I’m posting this just in time for you to make plans for this evening!
The local microbrewery scene is well intertwined with live music, the Together We’re Bitter Co-operative Brewery (aka TWB) a case in point. In addition to hosting live music performances every Sunday afternoon, since the fall TWB has been a gathering spot on a Thursday night for an acoustic jam.
I don’t know if it is like this every Thursday, but on my first visit there was an impressive amount of talent and so much energy!
Dave Pike hosts an early event (6-9 pm) which makes it possible to participate even if Friday is a work day for you, or if it is just the kick-off to the rest of your evening. The jam has a friendly, boisterous feel to it, leaning slightly towards old time and bluegrass, but open to anything someone can lead. In the back, amongst the beer-making vats everyone is unplugged (except the keyboard) and there is quite a variety of musical instruments (often being passed around amongst musicians). There is a whiteboard where you can post a chord progression to help the group follow – especially if they can’t hear your instrument once the jam gets rolling.
Oh yes, and bring a DD so you can sample the array of brews on tap.
[TWB 300 Mill Street, Unit 1, Kitchener; Thursdays 6-9 pm; no cover, licensed]
“Summertime and the living is easy…” But maybe not so easy to find a place to play music. Many regular open stages and jams take a break over the summer in anticipation of people being away and to give their hard-working hosts and volunteers a reprieve from their duties.
But their are a few that just keep on going. So if you are in the mood to play music here are some summer events to check out. If you have a summer jam you want to promote post the info on the Open Stage Adventure FB page.
- London Bluegrass Music Association
Thursday night jams 7 – 9 pm
Pine Knot Golf and Country Club at Dorchester
The club boasts a good restaurant and bar, as well as numerous locations to jam. Further details: www.londonbluegrass.org
- Elora Acoustic Café – Fri Aug 9th
Open Stage followed by feature performer, David Ross MacDonald; doors open 7:30, $5 cover
Elora Centre for the Arts, 75 Melville Street
- The Moonshine Café (137 Kerr St, Oakville)
Sun Aug 11th – Ukulele Night 7 pm
Tuesdays – Acoustic Open Mic 8 pm until close
- Corktown Uke Jam (Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen St E, Toronto)
Every Wednesday 8-11 pm: workshop 8-9 followed by group jams, theme nights and open stages, depending on the date; Sign up for the open stage ahead of time on-line.
For sign up details & theme night dates: http://torontoukes.com/
- Open Stage at Frank’s Pasta & Grill
426 King St E, Cobourg
Wednesdays 7 – 10:30 pm
Musicians, Artists, Comedians, Vocalists & Poets – All are welcome
Hosted by Nelson Denis
I really appreciate the tips I have received from readers recommending musical happenings even if it takes me a while to make the trip. It took me 6 months to follow Greg Murdoch’s bluegrass tip but I’m really glad I did.
A couple of weeks ago I visited a gem of a jam hosted by the Waterloo-Wellington Bluegrass Music Association. This event (in its third year) has a unique layered structure that attracts very proficient, experienced musicians while providing space for emerging players.
In the first room I found with Pete (fellow jam seeker), the music I heard made me hide my guitar under a table. The group playing (a combination of instruments including guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass) seemed to be communicating using telepathy – the tempo, changes and breaks all happened seamlessly without anyone speaking – and they played fast! At the end of the song we learned that this was only one of several rooms where bluegrass jams were happening simultaneously. We declined their invitation to sit in and made our way to the “slow jam”, a room where various levels of musicians were working together to build their skills and work on songs. Here you can add some basic chords, lead a song or take an instrumental break based on your experience and comfort. There are songbooks to facilitate everyone’s participation. I was introduced to some bluegrass etiquette as to how to lead a song, allow for instrumental breaks and (ideally) all end together!
Activity tends to slow down with the summer months but Nancy Tellier said that there are usually 45- 50 musicians at the jam from September – June. Check the facebook page as some musicians will continue getting together over the summer.
This jam is welcoming, inclusive and motivating – a great place to hear some top notch bluegrass as well as expand your bluegrass repertoire.
[Waterloo-Wellington Bluegrass Jam, Galt Legion, 4 Veteran’s Way, Cambridge, Tuesdays 7-11 pm, September-June; slow jam from 7-8:30, no cover]