The launch party for Sonic, a magazine about the Galaxie and Max Trax digital music channels that I edit, was held upstairs at Sassafrazz in Yorkville on Wednesday afternoon in conjunction with CRIA, SOCAN, CIRPA, CMPA and the Toronto International Film Festival's Canadian Music Café. A number of people who I'd never met before, all dressed in business attire, came up to congratulate me. I hope that my 40-year-old pajama top and bright orange pair of Chuck Taylors didn't make them too nervous. Actually, I do.
I took my tenant/roommate Frank with me since he likes meeting new people and trying to get inside their heads as much as I dislike corporate schmoozing. Besides, he's a composer and writer, and I thought that he might be able to make some contacts. He enjoyed himself and gave away some business cards and a handful of his CDs, so hopefully something will come from it.
The Canadian Music Café featured five different Canadian artists performing five-song sets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Adrienne Pierce, Buck 65, Jorane, Chantal Kreviazuk, Wil, Alana Levandoski, Andy Stochansky, Sarah Slean, Jully Black and The Heavy Blinkers were among the performers.
On our day, Masia One was first up. The diminutive Singapore native, who now lives in Vancouver, had a three-piece backing band for her unexceptional rapping.
She was followed by Gordie Sampson, who I respect as a songwriter and who has collaborated with a variety of people. His voice seemed a bit hoarse.
Ron Sexsmith was next, and was great. He played some of my favourite songs (including There's A Rhythm and Gold In Them Hills) from his catalogue and the crowd was quite appreciative.
Café booker Chris Teeter was nervous about how the crowd would react to K'naan, but needn't have. This former Somalian refugee, who now lives in Toronto, performs a brand of organic hip-hop with his band that follows a similar line to K-OS. And because of his background, his words resonate. Definitely give this guy a shot if you get the opportunity.
Barenaked Lady Steven Page ended the afternoon with two songs from his band (The Old Apartment and Enid), and some of his solo stuff that left no impression on me at all.
I was given a constantly replenished supply of liquor tickets, and Frank and I made it our goal to finish the fresh bottle of Havana Club dark rum at the bar. We met that challenge. When we got home, the two of us rummies decided to do a taste test challenge between his brand (Captain Morgan) and mine (Old Sam). We drank a shot of each on their own, and then had a few more mixed with ice and cola. Old Sam was the hands-down winner. I've only seen it in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and brought a bottle back home with me from my trip there this summer. Frank has since e-mailed the LCBO to see if it can make a special order for him to get a couple of bottles shipped this way.
After watching the Blue Jays go down to the Bosox on TV, I headed up to Lee's Palace to see The Proclaimers. I haven't seen the group since I heard it for the first time at the Pogues Picnic in Finsbury Park in London, England in 1987, but have appreciated many of Craig and Charlie Reid's songs since then. I've only listened to the guys' new Restless Soul album once since I got it this week, but I like it. And I'm sure that they played quite a few songs from it, but I just don't know them well enough to say which ones. But among the songs that I definitely recognized, I was very pleased with Letter From America, I'm On My Way, Let's Get Married, Sunshine On Leith, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues and an encore cover of Roger Miller's King of the Road. Throw The R Away was really the only song that I wished that I had heard and didn't.
A couple of falafels for the walk home completed a full and interesting day.