REVIEW: CRYSTAL SHAWANDA


Staying In TUNE with Juno Awarding Winning, multi nominated  and accoladed Internationally Acclaimed superstar, the largest and fasting chart climbing Native American singer/songwriter, CRYSTAL SHAWANDA
Another stellar performance thanks to Bluesin' Toronto promoter Ross Robinson.  His blues series brings such incredible talent from around the globe to the forefront of Toronto's hottest musical setting, at Hugh's Room, for an up close and personal dinner show atmosphere.  May 20th marked the season finale of Ross Robinson's Blues Series and his next season will resume once again in the Fall, but, check out the huge talent coming this summer to Hugh's Room at www.hughsroom.com I was disappointed to hear that Danny Marks was rushed into surgery regarding his vision, but relieved to find out he is on the mend.  Replacing such massive talent was no easy feet, however, Juno Award winning Canadian singer/songwriter and blues pianist Julian Fauth was surprisingly talented and refreshing.  He revealed pre-war traditional boogie sound during his barrel house renditions and originals, it was the right touch of Jazz, truly brilliant.  Unlocking the powerful transformation from country to blues was the sensational, multi-accoladed and Juno winning, singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Crystal Shawanda and her gifted husband and guitarist Dewayne Strobel.  Their modern versions of the blues were potent and jammed full of wisdom.  Revving up the audience all night long during the 2 hour showcase, was an easy task for the highly energetic Crystal.  Even though Shawanda has switched genres, you can't take the country out of the gal!.  They carved influential pathways, incorporating an amazing blend of rockin blues with an abundance of her award winning country sound drizzled over top.  This musical roller coaster took us thru her 3 albums from her diverse and impressive career, even performing covers like "What You Gonna Do About Me" by honorable blues legend Buddy Guy and Crystal, Dewayne, drummer Al Webster and bassist Stan Miczek introduced us to new hits to come like "Trouble" and this soulful and zesty performance was laced with unbelievable brilliant guitar.  Emphasizing how romantic music can be especially when you are on stage with your husband.  I dream one day to have this ideal marriage of friendship, love, passion and extra ordinary musical intimacy on stage like the kind that Crystal and Dewayne exude.  Their personalities off stage are genuine, calm and soft; yet, set them under the stage lights with mic and guitar in hands, WOW, explosive transformations occur, guaranteeing to leave you awe-inspired.  A lot of passion goes into any performance, but, this was like no other ever seen.  This show ignited my soul and they nailed it!!  I was intrigued from the start & blessed to have been one of the elite to catch this 2nd 2016 Hugh's Room performance with Manitoulin Island now Nashville superstar entertainer, who has leaped boundaries in her stupendous career. Non stop action filled, sexy guitar and that wicked rasp to her vocals reminded me of 2 similar award winning artists from Peterborough, one Lindsay Barr and one Missy Knott (who has traveled and recorded with Crystal and Dewayne in Nashville).  An extended encore was followed by a standing Ovation, equalling one phenominal viewing of  flawless mastery of their crafts. "The Whole World's Got The Blues" has some serious infectious grooves, check it out folks at www.crystalshawanda.com

Photos and review by volunteer contributing photojournalist Deb Draper

REVIEW: PTBO LIVE 2016 HARD ROCK AND METAL SHOW

Deb Draper's Hard Rock and Metal showcase held on May 13th at The Historical Red Dog. A review of just 1 of the 14+ events, that took part at the 2016 Peterborough L.I.V.E Music Festival, by Deb Draper-Volunteer photojournalist The Wire Megazine & Volunteer Coordinator for this event.

