Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Phog Phest Re-Cap (with thanks) Part 5 - Scott Barlow

This guy is a machine...
He ran the sound board (with bits that HE brought in independently) inside Phog all day for Phog Phest.

He never asked for a single thing all day. He never complained, and he not once was concerned. He never broke a sweat.

Scott Barlow is the most seasoned (not like salt and pepper) sound guy in this city.
He was at the Capitol Theatre, running the shows EASILY, and tackling any sound issues from any show that walked across his path.

We owe him a HUGE debt of gratitude and thanks for his over-the-top professional touch on this indoor stage for Phog Phest.

Thanks SO MUCH Scotty.

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Black Diamond Bay Canceled, but not Yellow Wood...

Patrick Krief e-mailed me, incensed...that his band would be unable to play the show this Friday.

His band is experiencing "health challenges", and are extremely unhappy that they can't make the show.

They will be rescheduling soon, and when they do, you will be notified.

Friday, July 31st will still be a Yellow Wood show (which will totally kick ass), with other bands to be named SOON!

Sorry. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Phog Phest Re-Cap (with thanks) Part 4 - Rino Bortolin

Most of you should know this guy already.
He's known as @bkbrino on Twitter, and as the proprietor of Black Kettle Bistro.
Rino Bortolin.

He was the man in charge of food inside the licensed area of Phog Phest.
That is the lightest, most hollow description of what Rino was actually responsible for on that day.
Yes he sold out of Red Bull, and made hundreds of granola bars (organic), and also served a TON of famous Black Kettle Bistro wraps. But he did SO MUCH MORE in the lead-up to this event.

In the planning stages of Phog Phest, Rino made it known that he was available to help in ANY CAPACITY, from panning to grunt work, to layout, fencing, and volunteers. And it wasn't just talk, because he actually WAS available for help during planning, volunteering, and other such meetings. He also did a lot of grunt work before, during, and after the event.

Rino is the kind of guy who just wants to see good thing, done right.
And he's been in the general business community for far longer than I, he was a go-to reference guide for all things NUMBERS.

Ultimately, he was a guy I knew I could call at a last moments' notice to get advice or help. Whenever I asked, online, where I could get this or that, it was almost ALWAYS Rino answering forst...with an actual solution or connection.

We are all lucky to have this guy in our midst, in our business community, in our culture community, and in our creative class. He is doing everything he can to foster creativity, and to stregnthen to arts community...within his abilities, working 80 hours per week BEFORE considering the time he puts in at his booth at the Downtown Market (which kicks ass BTW) or any of the other addition things he strings together in a week.

Rino, thank you for the support, the foresight, and everything you did to help. Nothing went unnoticed. If I didn't see it, it was "reported".

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The Wooden Sky is coming...

You may remember The Wooden Sky.
They used to play Phog often as Friday Morning's Regret.

The roots/folk/rock trio always surprised people when they would perform, as everyone was expecting a calm show. But they would always reach back and pull out some wild stage show (yes, even on our little stage) and throttle the show-goers in an amazing spectacle.

Well now the band is a four-piece, and they have a new CD coming out. And they are coming to play Phog NEXT Sunday.

In the midst of their Bedrooms and Backstreets tour, The Wooden Sky, being one of Canada’s favourite indie acts, is going to have another run at Phog Lounge.

In fact, if you send your name and email to thewoodensky@themusebox.net, and
include “Phog Lounge” or “Phog Blog” somewhere in the subject line, you will be entered in a contest to win a free Bedrooms and Backstreets Tour limited run EP.

So send them a message, and get in the running for a free copy of what is sure to be an amazing album.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

CBC Radio 3 TV!! The Phog Phest Edition!

I will make it known that these episodes are ALWAYS fantastic, and you should go back and watch the ones from the past, but this one blew my mind.

The R3TV episode of Phog Phest.
Jordan Kawchuk of CBC Radio 3 made this...and I am AMAZED!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Phog Phest Re-Cap (with thanks) Part 3 - Kevin Kavanaugh


When you put on an event, one of the things you generally count on is the recording of that event. In today's tech-saturated world, everyone has a camera, shooting photos and videos. So you know it's going to be captured.

But if you're smart, you hire someone to capture this day with a professionalism and sharpness that will allow you to breathe easy on the day in question.

I didn't do that. But it still happened.

Wandering around, getting last minute planning done in June, I stumbled across Taloola Cafe and Ryan Fields (of Yellow Wood), Alistair (of Three: A Tasting Bar), Shane Potvin (of...my best bud), and Kevin Kavanaugh. Kevin and I go back at least 8 years or so...

