There are regular gigs, and then there are regular gigs.
Every Saturday for 33 years, Kid Bastien and his Happy Pals ensemble played a New Orleans-style jazz matinee at Grossman's. The trumpeter and vocalist died Saturday of a heart attack at age 65. His death was discovered when he didn't turn up for his set.
Bastien, born Bastin, grew up in London, England, then emigrated to Canada, beginning his marathon Grossman's run in 1968. He outlasted the club's constant ownership changes and welcomed guests like Woody Allen onto the bandstand.
Bastien's funeral takes place Friday (February 14) at Unity Church (173 Eglinton West) at 2 pm (music from 1:30 pm). Plans for a Grossman's memorial are in the works.
The Pretenders, February 10
Chrissie Hynde's voice has gotten stronger -- in more ways than one -- since she started out 25 years ago.
The Pretenders leader wowed the Hummingbird audience with scissor kicks and a snarked-out attitude, interjecting allusions to all the dudes she planned to fuck post-show. The band rocked consistently hard, so it's too bad the recent tunes sounded so weak beside the classics. The crowd didn't really get warmed up till the final third of the show, when Hynde and co. gave 'em Back On The Chain Gang.
Hynde shocked her Hummingbird audience when she announced halfway through the two-hour set that she'd hand-picked her laughable opening act. The cringe-inducing All Mighty Senators came off like a Simpsons parody of a funk-rock band, with dippy space cadet lyrics and dumb antics. The Pretenders' arrival came as a giant relief.
Upcoming: Closer To The Heart benefit, February 13
Tonight's Closer To The Heart benefit would be worth checking out even if the proceeds didn't go to the community-building Regent Park School of Music. Mia Sheard, Danny Michel (who's got a hotly anticipated album soon to drop), Emm Gryner and By Divine Right kook Jose Contreras are among the talented performers covering their fave Canuck tunes. Think of it as a combination of good karma and gaining a privileged glimpse into local stars' psyches. Closer To The Heart touches down at Club 279 (279 Yonge) this evening (Thursday, February 13); tix are 15 bucks at the door.