june 27, bob egan
Music scene celebs turned up at the Rivoli in numbers to toast the release of The Promise, the latest solo disc by Blue Rodeo steel guitarist Bob Egan. Along with Rodeo mates Greg Keelor, Jim Cuddy and Glenn Milchem, the crowd included Ron Sexsmith and a skittish Hayden, who ducked out before anyone who bought his last record could spot him. The star power reached all the way to the stage, as Egan's band included famed Canuck session keyboardist Richard Bell, Sadies guitarist Travis Good, Weakerthans drummer Jason Tait and the ubiquitous Bazil Donovan, who made Egan's songs sound better than they do on the album. With Bell on hand -- who played on Janis Joplin's Pearl album -- too bad they didn't try knocking out a cover of Me And Bobby McGee.
june 29, the hidden cameras
Apparently, performance art pranksters the Hidden Cameras weren't keeping, er, hidden enough for the establishment. Partway through their ecstatic sundown set on the Pride south beer garden stage, a cranky cop noticed one of the twin go-go boys was wearing what appeared to be a tree on his head and nothing else. The cops threatened to pull the plug (literally) and shut down the whole operation if the dancer didn't cover up. Thank god for Grammy-style costume changes. The birthday-suited dancer in question chose that moment to put on something a little less comfortable and the show went on. Whatsa matta, Mister Policeman? Did it make you question yer manhood?
june 29, soft canyon
As enjoyable as watching Eleni Mandell cast her spell Saturday night at the Rivoli certainly was, it was worth checking in on Soft Canyon -- the new version of Tricky Woo -- at the Horseshoe. Killer Elite-shouter-turned-comedian Nick Flanagan prefaced his band introduction by reading a new poem, Electronica. It was hard to say what was funnier -- his vague ponderings about trance and Moby or the head-scratching crowd response. Not a bleep was heard from the Soft Canyon dudes, who started out more prog than even the final stage of Tricky Woo but shifted quickly with each new song from Allmans-style Southern boogie bashing to jaunty pop-psych. They clearly haven't yet arrived at a Soft Canyon sound, but they're still definitely worth checking.
Give Choclair credit for doing a bit of extra work in a genre where the least amount of effort is rewarded. Not content to just play to a DAT, the Toronto MC is putting together a full live band for this Saturday's (July 6) Celebrate Toronto bash at Yonge and Bloor to thrash up cuts from his recent Memoirs Of Blake Savage disc. It should put a different spin on Choclair's ability to rock the party. (Note: show cancelled at press time.)