My friends Kirk and Joe came to Toronto on Nov. 11 because they had union meetings the next day. They arrived at my place around 6 p.m. with a bottle of pre-mixed Sex On The Beach. It felt a bit strange drinking this fruity alcoholic concoction with these big men, but the bottle didn't last long, nor did the remaining beers in my fridge.
We then headed to the Renaissance Hotel at the Rogers Centre (that used to be called The SkyDome for those of you not in the know) so they could check into their room. The hallways of the hotel are really ugly and, while their room was quite nice, it unfortunately overlooked a parking lot and not the playing field. We had more beers there and headed up to the Duke of Argyle. Three pints of Mill Street Coffee Porter washed down my souvlaki dinner, and Kirk splurged for the bill.
We had made tentative plans to see Holy Microphone at Mitzi's Sister, but it was too late by this point. So, with the taste of a good beer now inside me, I suggested that we go to Smokeless Joe's, which has Toronto's largest selection of beers. I had what may be my favourite beer in the world: an Aventinus from Germany. I've always enjoyed the flavour of the world's oldest top-fermenting wheat doppelbock and, with 8% alcohol, it also packs a punch.
From there it was on to the Horseshoe to see Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. I'm typically not a big fan of R&B/soul stuff, but I had seen the band in May 2004 and was impressed, so I went to the well again. The New York City band looks sharp, and its playing is totally tight. And Sharon is a dynamo. Comparisons to James Brown may be too easy, but they're very apt. She's a great show-woman and knows how to entertain a crowd. I opened a beer for her and was talking to her in the dressing room when she came off stage, but then I got in a bit of trouble because she hadn't done her encore yet and the crowd was yelling her name while we were chatting. Sorry JC. When the show was over, we talked and sipped more. She's a great lady and I couldn't believe it when she told me she was 49.
By this time it was 3 a.m. Sharon and I exchanged goodbye hugs and kisses and Tima invited me back to her house to keep the party vibe going. We had more drinks, danced around while listening to Aztec Camera, and went into her backyard to look at Mars. Tima fell asleep on her couch and, being the chivalrous sort that I am, I covered her with towels so she wouldn't be cold. It took me about an hour to walk home and I got to bed around 6 a.m. It maybe wasn't the most solemn way to honour Remembrance Day, but I had a good time.
np Angela Harris - Roots