Friday May 13th I had the honor of running Peterborough L.I.V.E's Hard Rock and Metal showcase at the Historical Red Dog, featuring 4 awesome acts; 3 from Peterborough and 1 from Toronto.   Peterborough L.I.V.E (Live Independent Venue Event) is in it's 3rd year with over 80+ acts and 14+ Venues throughout the downtown Peterborough Music Scene, for a full 3 days.  Uniting the community and beyond with music was our goal, and it was a success!  I seen Joe Mahony's mom slam dancing to The Jobbers performance and Ian Kurz mom front and center after a hip replacement, that's dedication.  The Jobbers, are Peterborough's hidden GEM of white collar musicians.  Dentist Ed Segura on lead guitar, Joe Mahony lead vocals and guitar, Jeff Kirker on Drums and Chris Gould on bass.  They captivated and rocked us with Green Day, Foo Fighters to Pearl Jam; as they set the tone for the evening of brilliant music, add them to facebook.  High energy filled the Historical Red Dog stage as Ian-K took center stage.  Ian has played in Peterborough in dozens of hometown bands throughout his extensive career, like F-Bomb and MIA, however, this new alternative indie hard rock band Ian-K, performed their 1st home town performance at Peterborough L.I.V.E on May 13th.  They rocked new originals from their EP "Unwell" and CD "Never Let Me Go" seeing those in attendance for Ian-K in costume with 80s hair and the madonna look, stop by 59 King Street East Oshawa at The Atria May 26 930pm for a killer FREE Ian-K show with Oshawa's My Affected Reality and check them out at www.ian-k.com for my tour info. Ian-K led us right into a punky metal act THECanadians. The room went wild as Jack La "Hammah" Rochelle on Bass, Alex "The Don" Donchak on Six String guitar, Jawn "J-Witz" Whitten as lead Singer on his hot pink Jackson electric guitar and the amazing Craig Ayrheart on drums, as these boyz burned up the stage with hit after hit of their own from their 10 track self titled, "THECanadians" CD released in 2016.  They grabbed your attention and didn't let go til the end of their set, tons of hair flips, with tons of hard and fast riffs.  Add them too to facebook and listen loud and love their cat 2!!  Headliners Demolition Rage brought their act of originality mixed with deep Metal grind to our stage with fans as far away as Barrie following to see them for the 1st time. Members of this incredible band have shared the stage with Iron Maiden, Motorhead, DIO, 3 Days Grace, I Mother Earth,  Kim Mitchell, Lee Aaron, & on Aug 19th with ANVIL at Spot One Brampton, a Shamus Black and Black Moon Entertainment event.  Founding member Fabio La Rocca brought his massive guitar talents front and center mixed with back up vocals, mixing in the musical genius of long time members, Cam Cathcart on drums and the ever acrobatic and energetic perma-grinning rocker Kevin Brazolot on bass.  The newest member George Petkovski bared his incredibly talented vocal soul to a loving crowd.  With 2 albums under their belt & a 3rd 1 on the way, Demolition Rage is climbing fast up that ladder of success. Visit www.demolitionrage.com or artistecard.com/demolitionrage to grab their Murder by Numbers & No Room For Silence.  SPECIAL APPRECIATION to Festival Coordinator and musically gifted Wendy Fishcer. And this just in.....Deb Draper will be volunteer host once again for 2017, for the Hard Rock and Metal Showcase for Peterborough L.I.V.E Music Festival, acts already signed up need 4 more.  

REVIEW: Homegrown Chatterboxevents Opera House



The legendary Toronto Opera House on Queen Street East was filled with hard rock fans, warm hues, lazers and Rock n Roll intensity, with spirits Alive on Sat a May 14th, a chatterbox event thru promoter/musician Paul Taskas. This lineup of stellar Toronto area rockers was nothing short of amazing.  Most acts had a Peterborough connection and kicking off the tone for the night was the marvelous Plaid on Flannel.  Lead singer and guitarist/songwriter Nolan Randall originally from Peterborough's High Water Band, rocked lead position featuring original songs from his 3 CDs: “Fairbairn Meadows”, “Mission of Mercy”; “Primitive Normative” & songs from their bands 1st and current CD “Rising Above”, which was released at this Opera House event.  Featuring on keys/vocals Jen Doyon, Les Cassling on bass, Minas Hatzigiannatzoglou on drums, who introduced an 80’s rock feel to the evening. You will want to catch their next show on June 4th at the Supermarket Restaurant and Bar or visit www.plaidonflannel.com
  
Little Sunday are Best New Rock and Breakout Band awarded, and were a mind blowing mix of everything heavy and 90s with songs reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots meets Collective Soul.  The ultimate hypnotic & euphorial songs featuring Eric Bonatti on drums, JP on guitar, Mario Stamegna on bass & Rick Farrell as lead vocals/guitar, fascinated the audience with their extreme talent and epic facial expressions as this very active and impressive act rocked us through originals off their 5 albums “Day of Hollow”; “Cross The Line”; “Wait For Tomorrow”; “Let It All Out”; With focus on their recent CDs “Peace.Love.Good Karma”.  Again a must see show, visit www.littlesunday.com for full details.

One Ugly Cowboy knocked my socks literally off as I wasn't sure how country would be fitting into an ever increasing hard rock night.  Boy was I wrong, the ultimate collaboration of country and hard rock was a perfect infusion with the award winning vocalist/actress Jane Sowerby (Janis Joplin Tribute artist) at the forefront as lead vocals.  This 5 piece musical genius mixed with loud guitar licks from Co-writer/founder Richard Zwic (of Juno awarded Lydia Taylor).  Richard has shared stages with Bryan Adams, Nazareth, Toronto and Head Pins to name a few.  Adding to the richness was Rick Ottenbrite on bass (from Eyes of Alice, El Grande  (ZZTop), who has shared the stage with David Wilcox, Kim Mitchell and Doug and The Slugs), matching great beats was none other than Mike Mann (The Spoons, Juno winning Anthony Vanderburg) on drums and Rob Kennedy (Michael Fury, Refugees) on lap steel/Guitar/mandolin.  Catch their new mainstream impressive album “Get Your Ugly On” and stop by at www.oneuglycowboy.com  or visit their Tillsonburg Turtle Fest June 18th show.

