Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Neil Helmer story about a gift he received from The Loop


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Windsor/Detroit Live Music: May Listings

May Listings
1 - Dirty Love Band (London) w/ Square Root of Margaret (Chatham), with an opening set by The Rhythm Method (Halifax)
2 - Megan Hamilton and the Volunteer Canola (Toronto) w The Eric Welton Band (Windsor) & Kenneth MacLeod & The Windsor Salt Band
3 - The Hung Jury w/ Octoberman (Vancouver) & Old Seed (Winnipeg)
4 - Open Mic Surgery with Tara Watts
5 - Tech Tuesday
6 - Raw Shock Monthly Film Fest
7 - Oh! C.N.A.P. Crafters Night (6:30pm - ?)
8 - Rep By Pop (Toronto) w/ TBA
9 - Great Bloomers (Toronto) w/ Doug Hoyer (Edmonton) & Trevor Malcolm Jazz Trio with Chad Howson
10 - Eamon McGrath(Edmonton) w/ The City Streets (Edmonton) & Meters To Miles
11 - Meatdraw (Victoria) w/ Tara Watts & Valo (Joe Catanzaro)
14 - The Famines (Edmonton) w/ Orphan Choir & High Mother
15 - Vultures! w/ Baretrees! (Toronto)
16 - Peter Project (Toronto) w/ Gravity Wave (Toronto) also with FURS & VEX duo
18 - Open Mic Surgery with Tara Watts
19 - Tech Tuesday
20, 21, 22, 23 - Media City 15 After Parties
25 - Open Mic Surgery with Tara Watts
28 - (WH)Y.M.E.(??) CD Release Party w/ TBA
29 - The Jeffery Brothers Band (Toronto) w/ TBA
30 - Joshua Bartholomew (Toronto) w/ TBA
31 - SAC Songwriters' Group followed by:
Julie Doiron (Sackville, NB) w/ A Welcome Breeze

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yarn Bombing at Phog

Nicole Drouillard, one of the folks behind Oh C.N.A.P. (Craft Night At Phog), decided to do the first yarn bombing I'm aware of in Windsor. Beginning with the bike rack in front of the bar, she has attached some of her work (often times it is scrap from unfinished projects) onto the post of the bike rack.

I can only hope to see more and more of this.

Watch to see what I mean.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Windsor/Detroit Live Music: Immaculate Machine (Victoria) play Phog Wednesday, April 29th

Yes, Immaculate Machine is playing Phog Wednesday April 29th.
To do a nice little favour for all the show-going nuts, Phog is going to make it a cheap-pint night.
$4.50 for pints...for the folks willing to pay the pint-sized cover charge for an amazing Canadian band.

The last time they were in town, they played at The Avalon Front, and I heard they were loved.
Jamie Greer recently blogged about them on his blog - - and had this to say:
"Victoria's Immaculate Machine has been quietly bubbling over on the indie music scene, thanks to the success of 2007's album Fables, that lead to collaborations with members of The New Pornographers, Franz Ferdinand and The Cribs. The fact that one of Immaculate Machines' members - Kathryn Calder - is also a member of The New Pornographers (and head Pornographer A.C. Newman's neice) has also helped. Their currently touring to promote their latest offering, High on Jackson Hill."

Come out to an awesome show.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Windsor Detroit Live Music: Aftermath of Barzin, Nick Zubeck, and Music Minus You

Photo of Barzin by Jon Corbin of Michigan

As is usual when Barzin rolls into Windsor, we are all smiles.
He pulls up in a station wagon, we nod politely, and then the unloading begins.
This time around, Barzin's aunt called ahead from Farmington Hills, Michigan, and warned of the impending thunderstorm coming our way.

So, as Barzin arrived, and we exchanged our courtesies, a stone-whipping wind spun through the parking lot and speckled our faces like mini-asteroids hitting many moons. It put a halt to the cordial talk, and moved us into action.

Once everything was loaded in, Barzin set off to get everything running and sound checked. Of course, our sound board was not turning on...
Panic set in, and I resorted to calling Ryan Fields at home. ON the second attempt, he said he'd fix it when he showed up...if he could get picked up.