When Kevin started The Drive Magazine, I was freshly wrapped in Journalism teachings at St. Clair College. Kevin printed a comic that a friend (Jason Sheardown) and I had done. We were thrilled, and we were GREEN. But Kevin treated us like pros. He had us come to the studio to have our portraits taken, and told us of his artistic leanings. We connected instantly as eager doers looking to make new things happen.

With him being a mover/shaker, with a new magazine in town, and we being two rookie media wannabes, he showed immense humbleness in the way he answered all of our questions, showed us around, and invited us to keep in touch.

Back to Taloola. In betwixt out general prep-talk for Phog Phest, Kevin kind of blurted out that he'd be thrilled to shoot the event, for nothing, as long as he was allowed to use the images as he saw fit, and that he would have special access to capture the shots he wanted. I don't know if he could see the amazement in my eyes...that HE wanted to shoot OUR event!

If I could have head-hunted someone to do it, knowing I was paying for it, he is the guy I know I could get the best shots from, and who would be the reliable, tireless pro. And he was offering his services to us for nothing...so that we would have a startling record of the biggest day of our professional lives.

To put it bluntly, he was perfect. Aside from scrambling around the stage during sets, no one knew he was there, shooting here, there and everywhere, capturing the candids of the crowd and the sweat of the bands. Kevin, like George Manury and Pete Lawlor, showed up shortly after 8pm, and photographed THE WHOLE DAY!!! I don't remember him leaving, and I don't remember properly getting on my knees to kiss his ring and thank him for shooting Phog Phest.

A few days after the event, I got an e-mail from Kevin with this link :
It was the edited gallery of photos from that day that he had taken.

He outlines that anyone can use these images if they want to, as long as they give credit to KEVKAVPHOTO on each shot that is used in publication or web. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!?!?!?

And in his e-mail he said this, "It's my small gift to you Phoggers for givin a shit about art, local talent, and good music. It's the least I could do."

Actually, it's the most you could do Kev. You couldn't have made us happier. I am still over the moon about these images, as I scroll through them with the spare moments I find during my shifts at Phog.

How we find the best people, I will never know, but we are grateful to have you Kevin Kavanaugh, even when you aren't gifting us with thousands of dollars worth of work!
We're lucky to have you in this town.

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Black Diamond Bay (Montreal) w/ Yellow Wood at Phog July 31st, 2009


Patrick Krief came to Phog a few months ago.
We knew there was hype around this band, due to a couple of the members having been in The Dears...so we expected great music...but what we got was WAY MORE.

Black Diamond Bay, closing the show after Helsinki Go, put on a display I won't soon forget. It was a stunning show, with a phenomenal (AND perfectly LOUD) sound. Krief was a shredder on guitar in a way I don't remember seeing on our stage.

For real.
Here's some video from that night, taken by D. Bonnici:

It was an intense, PACKED house, and it was easily one of the best acts to grace our stage in 5 years. Not to mention that Patrick and his crew were great guys, and we were anxious to have back simply because they're great to have around Phog.
And if that wasn't enough...YELLOW WOOD fresh off of a CBC Radio 3 live broadcast will be opening the night with a FULL SET of new music.

Sweet Geezus I love this band.

$7 Advance ticket sales.
$10 at the door.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Julie Doiron return on July 22nd with The Baird Brothers

Julie Doiron is one of the best people in Canadian indie music. She's a sweetheart that gives, and gives, and gives.
And when she played here weeks ago, I begged her to come back, she obliged, and scheduled this gig.

The Baird Brothers, who accompanied her last time, will return, and play a set of their own.

These dudes played with Shotgun Jimmie last year, and a week later, I went to see Feist at The Fillmore in Detroit, and they were playing bass and drums for HER.

This duo is ultra talented and uber-friendly. Love having this crew down to Phog.

Come see them play.

Tickets will pre-sell for $7, or they will be $10 at the door.

You choose.
This show STARTS AT 9PM!!!!!

Enjoy some more videos of Julie when she played Phog last.
This is the same set-up she'll have this time too.

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Phog Phest Re-Cap (with thanks) Part 2 - George Manury

Photo by kevkavphoto

This is what he looked like for a while.
Like he went to Ishtar and asked to borrow their look.

George Manury was the first man on the scene, aside from the stage dudes, and myself.
He pulled up on his bike and asked what he could help with.
He knew he was the indoor stage manager after 2pm, but he wanted to lend a hand.

