Do you know Jack? Sadly most do not, however, if I mention his protégé you likely do: Bob Ezrin. Yes him, the man behind some of the greatest complete albums in history by some of the larger than life bands in the history of music. Bar none.
We are fortunate to have a resounding music scene here in the “other London”. We have some great musicians that form tremendous bands. There seems to be to a real community sensibility to help each other, by most anyway, that harkens back to the 60’s & 70’s mindset of let’s work together. So, speaking of yesteryear this is when Jack Richardson made his mark on music and thankfully he not only produced great music he helped produce and cultivate other people’s talent. Hence we now have the Jack Richardson music hall of fame, the awards and for the first time this year an entire music week as part of the celebration. Some events included music industry seminars with Bob Ezrin and a dinner gala event also with Bob Ezrin, the awards show culminating the week. However, I took in a couple nights mid week.
First was on a Wednesday, a very difficult night to get people out to see live music generally. It was labeled London Crawling and featured 8 pubs/halls/bars/venues hosting a specific genre each. No cover charge at any of them. We went for punk music at the normally dance music establishment of Rum Runners above the London Music Hall. There we witnessed the immortality of the legendary 63 Monroe. Yes, this is one of my top 5 bands to see live and to listen to. As always Steven R Stunning, Brian, Carl and Pete played and displayed their punk rock attitude at top level. Their setlist was a little shorter than usual as there were another 2 bands to come, and I missed a couple of favorite tunes but no matter. Another awesome show that we are so glad to have seen and heard. There was also a nice size crowd in attendance. I received a copy of their latest vinyl Jeff in remembrance of their mortal drummer Jeff Depew who passed away during the recording. It is a great listen and I for one am very glad to have a copy of “Trouble” on a recording. It is a song I love to hear live and it sounds great on vinyl. As does the entire record. Another live favorite on the release is “You Can’t See It” which is usually a set opener, love it! “T.V. is Brain Damage” references all Nerds and is a fun listen. As for “Punk Rock Goalie”, only a Canadian punk band could write this eh? Great tune and I share a fave band with that goalie! Am I the part of the dwindling few that adore and admire the artwork on a 12×12? The lipstick 63 and jeff have had me staring endlessly while listening. A forgotten part of the experience sadly for most.
On the following evening, it was the Monsters of London Rock which featured Bobnoxious and Helix at the London Music Hall. The venue was packed early and once Bob hit the stage it was relentless hard rock for a solid hour and featured new tune “Battle Damage” an ode to our beloved London Knights hockey team. Once again Bobnoxious music is hard rock of the finest sort with a sharp yet melodic metal edge. Bob‘s vocals as always were amazing. Something that has always hooked me on this local band that I am shocked has not made it onto a bigger stage is their resemblance to Judas Priest when it comes to their amazing guitar sound that blends shredding riffs with a perfect balance of vocal melody and growling bliss!
Helix took the stage fairly quickly after them and it was hit after hit, solid tune after solid tune. Brian is ageless when it comes to his stage presence and rock star mannerisms, as well as his vox! I became transfixed on a fairly new member (since 2014) of the band; Chris on guitar. Holy wow was he enjoying being onstage and playing the tunes, a smile ear to ear. Not to mention his amazing axe work. I did get to speak to him after the show briefly, super guy and down to earth, friendly and loving the chance to rock n’ roll on stage with a legendary band such as Helix.
I was planning on taking part in the remainder of the weekend’s events especially the battle of high school bands however other events and exhaustion from renovations on the home kept me from them…ok so I am old is what I am saying and couldn’t muster my lazy butt off the couch for a couple more days.
All in all another great line-up of music. Thanks to all of those that tirelessly present to us each year some of the finest around and special thanks to Mario & Mike for spearheading a full week of it. We saw you constantly working during the events, the hard work did not go unnoticed.
Next year I will pace myself!
- Blair De Abreu