Barzin now, with his aunt and uncle, decides to scoop Ryan at home in Walkerville and bring the doctor back as soon as possible. Upon his arrival, everything is smooth and running fine within minutes.

The first treat, hearing RF play again for the first time in almost 6 months, was a nostalgic reminder of why he sets such a phenomenal atmosphere for the bands that follow.

Nick Zubeck played second. I busied myself, looking for bodies to be in the that they could enjoy the fullness of the show I was receiving partially. Zubeck and Barzin share the same musicians, so the change-over between sets was quick and easy. From the tail of Zubeck's set to the face of Barzin's, the crowd somewhat busied themselves with conversation about how many people were missing out on this amazing display.

The CJAM awards (Jammies) were held on Friday night, as well as a couple of other great shows at other venues. I explained to the die-hards on-hand that Friday had talent he wind out of some financial sails for Saturday...and that this is just the way the scene works sometimes. People can't be everywhere.

To tally up the set Barzin's band put on display, I'll say this; they had a vibraphone, a lap-steel, stand-up bass, accordion, and KILLER musicians, all top-notch guys in their own right.

HEaring a familiar song, Barzin's "Let's Go Driving" is likely the most amazing song I've heard in this building this year. It was just the tone, feeling, emotionally charged energy I was looking forward to from his set. The sets were SO TIGHT, with supreme musicianship, it was like wearing headphones at times, as the crowd was silent, present, and aware of what they were witnessing.

Simply put, I cannot wait for these generous, gifted gents to return. They know it too. I hammered that point across. Hopefully you'll make it to their next show, whenever that happens.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jon Corbin and the Amazing Citizenry of Phog

We have great customers.
More like "citizens of Phog" than customers though, as many of you know.

One guy in particular, a Yankee, from Michigan, has been going above and beyond ever since we became aware of him. I felt it was appropriate to share him with you, as his actions have reminded me of the greatness in our Phog citizenry.

Jon Corbin was a casual listener of the CBC Radio 3 podcasts. He became aware, quickly, that the bands he was falling in love with were playing Phog on a regular basis. He was looking them up online, and seeing them playing in Windsor.

Wasting no time, he ventured into a new country, and a new space to see these Canadian bands. But he didn't just bring himself, and his keen ear for great art. He brought friends, family, acquaintances, his fiancee, and more. His buddy Roy has become well acquainted with our inability to make fruity drinks he keeps finding on the internet. Roy now takes pride in stumping me with his concoctions.

Aside from buying music from artists in Windsor and beyond, he goes to local restaurants in the area with regularity, knowing he'll be visiting favourites before he leaves his house in the USA.

But he's gone further. Much further. Knowing that our wireless capabilities were lacking, due to a donated router, he would not take no for an answer when he suggested that HE donate a new router. I told him that if we couldn't afford a NEW powerful router, we shouldn't have one. He disagreed. It was not only delivered, but promptly HOOKED UP by JON himself!

This has been a reason we have such a great live feed from the bar for the streaming video shows we're been unleashing from time-to-time. It's also the reason you can actually do some work/socializing on your computer when in Phog these days.

When he arrived this past weekend, he brought "Free Wi-Fi" displays for the windows, so that passers-by would know we have the Wi-Fi to offer. I could have done this, but I didn't. He didn't suggest it to me, like I would hope and expect...instead he went home and MADE them for us!

For the second time in a month, he brought home-made kettle-corn (like Crunch N' Munch) for Jessica and myself! Jamie Greer partook in the eating this past weekend. He can attest to the care taken when making this stuff.

NOW the guy is on tear to get Phog stickers made for his own distribution. He knows that we are apprehensive when handing these vinyl-cut things out, because they cost, and he's going ahead and printing them on his own accord, with the sole interest in helping promote Phog.

I don't think he knows how much this is UNEXPECTED (naturally) and appreciated.
All of our customers are jewels, diamonds in the rough, alone OR when compared to the general client base in downtown Windsor bars. We are super appreciative for everyone who does these little untold favours and projects.

