out at NXNE

June 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Choosen ones: local acts worth checking out at NXNE

Purrr play the Bread & Circus June 19. Courtesy Christopher Wadsworth.

By Karen Bliss

More than 2,500 artists applied for a spot at the 2010 North By Northeast music festival, which takes place all over the city from June 14 to 20, so the 650 bands and solo acts that were accepted have obviously been given the thumbs up from the organizers.

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Tags: Arts · General