Month: June 2011 (page 1 of 2)

Venue: Maxwell’s Music House, Waterloo

Maxwell’s Music House has been open for about three years and has presented many talented players. On Tuesday nights, the stage is opened to all comers and I had heard that it can be a busy place. My first impression, however, was underwhelming. There weren’t more than half a dozen people there at the scheduled 9 pm start and there seemed to be a very loose structure to the evening without anyone playing the role of host. I did enjoy some original tunes from Jay & Wendy (two of the four members of mennogroove) and Don Sawchuk.

I think this venue needs a return visit to experience it with a full house to really get an idea what it’s like. Despite the best efforts of the performers the ambiance was a little flat.

[Maxwell’s Music House, 220 King St N, Waterloo; every Tuesday 9 pm – 1am, sign up at 8 pm]

Busking in Vieux Lyon

Yet another way to take music into public spaces: Busking! I have no first hand experience to share but here is a great blog post about busking in Lyon, France:  http://www.weareallonfire.com/?p=290

Do you have a busking story to tell? Or maybe you have a prime busking spot you’d like to share the location of? If you have a street musician gig coming up post it here.

The Grand Porch Party, Waterloo

What a great way to foster a sense of community and bring music into the streets! The Grand Porch Party recruited more than 20 acts to play on porches over several blocks of uptown Waterloo.

The rain stayed away so listeners could comfortably stroll from one porch performance to another, the strains of one musician often just fading as sounds of another came into range. There were places for children to experiment with making music and homemade instruments. Volunteers staffed information tables for people to learn more about the Grand River watershed and the host organization of the whole event, Alternatives Journal. The Swim Drink Fish music club was also promoting a music approach to environmental awareness and networking.

In addition to the musical guests who were booked to perform there seemed to be some spontaneous participation, as well. I couldn’t get to nearly all the acts that afternoon but I know I walked by some porches with musical offerings that were not on the official Grand Porch Party map. I heard some volunteer harmonies that listeners added to a porch musician’s rendition of a Crosby, Stills & Nash song. This event is a perfect example of how music draws people to it: create a public space for song and spoken word and folks flock to it like they are hungry for it.

A huge thanks to Tenille for having the imagination and initiative to stage such an event, and to the oh-so-hospitable hosts who welcomed the players and turned their private property over to neighbours and strangers alike for a short while. I hope this is only the inaugural event of an annual tradition. Maybe next year the music could be spread over several hours so that it would be possible to enjoy more of it.

Elora Acoustic Café – featuring Adrian Jones

The Elora Acoustic Café will carry on presenting an open stage and feature performer throughout the summer. The open stage sign up sheet has been filling up quickly so come early if you want time to play.  This week Adrian Jones – a man of many pedals – provided the feature set.

Into its second year, the EAC is still attracting new talent. This week we were treated to some great youth talent. I’ll echo the sentiments of host, Steve Royall, in hoping they come back again sometime.

Taking it to the Street

Or at least to the front porch! I usually post about an event after I’ve already experienced it. But this idea seemed worth a change in protocol, and since it may only happen once I thought you might want to know about it if you are in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

On June 12th from 3-5 pm, residents of an uptown Waterloo neighbourhood will share their porches with musicians who will in turn share their music with anyone strolling by. What an ingenious way to bring music to the community, bridging private (porch) and public (street) spaces!  This event is called the Grand Porch Party and is the creation of Tenille Bonoguore, managing editor of Alternatives Journal.  The Grand Porch Party will celebrate the release of the journal’s first music + environment issue and is also being held on Canadian Rivers Day.

For the musical line-up plus a map of where to find the Party Porches go to: http://grandporchparty.wordpress.com/

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