Jon's over-the-top excitement about what we do was one way to point out how much all of the other customers do, day-to-day for the countless sound technicians who help make the shows sound better (while attending a show), or the fans who help bands load and unload, or help sell their merchandise for them, or who offer bands a place to stay for the night (like Tony F. did this past weekend with Black Diamond Bay).

We are the luckiest bar in Canada because of the people who take care of us.
Thanks Jon, and thanks to everyone else who shows they care.

Can you remember any outstanding acts of Phog you'd like to share in the comment section?
Please remind me of the other great things that've been done.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Windsor Detroit Live Music: Black Diamond Bay and Helsinki Go MANGLED on Friday night.

Simply put, the show last night (Friday the 17th of April) blew some minds.
The Helsinki Go opening was fantastic, as usual, with their fog machine accompaniment and heavily supportive crowd. It was beautiful to see so many new AND familiar faces from Detroit. It was unbelievable for so many Michigan accents to be mingling with our regulars. A very comforting feeling, I must admit.

If you missed the show, one of our good friends - Darren, took video of the Black Diamond Bay portion of the show in two parts. Without exaggerating, as I am want to do, this show was easily in the top 10 shows we've ever held. The finale, in the second video, of Black Diamond Bay was so astronomically epic, if you weren't here, you just won't know the power of this show.

Partick was clear when he arrived that they were loud. Having heard the CD, I thought he was being a little over-cautious. Well...they were loud. They were earplug-intimidatingly loud. It was huge. And awesome.

The entire band, Montrealers, were very kind and gracious, and a joy to host. They were in a great mood, knowing that our great friend Tony (of the Avalon Front) was hosting them overnight. Thanks again Tony, for making their time here better than it would have been otherwise. I cannot wait to have them back. And they claim to be heading back in the Fall. Don;t miss them then.

Enjoy the vids.
Thanks DARREN!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, April 11, 2009


How many nights are you planning to be at Phog next week?
Starting on the 14th...there's a windfall of entertainment that I can't remember since last October.

The Pack A.D., recently profiled on The Smoking Section page of Rolling Stone Magazine, is playing Phog on Tuesday, April 14th with Another Saturday Knight.

A book launch for Alexander Zelenyj's release - Experiments at 3 Billion A.M. - will take place on Wednesday the 15th.
The following night, Thursday the 16th, local goodness floods the stage with Maverick and This Is Me As A Woman. It's one of those nights when you look around the room and know absolutely everyone in the building. If you're a newbie, it's a good opportunity to meet the weekly regulars.
The MONSTER show of the week on Friday, April 17th (as if The Pack A.D. didn't have enough hype) is Black Diamond Bay (Montreal) w/ Helsinki Go. It's going to be a barn-burner, as Patrick Krief's "new" project is following his run in the extremely successful Montreal band, The Dears.
Tickets are on sale now in advance at Phog for $6. They will be $8 at the door on the night of the show. If you're wise, you'll get them the next time you'r in the bar, or you'll likely find yourself outside of it on Friday the 17th of April.

And last but not least, The Mindframes (with the wonderful addition of Andrew McLeod) will be playing on the Saturday night (18th) with Metro4 (London). A comfy night, if I may say so myself.

Which shows will you be coming to?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, April 03, 2009

Windsor/Detroit Live Music: Phog Weekend for April 3 & 4

The New Kings (Toronto) are playing with High Mother this Friday. If you don't recall The New Kings, it's because it's been a while since they were here. They used to open for Kelly and The Kellygirls whenever they came to Windsor. The New Kings have a punk/rock approach, with a large dose of ACTIVISM.

Michael Louis Johnson is an outspoken bike activist, among other things, and has hosted several public events in support of his views in Kensington Market and other parts of Toronto.
Links are HERE, HERE, and HERE.

No kidding...with TOTAL COINCIDENCE, and film is being shown next door at The Capitol Theatre called, Rubber Side Down: From The Rockies To The Rock, showing at 7:30pm.
From their website: "It is an epic Canadian adventure best summed up in three words: Coast. To. Coast. Spanning over three months in the summer of 2008, two amateur cyclists would attempt to pedal 8000 km from Victoria, BC to St.John's, Newfoundland, in an effort to shed light on Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis—tragic bowel diseases that are in dire need of a voice. What they discovered will astound you."