SKROU rocked as always with their 80s hard sound, and their powerful hits got them up dancing.  Formed in 2011 by Sam Kirou, who has shared stages with ANVIL, Helix to name a few, snd who has contributed  and has given back to Canadian cancer Society Relay for Life, Kids with Cancer, Diabetes Society, & Griffin Centre for Children with Autism.  Guitarist John DeFino is no stranger to the stage having shared stage with Max Webster, Goddo and Rough Trade, and who has his own Top 10 song at TicToc "20 questions".  RC Ricci the bassist and back up vocals of the group has played in Tribute acts like Black Sabbath, Kiss, Guns N Roses, & Van Halen.  Featured drum sensation and 25 year multi-instrumentalist, Anthony Terminesi (the terminator) lays down the back beat for SKROU, who are some of the hardest working h
Rock acts in Toronto. SKROU was named by taking out “am” from Sam and taking put the “I” out of Kirou.  This was my first inside view of these intense artists full of passion and stamina.  Flare is the best way to describe this massive sound of impressive musical backgrounds.  You should experience them live so visit www.skrourocks.com or check out Bassist RC Ricci as he creates his own sound with www.toxsyn.com

I simply was stunned as Ashley Curtis took mic in hand while she performed hair Flippin non-stop movements and that voice. OMGG!!!.  She captivated as she looked and sounded like my fave female rocker, Amy Lee of Evanescence. Mack Flynn on bass mixed well with Christian Andersen on guitar.  They truly lit the stage a flame with incredible and strong magical music.  New EP “Consequences Part 1” released,  you will want an autograph as it won't be long for this band jettisons forward as the next musician icons on the horizon visit www.affinityband.net
 
Firing up the Toronto Opera House at 1230am was Peterborough's music celebrity Ian Kurz and his seasoned Canadian Indie hard rockin’ Ian-K.  With songs from EP Unwell and from CD “Never Let Me Go” like Linger (which is a top 50 at National Radio) & Yesterday (is at 13 of the top 20 songs of 2015 at CJIM radio in Montreal).  Ian has shared stages with Our Lady Peace, Platinum Blonde just to list a few of the many he has performed with.   Ian auditioned for Velvet Revolver and co-wrote 2 songs for Slash (unleashed songs). “You Make Everything” was a Top 10 honorable mention as well, at Canadian Music Week 2015.  Ian-K is a Canadian hard rock indie foursome.  Ian Kurz the founder and lead singer on guitar has served as front man for original and cover bands for years in F-Bomb, MIA, 5150, One Good Handgrenade and the list goes on, & was guitarist for Blackout a Tribute to The Scorpians and currently is Paul Stanley in the longest running Kiss Tribute, Destroyer CANADA check out
www.ian-k.com and www.destroyercanada.com  Alongside for the musical ride was 10 year friend and multi-instrumentalist and award winning Adam Sweeney on bass who brought sheer energy, burning up that stage, revving up the audience. Adam has played with James McKenty and The Spades, Aiden, The Joker and created his own sound entitled Blind Revolution where he plays all instruments and sings all vocals. www.adamsweeny.ca  or www.reverbnation.com/blindrevolutuonband Rounding out the powerhouse section was Keith Riddolls, a music educated drum Core performer who has played 2,000 shows across North America with T.O Joker opening for April wine, Blue Oyster Cult and Jeff Healey.  May 14th Ian-K show featuring guitarist Paul Crane, a long-time friend and fellow musician from Blackout on loud guitar.   Follow this new and exciting sound and see them perform,  Thursday May 26th at 930pm at The Atria in Oshawa at 59 King Street East,  a free concert with Oshawa's My Affected Reality.
All in all it was a fantastic show! Thank you Mr. Rock n Roll, Paul Taskas (who also is Paul Stanley in Kiss Tribute, Rock And Roll Over, who perform June 3rd at The Rockpile) and check out amazing shows this promoter has coming up at The Opera House Toronto, www.chatterboxevents.ca