Now, the initial investment George was SUPPOSED to make was from 2pm-5pm inside, and then every OTHER 30 minutes until 2am.

He was not having it.

George was running inside and out, helping on BOTH stages. Not only was he letting bands who were playing inside know that they needed to get GOING!!! But he was also running around to help prepare the outside stage!

Believe me, the inside stage alone, with sound being done by Scott Barlow, is a big job.
George didn't have enough trying to erect the stage, the canopy roof, the tents around the area, the fencing, among other things.

All night long, people were stopping me saying, "You need to kiss George's ass after this is done...cuz he's the reason this is working so well."
Photo by kevkavphoto

They went on to tell me that he was making up time with all the bands, because we were chasing a schedule from the word "go". George was telling bands that they were already over time, and that they needed to get their set-time down, just to get the schedule back on track.

And he did.

He succeeded.

The schedule was saved, twice. Once before the Radio 3 broadcast, and once after the broadcast.
He was a tank.
He never stopped, and he never worried.

He was the cooing, calming voice telling me that everything was going to be fine.
He somehow, also, managed to use his wisdom in another way...
He stopped to smell the flowers.
I remember seeing him standing still, watching music, inside and out, ENJOYING THE SHOW.
This must come with experience, because Frank and I ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying desperately to keep it together.

Mr. Manury is a phenomenal example of a community supporter, organizer, and champion volunteer/helper. He was titanic in his efforts, and it never for one second went unnoticed.

For this George, we thank you.
Much love.

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Phog Phest Re-Cap (with thanks) Part 1 - Pete Lawlor

There were loads of people who made this event special on Saturday. Phog Phest was bound for failure without these cogs of professionalism that stepped in and made things seamless when the pants were falling apart.

I will take the time to thank the people who helped in subsequent posts, to the best of my ability.
Here's the first of many.

When the planning for this event was happening over the phone with CBC Radio 3 in Vancouver, and some sound technicians and producers in Toronto, there wasn't a clear indication to them what we had in mind. Maybe that was due in part to my inability to properly contextualize the size I was seeing, but there was a minor glitch in communicating what we had in mind...until Pete Lawlor appeared.

This guy.
He's going to flip when he sees this here, as he is the LAST guy who wants attention for doing his job...but too bad.

Pete wandered into Phog on the first night of Red Bull Air Races.
He said he was going to be helping with the CBC Radio 3 party, and that he was from Windsor originally. He asked questions I had not given thought to, and made me think I was going to be scrambling every day leading up to the celebration.

We walked the perimeter of the space outside, talking about how it would look, and he began thinking, visibly. I could tell he was crunching numbers and logistics. He started asking who I was working with for sound, stage, lighting, power, etc.

I gathered Pete info so that I could start connecting him to the correct people.

He looked at me with a grin and said, "They're going to need more than they think they need. This is going to be bigger than they think. But it's going to be amazing," or something close to that.

He also said that I was not to worry about the stage, the stage roof, the lighting, or the sound. He was going to arrange it with the connections in Windsor, and make sure none of the key elements were missed. He asked me to leave it in his hands. So I did.

Needless to say, the sound, power, lighting, and stage requirements were amazing. Pete's connection to CBC (as an engineer and MORE) and as an amazing sound-man for countless events made flawless his ability to see what was needed. Adam Marz (who I will get to in a later post) connected with Pete to make magic happen on Saturday, July 11th.

I don't know how to properly thank Pete for being a brilliant, patient, diligent, and ultra-effective stage manager outside, making legendary band changeovers.

He also was one of the only people on-site from the very beginning. He was at Phog, in the street, early, and was one of the last people to go, hoping to find some friends for last call. Cannot believe how many hours he put in.

Pete, I'm thrilled to have met you, and I was only upset that we didn't get to share a beer.

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Phog Phest Success!

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Videotape (Toronto/Ottawa) w/ Sick Friend (Montreal) & Efan

Videotape is a band that has a bizarre place in my brain.

Listening to CBC Radio 3, I kept hearing an AMAZING track, day after day, week after week. Every time I heard it, I thought, "Who in the hell is this!?"And each time I would see this band name in the playlist, "VIDEOTAPE". The song was "Night Lights". The opening starts slow, building, adding guitar, kick drum, and then, "It's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok......" and then we're full on. It's one of those songs I can listen to at max volume. The voice comes through clear as a bell.

"It's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok......"

