Guelph’s magnificent live music scene is brimming with variety and intensity. Music Lives’ listings are in chronological order and we like to use the calendar as a guide to get as much out of a Music Lives Crawl as we can. It’s like a pub crawl, but for live music in the Royal City -and we love getting around town to soak-it-in.
A theme of the night seemed to be drums. Percussion stood-out on the stage at Silvercreek’s, and the crispness of Tyler Goertzen‘s kit on the stage at Manhattans, to the unbelievably liquid Jake Oelrichs at SIP Club, to the heaviest kit of the night at Jimmy Jazz being used by the expert Jody Brumell.
We start the night early in the West end as KC Lee and His Checkered Past‘s last set ends by 8pm at Silvercreek’s 360. I caught them covering Radiohead’s “High and Dry”. Happy Birthday KC! Check out our Instagram post, give us a follow and this newest music venue is just starting to gain popularity! (there’s an upcoming spoiler in the Insta description)
Our listing took us to the South end to Manhattans where we’ve had the pleasure of seeing Emily Kemp Group often when we do our Crawl. This time, they were covering Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar.”
While in the South end, we jumped on the opportunity to see our first live music at The Shakespeare Arms in a couple years with their staple Tannery Row Blues Rock Band performing Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”.
Then we high-tailed downtown to meet up with Shivjot Singh Rangi starting his last set on the SIP Club patio while warming up the crowd for a very special Toronto Band… Shiv covered Zooey Deschannel’s “Hey Girl”.
After I stopped filming, Shiv went straight into surf rock instrumental “Misirlou” by Dick Dale… the Pulp Fiction theme! And that was the best prequel to RWTK that one could have asked for.
Then we ran to The Wooly but to everyone’s dismay, Kat Steeves had to cancel performing. Situated so close to The Guelph Concert Theatre, they were packed all day long with people who came downtown to see Canada’s elite punk rock band Propaghandi. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get media passes, otherwise this would have been a post ALL about the show! When I caught up with Jamie Robinson of University of Guelph’s CFRU Radio program Ripcord Radio (Mondays 9pm 93.3fm or cfru.ca) later in the evening, he was jumping out of his skin- elated with seeing the show. “That was one if the best concerts I’ve ever seen in this town. Propagandhi was amazing, of course, and I really hope to see Maldita and Mvll Crimes come back to Guelph in the future.”
Our Music Lives Crawl compass drew us North to Guelph’s only true Saloon, The Stampede Ranch where The Darren Hancock Band was just finishing their first set with Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”
The parking lot filled up and the lineup was long as we were exiting and you could tell The ‘Ranch was about to get good and rowdy.
So we jumped in ol’ Hondica Lewinsky and drove back downtown to finally get to see the long awaited return to SIP Club of Run With The Kittens. The return of an old favourite Toronto band with a long history of playing downtown Guelph was savoured by all. The SIP Club was actually their first pandemic cancelation and the universe was setting itself right again
I don’t know HOW my event post for 80’s cover group FUNKHAUS didn’t appear on the calendar but golly, were we glad we stopped-in to ONYX Nightclub to see them cover Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”. Shout-outs to the sound tech crew who were doing a masterful job of coordinating their sound.
We were drawn as we are often to the self-proclaimed “heart of live music” in downtown Guelph; Jimmy Jazz. One of the newer music promoters here Jesse Alarcan books at various venues in Southern Ontario. The combination of his selection and the typical house-crowd at JJ are a very happy couple. I’ve been looking forward to FINALLY getting to see Gueph’s own “mood music” band Habit perform and they did NOT let me down. Edgy, wild, mentally stimulating. Passion/power/substance/depth/edge and, soul. Moody.
During set break we walked to McCabe’s on the corner of Wyndham and MacDonnell. We absolutely love, love the regular Saturday night entertainer Alexandr (the artist formally known as David Scott). Here’s the versatile loop artist’s rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t”.
Alas. Back to the Jimmy Jazz to our Saturday headliner. “This band is way too good to play Jimmy Jazz” was yelled to me, and my reply was, “since the Jazz opened in 1989, I’d bet those words have been repeated tens-of-thousands-of-times.” Ace of Wands definitely took over as the highlight of the night. Each song more anthemic than the last, gripping, passionate and heavy as heck. Check them out! Their return will be highly anticipated.
The Guelph music scene is getting back to firing at 100%.
It could use a sprinkle of soul more often. What’s that you say?
Next month the Black Heritage Society is putting on their annual Tribute to Motown show?