It was a chilly Friday Night and part of me (OK, most of me) wanted to stay in and listen to the always excellent blues show on French CBC radio, but I made my way out - after 9 (and this was an 8-11 event) so I knew I wouldn't hear a lot. The first place I headed was Castro's which I figured would be the anchor venue (it's Castro's owner who created the festival - albeit with a whole team!). They had an artist I had not heard of but was told later he was quite remarkable - playing exotic instruments. Anyway, at Castro's and at the next club they were both on so I just kept moving. Got to hear Paul Reddick then Mike Daley & Terry Wilkins. Everybody playing in the dark with pretty noisy crowds. This was not a festival savvy audience but hey, it's just the first year. These venues don't usually have live music and if there was, it would not be a listening crowd. Julian Fauth had a little more attention from his audience - he had Drew Austin on drums and Ken Yoshioka on harp. I was already glad I got out when Tracey, my photogtrapher friend told me the Weber Brothers were playing up the street at the Linsmore Tavern - I decided to check it out. An amazing band, and who's front and centre but Emily Burgess and her red ES-335 (the guitar I've always lusted after). I knew the Weber brothers story (coming on a pilgrimage to Canada to meet - and ultimately play with - their idol, Ronnie Hawkins.) You can tell these guys rehearse - everything so tight, harmonies, endings...but that's not what makes them great. Every song took the crowd to the "next level" great energy and dynamics as well as superb musicianship. They could have been mainstage headliners for that little blues festival - in fact there had been talk of bringing in a big name to the local theatre but I guess that was not to be...but it's only their first year. Next time, they should do like Winterfolk and bring in sound & lights to all the participating clubs, though. Maybe I'll get back for more tomorrow night but it will only be for somebody's last set.
See below for a taste of the Weber Brothers and a few instagram clips from Queen Street as well.