Burton Cummings & His Band – CNE Bandshell, Toronto

Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings took the Bandshell stage on the opening night of the Ex, to a record-breaking crowd. No surprise there, as generations of fans crowded the grounds, singing along to dozens of solo and Guess Who classics as well as some choice golden oldie covers

 

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Portugal. The Man – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto 08/17/17

Portugal. The Man continue their North American tour, which brought them to the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on August 17th. The Lords of Portland are on tour to promote their latest record Woodstock out now on Atlantic Records. Today (August 21st) at their Charlotteseville show, in response to the casualties of the innocent terror victims of the recent Neo Nazi (fuck you, there is NO alt-right) demonstration in that city, 100% of proceeds went to Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the show was dedicated to activist and victim Heather Heyer.

Portugal. The Man are one of the very few acts that put their money where their mouth is.

Sam Roberts Band performing live in Toronto

The Sam Roberts Band performing live at the Bandshell at the CNE in Toronto, in support of their latest record “Terraform”

Blondie with Deap Vally “Rage and Rapture Tour” 07/26/17 Toronto

The Sony Centre hosted a fantastic lineup showcasing the lineage of powerful women at the forefront of rock and roll.
Kicking the night off was California’s Deap Vally, a hard garage rock duo featuring Julie Edwards and Lindsey Troy. Rooted in swampy blues Deap Valley, glammed out in sequins and big big hair, was last in Toronto opening for Wolfmother and we can’t wait to see them again!

Scroll down after the photos for a clip of “Smile More”

 

Next on the roster was Garbage.

 

Last but certainly not least was Blondie. There’s not much I can say about Debbie & Co. that hasn’t been said better for the last 40 years. Decked out in a bee costume (latest album: Pollinator) with a cape that read “STOP FUCKING THE PLANET” Debbie Harry sounded absolutely amazing. Preening and posing for the crowd, shaking hands and commanding the stage in fine form. This one was definitely a bucket list for me. Also if you’re on Facebook (it’s on the internet) make sure to follow guitarist Chris Stein, a talented photographer who has documented the NYC scene from the band’s early days, right up until today

Blondie

 

Deap Vally

The Pack a.d. w/ Ginger Ale & The Monowhales – Indie Fridays @ Yonge-Dundas Square

“Indie Fridays”, sponsored by, oddly enough, Indie 88, taking place on, conveniently, Fridays, brings amazing live Canadian music to the public. For free. At Yonge-Dundas Square under a blaze of neon. The July 21st edition of Indie Fridays brought out one of my favourite bands, The Pack a.d. from Vancouver. The swampy garage rock featuring Maya Miller on drums and Becky Black on lead vocals and guitar is loud and sweaty. yes, the music is sweaty. trust me, go check ’em out for yourselves. They’re amazing!

Also on the bill was a band that had eluded me in the last few years. Lots of buzz can be heard about Ginger Ale & The Monowhales, and it’s good buzz. Justified buzz. High energy, well crafted pop rock and even a megaphone makes an appearance! Toronto-based Monowhales (and Ginger Ale too) are touring Canada this summer, be sure to catch them while you can!

 

Ginger Ale and the Monowhales

 

The Pack a.d.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – 40th Anniversary Tour – Toronto 07/15/17

Tom Petty is on his victory lap. Riding high on the 40th anniversary celebration as The Heartbreakers they sold out the Air Canada Centre just three short years since their last visit, the tour in support of Hypnotic Eye. The tempos may have slowed down and the keys lowered but there were plenty of hits. Although given their forty year history, Petty seemed to gravitate towards more deep cuts than usual, while not promoting a new album. Interestingly special attention was paid to 1994’s Wildflowers which was released as a solo album. Then again so was Full Moon Fever, and both featured the Heartbreakers crew heavily (along with Campbell and Tench – original bassist Ron Blair, and the “new guys” Steve Ferrone who joined in 1994 and Scott Thurston, 1991).

 

Opener Peter Wolf strutted and shimmied and kicked out the blues jams for an extended set. Touching upon a few J. Geils cuts, but Centerfold and Freeze Frame were noticeably absent.

 

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers setlist 07/15/17

Rockin’ Around (With You)
Mary Jane’s Last Dance
You Don’t Know How It Feels
Forgotten Man
I Won’t Back Down
Free Fallin’
Walls
Don’t Come Around Here No More
It’s Good to Be King
Crawling Back to You
Wildflowers
Learning to Fly
Yer So Bad
I Should Have Known It
Refugee
Runnin’ Down a Dream

Encore:

You Wreck Me

American Girl

 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

 

 

Peter Wolf