As part of the Canada 150 party on the weekend, Toronto City Hall hosted a hiphop lineup on Sunday that drew headlines when Drake showed up and performed a short surprise set. Earlier in the day, old school faves Maestro Fresh-Wes, Michie Mee and Dream Warriors appeared, as did Shad and Zaki Ibrahim. R&B duo dvsn shortened their set to allow their label (OVO Sound) boss to take the stage.
Drizzy's set included "Jumpman" and "Fake Love." He also addressed the occasion with the crowd, stating that "when we celebrate Canada, we celebrate all of these individuals from all places that came here and found solitude in this beautiful country. We celebrate our Indigenous people. We celebrate the land that we're standing on tonight. I just came for the party though, I'm not gonna lie." Drake's next scheduled hometown appearance will be at his OVO festival on Aug. 7.
— The show at the same locale, Nathan Phillips, Square on Monday night was not as well-received. Headliner Belly apparently offended some in the audience with his frequent profanities, prompting The City of Toronto (producers of the show) to issue an apology for Belly's "inappropriate content." The rapper refused to apologise for his show.
—Given his well-deserved reputation as one of Canada's most patriotic artists, it was perfect timing that Stompin' Tom Connors was honoured on July 1 with the opening of The Stompin' Tom Centre, in Skinner's Pond, PEI, the place where Connors was raised.
The centre features exhibits dedicated to Connors’ musical and cultural legacy, and includes a space that will feature regular entertainment throughout the summer. The first Stompin’ Tom Festival took place over the Canada Day weekend, and featured such notables as JP Cormier, Dave Gunning, Tim Hus, Mike Plume, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, and Matt Minglewood.
The Centre has been a long time coming, for the provincial government formally announced support for the project in 2013. In total, the province provided $570K to support land purchases and construction costs. The province also supported the first annual festival with a $30K grant. “The Stompin’ Tom Centre will serve as a fitting memorial to a legendary Canadian and will give people of all ages an opportunity to get an up close and personal look at the life of a beloved Islander,” Premier Wade MacLauchlan said at the opening.
—The close-knit music community of Hamilton is outraged over the recent theft of gold and platinum records belonging to late Junkhouse member and Catherine North Studios founder Dan Achen. The theft took place at the well-known recording studio. Taken were the gold-certified award for Junkhouse's Strays and the platinum-certified award for that band's "Praying for the Rain" single. Both were presented to Achen and have his name on them.
Studio co-owner Scott Peacock told CBC News' Adam Carter that "they can be returned, no questions asked. We just want them back." Guitarist Achen died in 2010, at age 51. Post-Junkhouse, his production credits included City and Colour's Juno-winning album Bring Me Your Love.
— Links between indie rock and craft beer continue to be forged. Last summer, Toronto band Born Ruffians partnered with Muskoka Brewey to create Ruff Draught, a tropical blonde ale. It has been well-received and has just received a coveted listing at the LCBO in Ontario for its can version. Ruff Draught is also available at select locations in Manitoba and Newfoundland.
The band plays the Wolfe Island Music Festival on Aug. 12, and from late September they open on a 14-city New Pornographers North American tour. Dates here
— Studio Bell at Calgary's National Music Centre has a live music series beginning this week. Entitled the Bell Live Series at the King Eddy, it kicks off with Leeroy Stagger on July 7, followed by Lindi Ortega (July 8), Ghost Boy (July 9), Nice Horse (July 10), Mariel Buckley (July 11), Blake Reid Band (July 12), Fred Eaglesmith (July 13-14), and JJ Shiplett (July 15).
— Applications for music and industry award nominations for the 2017 Music Nova Scotia Awards are now being accepted. All Nova Scotian artists who are members in good standing of Music Nova Scotia and have released recordings between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 are eligible to submit. The deadline is Friday, July 21st at 5:00 p.m. ADT. Submit here
—Reclaimed is a weekly summer series on CBC Radio that explores the world of contemporary Indigenous music from traditional songs and acoustic sounds to Native hip-hop, R&B, and the beats of electric powwow.
The nine one-hour episodes will interweave music playlists, with live/studio performances, artist interviews, and music in Indigenous languages. Artists to be featured will include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tanya Tagaq, A Tribe Called Red and Wolf Saga, with Cree/Dene host Jarrett Martineau guiding proceedings. Reclaimed airs Tuesday 1–2pm on CBC Radio 1 and Wednesday 7–8pm on CBC Radio 2.
—The latest prominent Toronto live music venue to face an uncertain future is Parkdale fixture The Cadillac Lounge. Owner Sam Grosso revealed last week that he's putting the club/restaurant up for sale, for a combination of personal and business reasons. A substantial recent property tax hike from the City of Toronto hasn't helped matters. This has further fuelled criticism of Toronto City Hall, and its much-hyped but seemingly ineffectual 'Music City' policy.
When asked by FYI for a list of the musical moments at The Caddy he'll most remember, Grosso cited "Burton Cummings, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, Roy Head, Wanda Jackson, and Gary US Bonds."
— 2016 Polaris Prize winner Kaytranada has collaborated with Montreal-based French-Djiboutian vocalist Shay Lia on her new single “What’s Your Problem?.” Lia appeared on “Leave Me Alone,” a track on Kaytranada’s 99.9% album, and he adds beats and production to the soul-pop "What’s Your Problem?," a tune co-written by Shay Lia, Lou Phelps and Kaytranada.
— Song Camp Mondays is a SOCAN initiative taking place on one Monday each month, and designed to help Canadian songwriters advance their craft via a song camp experience. Last week's event at SOCAN's Sound Lounge teamed Strumbellas bassist Darryl James, Khalid Yassein, singer/songwriter in indie folk band Wild Rivers, and songwriter Jordan Paul. The result was a co-written ballad with the working title of "Dreamer."
Albert Minott, lead singer of famed Jamaican mento group The Jolly Boys, has passed away, age 78. Despite recent health problems, Minott had remained active musically, and had just completed a new Jolly Boys' album. The band formed in 1945 and had great commercial success in the late 1980s and 1990s among reggae and world music fans. Their 2010 album Great Expectation was well-received and led to international dates, including opening for Sade. Minott first began singing with the group in the early '60s.
Bruce "Bones" Rathbone, a Winnipeg concert promoter who brought such acts as David Bowie, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones to Winnipe, died on July 2, age 70. Rathbone got his start in the entertainment business after high school, managing bands throughout the city and writing a pop music column for the Winnipeg Tribune. In 1970 he helped produce the ManPop festival, one headlined by Led Zeppelin.
The company he ran with former Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz, Nite Out Entertainment, was a dominant force on the local music promotion scene in the '80s and '90s. Nite Out organized Sunfest, a three-day music fest at Gimli Motorsport Park that ran from 1990-95.