We are back to our home away from home. The Rockpile has become a regular place to see some great shows. Tonight’s guest is Jeff Martin – the lead singer of Canadian 90’s band The Tea Party. Without his band backing him up it was a more personal Jeff Martin with his variety of acoustic guitars.
We got in around 8:45 and I have not seen this place packed so early. With missing the first band we were treated to 3 other openers before Martin would hit the stage.
All 3 bands are from the Toronto area. First up is Punishment. This is the second time seeing this band and another great sounding set. Lead vocalist Brad Searl has a David Coverdale sound with a bluesy rock influence. Their new album will be out in August and I look forward to picking this up.
Next band is Second Pass. I have seen them a few times. Veronica McNamee is a vocal powerhouse. Reminds me of Sass Jordan with a bigger punch. The band has made it down south of the border to play a couple of big festivals. Look out for Second Pass as they won’t disappoint a live audience.
Not realizing we were getting another opener, the crew was setting up for an acoustic set but to our surprise, it was not Jeff Martin quite yet.
A new band to me, The Road Heavy sits down with a couple of acoustic guitarist and vocalist Jules Cardoso in the middle of Pat James and Ryan Blake. Cardoso explained they were missing a couple of guys in the band as they were asked to do this warm up set for Martin acoustically. James and Cardoso share the vocals and once they started singing together it was an incredible duo of vocal talent. Of course, I am a big fan of female fronted bands and Cardoso has a powerful range of vocals. More of a rock/blues sound but with this unplugged set, I felt Cardoso could kick country music’s butt if she went that way but my opinion she has it all. Cardoso can hit those notes with the best of them. Now that I am following the band on Facebook I will look forward to seeing them plugged in. I picked up their 6 song EP and the band is currently working on their new CD. Look for this in the fall.
Finally, just a few minutes after 12AM Jeff Martin comes on stage and says good morning.
With a little foot stomping electronic drum sound, and his guitar pedals, I lost count on how many guitars he used for his hour and 20-minute set.
I never had a chance to see Martin as a solo artist but 3 times with The Tea Party. The first song is “Coming Home” and wow, Martin has always been a singer full of passion as he hypnotizes the audience and takes us for a ride in his world. Women were melting at the sound of his voice and his dark mysterious stage presence.
Martin interacts well with the crowd and got in a few laughs. One gentleman was trying to get some attention as Martin laughed saying that the guy is funnier than himself. Throughout the show, Martin had to stop and laugh with the ladies squealing for him.
Continuing on with The Tea Party tracks we get “The Bazaar” then “Requiem” which was dedicated to the families that lost their loved ones in recent attacks against the police.
With Martin saying good night he left the stage. With the crowd chanting his name he did not disappoint and came back to do one final song “Black Snake Blues” from his 2006 Solo album with “Whole Lotta Love“.
Martin did a few songs also from his solo material and a medley of cover songs to complete the setlist with 11 tracks.
Martin is now living in Australia but still proud to be Canadian. Next year he is planning on coming back to Canada with The Tea Party. I am looking forward to seeing them again. My first time seeing The Tea Party was in Ottawa opening for Ozzy Osbourne. Not what you would expect, but they were amazing and they got the crowd pumped for Ozzy.
Overall this was a great night of music. With thoughts of not going to this show, I am glad I made the hour drive. This was one of the best lineups I have seen at The Rockpile.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin
Jeff Martin Set List
Coming Home – Tea Party
The Bazaar – Tea Party
Requiem – Tea Party (inc Hurt)
Stars in the Sand
Winter Solstice – Tea Party (inc Save Me)
A Line in the Sand – 2007 Solo album/Stairway to Heaven/Along the Watchtower
In This Time – Tea Party
The Kingdom – 2006 Solo album
Sister Awake/Inertia Creeps
Black Snake Blues – 2006 Solo album/Whole Lotta Love
Video courtesy of Marianna Lvovskaja on behalf of Mar Star Entertainment