REVIEW: CHELSEY BENNETT






Peterborough's Chelsey Bennett brought her magnificent, angelic, glamorous & genuine personality front and centre May 4th, at her EP Release, held at the inspirational May Restaurant Lounge in Toronto.  She showcased her amazing all-star house band featuring highly sought after bassist Calvin Beale on his 33 "Scale FBass BNG".  Calvin is an all rounded bassist in all genres since 14 years young from Thunder Bay.  Huge in the Toronto R&B urban pop scene.  Has toured North America, Europe and India and has appeared on TV, in films, commercials, played on BRAVO, MTV, CTV, Much Music as well.  Has performed with PRINCE, Steven Page, Alfie Zappacosta, Rick Emmett just to name a few. Then on drums, the ever popular Adam Warner. Adam has toured Europe, UK, North America, performed at New York CBGB's to Amsterdam SXSW, Skydome, Massey Hall. He has appeared on BBC, CBC, CMT, Canada AM, Much Music, MTV, Musique Plus and composed musical backdrops for David Suzuki.  As well, performed command performance concerts for Paul Anka, Queen of Holland too.  Performed with Chantel Kreviatzuk, Randy Bachman, Sarah Slean. Recorded with Blue Rodeo and Peterborough's ROYAL WOOD, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Tragically Hip, Big Sugar.  Shared stages with Iron Maiden, Peter Frampton, Rodger Hodgson and Alana Morrisette, just to name a few.  She incorporated 3 very special guests, the incredible Thomas Francis on keys, let me tell you a bit about Thomas who is a multi-instrumentalist, York University educated and studied under David Mott and Westray and comes from a long line in his Jazz, Funk, R&B talented musical family. The saulty multi-instrumentalist Carrie Chestnutt on the sexy tenor/alto sax, flute and vocals captivated and performs at sold out shows where ever she travels.  She has played on Walk of Fame, with Paul Shaffer of David Letterman Show, Mary Wilson (The Supremes).  She has performed for Rick Moranis and Tom Hanks, opened for Phyllis Dillar and worked for Shakura S'Aida, Sass Jordan and Carole Pope, just the tip of the iceberg.  Carrie is the founder of Women with Horns and is a 20 year veteran member of Woman Blues Review.  As I was leaving to catch my connective transit across GTA to home Chelsey brought up Peterborough's Kate Suhr to sing a few too.  This show was full of pizzazz, zeal, zest and zing as Chelsey warmed the crowd with her scat.  From every effortless punch of her melodic vocals, souring me to heights making me dizzy with excitement, anxious for where her next original would take me.  Enchanting and hypnotizing, her show seduced and climaxed as she delivered to her eager full house fans.  Educated musically at Humber College, vocally trained by the crème-de-la-crème Elaine Overholt and the Nylon's Micah Barnes, mentored by Rob Phillips and produced by Beau Dixon; wow! Chelsey is going places with a support team of potent trainers and educating peers by her side.  This show was a well-balanced jazzy, poppy, funky, R & B infused masterpiece.  Grab her EP, listen and you will find it brings you smiles and leaves you refreshed and relaxed.  I adored "Voodoo Magic" and "Sippin on Tea", and was soothed by "Message on a Postcard" and what a perfect placement for the last song, at the end with "No End". A strong statement speaking volumes regarding her career.  Visit: www.chelseybennett.com
www.facebook.com/ChelseyBennettMusic













REVIEW: DAVID ROTUNDO


Toronto Award Winning Blues Harpist David Rotundo Band Hugh's Room Sold Out May 7, 2016



Totally blown away watching the endless energy David Rotundo sported for 2 straight hours on stage.  Hugh's Room hosts appetizing food and artists like David where fans can be seen dancing to the infectious sounds of the Blues, everywhere they could, even on the staircases.  David Rotundo captivated with one delectable hit after another as the blues oozed from his 6 piece band.  Filled with charisma, humour, perma-grins and high energy they dove backwards in time to the Delta Blues, as the music revved fast and faster like a freight train.  Showcasing covers and originals, catering to the feel of the audience without a set list, sailing smoothly throughout the night.  Serenading his fans at their seat and blowin his harp thru the darkened audience was an added cherry on top. Impressive describes this marvelous mind-blowing experience, twas truly magical.  Once again, a special nod to Bluesin' Toronto Ross Robinson and Lee Oscar for promoting this standing room only sold out show.  Dynamic and always unpredictable David Rotundo Band featured Chuck Keeping of Big Wreck on drums, James Rasmussen on bass, Avril Dell on keys,  the interlocking blues rhythms of guitarists Dan Dufour and 70+ year old Desmond Brown. Shaking, Vibrating while honking on his harmonica from a fast up beat lick to a solo accapella Dylan Thomas moment, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" leading right into a powerful encore of "Real Love" from his current "No Looking Back" CD.  Ronnie Hawkins was on the money when he stated,  "He plays the blues the way it's supposed to be played" & just like Lee Oskar, Ronnie Hawkins and Jeff Healey, David Rotundo's name comfortably sits with those that move and lift people up with their music by Deb Draper volunteer contributor The Wire Megazine photojournalist.