I was wondering why no one was talking about this band, at least not on/in the channels I was consuming.
This band is one of those sets of musicians that I'm never really convinced that we'll get into Phog. It's just one of those feelings, "This band smokes...I bet they cost a fortune."

And then, in my Phog Phest planning stupor, I get this e-mail out of nowhere asking for a Wednesday night before the July 11th madness.

I jumped at it. I could not believe our luck.
This band is coming Wednesday night, and they are going to be AMAZING.
I just wish there was room on the Phog Phest bill (and time in their schedule) to add them to it.
They have one of the more appealing sounds I've heard. It will be loud, it will be fast, and it will smoke.
And they're bringing Sick Friend from Montreal to join the parade. I hope you click their link too, to see what they have in store to make this night a stunner before the HUGE night on Saturday.
And Efan (Stefan C.) is opening for them...solo...which is always one of my favourite local things to hear, especially since he was gone recording FOREVER this Spring.

With this magnanamous event approaching fast, the nerves are alive, and this night will be sure to bring me back to earth...to ground me in what is done best in our little building. Big sounds, big bands, in a little building, for a little crowd, the way this music is most feverishly applauded.

I need this show before Phog Phest. To remind me of what we do well.
To remind me of why we do this.

"It's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok, it's ok......"

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Ron Leary & Kelly Hoppe | 1:00pm - main stage
Square Root of Margret | 1:30pm - main stage
(WH)Y.M.E.(??) | 2:00pm - phog stage
Eric Welton Band | 2:30pm - phog stage
Tara Watts Band | 3:00pm - phog stage
ASK | 3:30pm - phog stage
James O-L & the Villains | 4:00pm - phog stage
The Locusts Have No King | 4:30pm - phog stage
Yellow Wood | 5:00pm - main stage
Green Go | 5:40 - main stage
Arkells | 6:30pm - main stage
Holy Fuck | 7:30pm - main stage
Michou | 8:30pm - phog stage
Pat Robitaille | 9:00pm - main stage
Megan Hamilton and The Volunteer Canola | 9:30pm - phog stage
Field Assembly | 10:00pm - main stage
Peace Leeches | 10:30 - phog stage
The Kramdens | 11:00pm - main stage
Orphan Choir | 11:30pm - phog stage
Fjord Rowboat | 12:00am - main stage
The Pack AD | 12:30am - main stage
Citywide Vacuum | 1:00am - phog stage
What Seas, What Shores | 1:30am - phog stage
END 2:00am

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day - Said The Whale - and Phog!

I don't even know how to express this event that occurred today.

I woke at 1:10pm.
I stumbled into the living room where my wife was watching something I was not in the mood to watch. You see, I don't watch TV during the week. I click on the radio, drink tea, and answer e-mail.

As I changed the channel, I saw a brief image of a large-scale crowd, and quickly realized it was Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.
There was music playing.

I said out loud, "I know this band, who is this?"
Two seconds later, I was looking at this -

Yeah, it's Ben from Said The Whale! The Vancouver band that stole our hearts SEVERAL shows ago when they mesmerised everyone in the bar. They've continued to over-achieve on tour, making their stops at Phog my favourite nights of the year.

And now this!

Not only is it amazing that Said The Whale was playing for the Prime Minister, and Governor General, but for thousands of people on Canada day and on NATIONAL TELEVISION!

And for those of you with eyes, you will have already noticed that Ben is wearing The new "Best Live Music Venue in Canada - Phog Lounge" t-shirt!!
My eyes almost bugged out of my head.
I was still 75% asleep when this happened, and I was fully awake and frantically trying to figure out who to call when I saw this.

My wife said, "That's my design on TV!"
I just high-fived her and laughed with glee, at the happiness from seeing our friends on such a huge, prominent stage, and to see Phog being represented by one of the best bands in Canada.
When I hopped onto Twitter to let everyone know what I was seeing, I saw this on the top of my messages, from Said The Whale, "@phogtom ben will be rockin a Phog Lounge tshirt on stage for the parliament hill Canada day noon show!"

I simply forwarded this message to everyone as fast as I could, in the hopes that someone would see this.
And of course, people responded by saying that they saw it and were blown away!
These images, in fact, were shot by John Doherty, and posted to Facebook, because he was watching when he saw the t-shirt blaring off of the screen into his living room.

Thanks John for the shots, and thanks Jhoan for waking me to see this, and especially thanks to Said The Whale, and Ben, for showing such support for us on that massive spectacle-broadcast.

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