High Mother compliments this show perfectly, with high energy, straight-up rock and roll power. This local band, on the newer side of fresh, blew me away when they played our place for last year's FAM Festival. If you like it loud or "with a message", be at Phog Friday night.
You are SO lucky.
Slow Down, Molasses (Saskatoon)are coming with none other than Valery Gore (Toronto) on Saturday night. Unreal.
Who is Slow Down, Molasses? Well...remember Library Voices, who I blogged about, and who blew our minds? Well, Ryan, the brilliant sound-man and great guy is returning with HIS band.
What do they sound like?
From the Slow Down Molasses myspace:

"Slow Down, Molasses are like the Broken Social Scene of the prairies, and their music, both individually and as a group, always tastes good no matter how you mix it." - Exclaim!

"...I hear Cuff the Duke and the band Low getting busy with each other on their new album, I'm an Old Believer." - Chris Alscher - CBC Radio 3 "...channelling the spirits of Neil Young, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Low" - FFWD Weekly "...a gloriously ramshackle amalgam of Okkervil River and all things Will Oldham" - Blog Cabin "I'm an Old Believer is unique, adventurous and incredibly enjoyable. Somehow - like the emerging scene from which they come - the collective manages to smash down your preconceptions but satisfy your expectations with a blend of surprising warmth and cold isolation. Hyperbole aside, and knowing my tastes don't often line up with the norm, this record is a must have." -

Slow down, Molasses has played with Chet, The Acorn, Great Aunt Ida, Julie Doiron, Calvin Johnson, The Weakerthans, Woodpigeon, Plants & Animals, and Torngat. Whoa.

And now onto the opener! Valery Gore! Ba-BOOM!

You may remember her from her poster the first time she came around.

She played with Royal Wood on a Sunday night almost 4 years ago. Now, Valery has a new album out, and she is a BEAST! Her single Worried Head is easily one of the best songs I've heard this year. Check it on her myspace page...

This show is going to turn heads. Don't say I didn't warn you. They didn't book this thing together...I sorta lucked into these two on the same night, so get there and enjoy this rarity.

And lastly on Sunday. Holy shit, if I may say so myself.
Brasstronaut (Vancouver) who blew our minds at the end of 2008 are BACK! Edo has convinced his boys to head back to Windsor, with their horn and piano infused awesomeness. Here's a video -

Brasstronaut - Requiem for a Scene from Alan Miller on Vimeo.

And that's not all.
The Whitsundays from Edmonton are coming too!
Ever heard of Shout Out Out Out Out? The Whitsundays are a band containing members from that other Edmonton music-monster, but with a MUCH different sound.
What do they sound like?
From The Whitsundays' myspace page:
"It could just as easily be 1967. But no matter the year, Edmonton, Alberta's the Whitsundays certainly have a knack for writing yellowed, reverb-wrapped pop music, borrowing from the grand tradition of English psychedelia, garage, and vintage organ rock. With reverent nods to the flower-picking whimsy of the Zombies, the red-faced bluster of the Animals, and the delightful inanity of Syd Barrett, the Whitsundays' self-titled debut is a vintage gem, and a charming hodgepodge of '60s musical ephemera. The main Whit, Paul Arnusch -- who also logs time with starry post-rock supernauts Faunts -- called on his ever-expanding collection of vintage gear (from archaic guitars to Rhodes and Wurlitzers) to document a loose, passionate love letter to the past 40 years of "timeless music."

Jamie Greer managed to get this newer, up-and-here band onto this bill. We'll all thank him later. I will be at this show, on a Sunday night, and I highly advise you get your ass to this one as well.

And without any other item needed to draw me to this show, we overdo it and add A Welcome Breeze. I cannot think of a better opener for Brasstronaut, as he did such an awesome job when he opened for the first show. Be there. Be happy you were there.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,