I went to visit an old friend tonight. The kind of friend that’s always there but sometimes you don’t see for years! Not from bitterness or neglect just different paths in life. In the early Decibel Geek days, I wrote two reviews of an awesome Canadian band called Automan.ca. Now it was time to revisit those days gone by.
For the uninitiated, Automan.ca is a Canadian hard rock band. They have a kind of a 70s vibe to them. Two full-length albums, 2009’s Pocket Change, and 2012’s Backseat Surprise are both chock full of feel good, raise your spirits (and/or glasses), vibrant, toe-tapping hard rock. Oh yeah….probably important, they are fronted by KiLLeR DWaRfS drummer, Darrell Millar! That’s right The Pirate himself comes out from behind the kit taking center stage for this rip-roaring good time band. When talking of Automan.ca drummer Adrian Cavan, Darrell says “C’mon, would I have a bad drummer in my band”? Veritable guitar wizard Carleton Lockhart, who plays his guitar strung upside down and without a pick and the now-DWaRfS bassist Johnny round out the Automan.ca lineup.
When KiLLeR DWaRfS sprang back into touring action and the release of the Start @ One album back in 2013, Darrell brought Johnny with him into the DWaRf fold. With that, Automan.ca went to the back burner as the DWaRfS played gigs, festivals, and cruises throughout North America. When Millar dusted off the tires recently and brought Automan.ca back for a show at The Linsmore Tavern earlier this year I was gutted that I couldn’t attend. Nothing was keeping me away from the Bovine Sex Club on Saturday, May 5th, 2018.
Stage Setters SUZI KORI and JADED EDGE at The Bovine Sex Club, Saturday, May 5th, 2018
The Bovine is a cool great venue….nothing to do with what the “Sex Club” name may suggest. Beginning the night of rock was Suzi Kory. Followers of CGCM Podcast will recognize the name as a “Dick In The Dirt” selection months back. Chosen by Wally in that episode, we spun Kory‘s “Youngblood” in the weekly segment. Here’s the link if you want to listen in (CGCM Podcast EP#23)! Backed up by some clearly incredible musicians, Suzi Kory opened the night, also Darrell Millar‘s birthday. The set included a mix of well-written originals and known covers. The set seemed to either run over time (by a fair bit) or they had a longer stage allowance than I expected. The sheer highlight for me was hearing “Youngblood” live, such a rousing good tune! Thanks to Suzi Kory and her band for getting the night started fantastically. SUZI KORY FACEBOOK
Next up saw Jaded Edge taking the Bovine‘s small stage. This band was a real treat for me….the goofy bass player is my CGCM Podcast co-host, Wally! With frontwoman Monique‘s broad vocal ranges leading each track, Jaded Edge were fun to watch. The tune selection was filled with classics that instantly had you singing along. From Judas Priest to Donna Summer (and what a great version Jaded Edge do covering another cover band’s version). A fun set from a fun bunch of folks! JADED EDGE FACEBOOK
AUTOMAN.CA at The Bovine Sex Club, Saturday, May 5th, 2018
Automan.ca then came on and came on strong! This was simply one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time! No offense to any other bands I’ve seen recently. It was just comforting visiting an old friend that has been absent from my life for quite some time. Knowing every word to sing along with as the songs not only lend themselves to that but somehow compel you to sing. The smaller room atmosphere surrounded by several Toronto friends and making new ones as we rocked out. The kind of gig that leaves you hot and sweaty and exhausted from rocking, but on such a giddy school-girl high at the same time. And beers….many beers….way too many beers for my own good in fact. I hugged Millar after the set, my emotions wild. It may seem silly to many, but sometimes a live set moves me to tears. It’s joyful. It’s the band subconsciously pulling you into their set. Making you feel what they feel. I choked up as I hugged The Pirate and thanked him for such an awesome show. Yar!
With Millar‘s tall lankiness the focal point for much of the set, Lockhart ripped away on his guitar. This guy is a wizard of the six-string for sure. Such a joy to watch. Johnny DWaRf now sporting a pornstache and a bowler-like hat thunderingly producing the basslines. And Adrian Cavan driving the songs forward, I say again: Thank-you Automan.ca. This is definitely a contender for gig of the year list for me!
Can’t wait till next time Automan.ca is “Back In The Sun” again!
“Dig In Deep”
“Sweaty Hand Of Fate”
“Livin’ Bitter Better”
“Back In The Sun”
“Rock It Together”
“Down To The Bone”
“Drivin’, Rockin’, Lovin'”
“Bad Boy Boogie” (AC/DC)