Friday marked the 21st installment of the Steam Whistle Unsigned Music Series, but it was my first time making it out to one of the three-act shows at Toronto's Steam Whistle Brewery Roundhouse.
Tickets were just five dollars and all of the proceeds were donated to the Artists’ Health Centre Foundation, an organization with a mandate to raise the standard of health care, educational resources and quality of life for artists.
But it wasn't just the cheap cover and good cause that coaxed 500 folks out of the house on a chilly night. The bill featured Born Ruffians singer/guitarist Luke Lalonde introducing himself with a different band as a solo artist, up-and-coming soulful rock sextet The Paint Movement and indie pop act Boys Who Say No, which was launching its Contingencies debut album.
I'm a Born Ruffians fan and still prefer that band over Lalonde's solo work, and I'm not that big on the other two acts either. But they all provided a solid night of entertainment for the people who are supporters, while I was content to stand back, observe, have a couple of beers and enjoy OMD's "Enola Gay" over the sound system during the first between-band break.
|The Paint Movement|
A pay-what-you-can donation jar was left beside boxes of small square slices from Pizza Pizza adjacent to the free coat check near the entrance, which was another nice touch and a second way of adding to the Artists’ Health Centre Foundation contributions.
I've been to a few music industry parties at Steam Whistle in the past, but it's been a couple of years since my last visit. The place has been spruced up and the roundhouse provides great sight lines to the stage. The brick and glass walls make for a very loud room -- which can be a positive or negative quality, depending on your perspective.
It's obvious that a lot of thought and work goes into the Steam Whistle Unsigned Music Series, and I'll try not to wait 21 more shows before returning.