Justin Nozuka w/Avery Raquel • June 18

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JUSTIN NOZUKA with AVERY RAQUEL
Saturday, June 18 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • All-Ages
Tickets: $14.99 (+SC) advance, $20.00 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

With his most recent album Ulysees, Toronto singer-songwriter Justin Nozuka has crafted a world that fully explores the space and vibrancy that resonates within the purity of minimalism.

There is a deeply-rooted calmness to Ulysees that echoes like a sustained note held through the 10 tracks of the album— a natural grace tempered with passion that creates an ambiance of delicate space around the music. “To me the songs feel generous and spontaneous,” he explains. “I wanted to create a world with this album, an experience that is unique and unified.”

It is a new perspective for Nozuka, who says that finding the heart of Ulysees — his third full-length — was a winding process. A marked departure from his previous work, the journey of creating it was a slow transformation and free-flowing experiment of sorts that began in 2011.

Following his debut album Holly, and its follow-up You I Wind Land and Sea, Nozuka took his time to create his third work. “Making this album was really quite a long process, during which some key things happened. I was urged to get into production by a good friend, so I took his advice and decided to learn to produce. I was also able to work together with an aesthete, a friend with whom I created Ulysees,” says Nozuka.

The bold move to produce on his own brought a depth and instinct to his music that was previously untapped. While he looks back fondly on his previous work, this evolution in his creative process heralds a departure into new territory that he now relishes.

With the new freedom of working from a home-based studio, and the experimentation of sitting in the producer’s chair for the first time, as Nozuka pursued songs and refined them a specific aesthetic emerged within the music he was writing that would eventually become Ulysees.

“Dreaming/Eyes Changing Colour” symbolizes the journey the album takes listeners on, enveloping them in a gentle night. The lead single “Right By You” evokes a languid, sensual feeling while delving further into a unique and soothing dream-like world Nozuka so deftly weaves together through the album. Listeners can almost feel the raw and transformative experience it has been for Nozuka.

And so with Ulysees, Nozuka’s artistry is ready to be embraced anew as a cherished pause and an intention for balance in an otherwise frenetic world.

At 14 years old, Avery Raquel is already a veteran of the performing arts. She has a resume, the envy of many artists twice her age. From the Birdland Jazz Club and Metropolitan Room in New York City to The Jazz Bistro, Lula Lounge and Hugh’s Room in Toronto, Avery has wowed audiences with her solo vocal performances. Avery has also performed in provincial jazz festivals such as; The Oakville Jazz Festival, Brantford International Jazz Festival, and the South Coast Jazz Festival, sharing the stage with the likes of June Garber, Lou Pomanti, Rob Reed, and the Dave Restivo Trio, to name a few.

Avery has also garnered many awards including the London Rise2Fame Youth Talent Search, and as the runner-up in the 2015 Hamilton Music Awards Rising Star Competition.

Recently released to the public, Avery’s debut album, “Life Lessons” is already receiving critical acclaim and airplay on CBC Radio One, JazzFM and other stations across the country. The album was also recently nominated for ‘Jazz Recording of the Year’ at the 2016 Hamilton Music Awards. She had the opportunity to work on the album with Canadian jazz professionals Joel Haynes, Mike Pelletier, and Rob Fekete, as they recorded a mix of Jazz standards and modern tunes with Avery’s own vocal flair.

Ginger St. James w/DJ Aerlie Wild

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GINGER ST. JAMES with DJ AERLIE WILD
Friday, June 24 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $12 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Ginger St. James needs no introduction, but we figure we would share this legit review from Nick Krewen of the Toronto Star:  “A sassy and dynamic rockabilly singer, songwriter and guitarist, creating a national buzz with some slightly cheeky music and a captivating charisma fueled by her roaring voice and model beauty.”

Vinyl DJ and host at 93.3 CFMU (Wild South, Put the Record On), DJ Aerlie Wild spins psychedelic light effects, vintage Americana, outlaw country, Southern rock ‘n’ soul, bayou boogie and New Orleans funky jazz. She also heads up local imprint Ridin’ High Records, whose first Canadian signing was Ginger St. James.

The Pack A.D. w/Grey Lands • June 6

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THE PACK A.D. with GREY LANDS
Monday, June 6, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $12.50 (+SC) advance, $17.50 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Destruction and melody, acid wit and bruising vocals—this is the Pack A.D. Singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller have made a sound so gigantic, so fierce and raw and empowering, that it’s easy to forget there are just two people behind this brilliant, carefully constructed havoc.

Shredding and pounding their way through every song, the Pack A.D. swallows you whole inside their fearless Franken-blend of heavy psych-pop/garage-rock. Their lyrics are wild nests, human and complex: darkly funny disclosures about depression; indictments of digital excess; grief-stricken fire bombs; sly crusades against stupidity. The Pack A.D. is also one of Canada’s “must-see” bands.

Be it a massive stadium or the slightly seedy bar where everybody’s shoes stick to the carpet, the Pack A.D. have owned every spotlight and stolen every show they’ve ever played. Becky and Maya are relentless and riveting, playing with the kind of fuck-off freedom that makes everybody in the room vicarious rock stars, even if it’s just for the night.

For his first album as Grey Lands, Wayne Petti returned to the musical country he came from. Songs By Other People is a solo album that isn’t solo – Cuff the Duke’s frontman reimagining the songs of others, with the help of others, everyone gathered in a warm, electric sound.
“I wanted to acknowledge where I had been, musically,” Petti says. So there are songs by Bob Dylan and Buffy Ste-Marie, by Sloan and M Ward, all filtered through Petti’s prism. The music is burred and confident, far noisier than Petti’s previous work. And his choice of pals gives the material a scrappy quality: Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, shouting beside Petti on Dylan’s “My Back Pages”; Sarah Harmer, coyly duetting on Lee Hazlewood’s “Sand”. All of these guests, from Keelor and Harmer to Joel Plaskett, Hayden and Randy Bachman, are musicians Petti has supped with or toured with or meandered alongside, over kind grey lands.
Maybe Songs By Other People is the sound of friendship. Not just the sound of friends playing together but the sound of affinity itself, of crisscrossing spirits. Maybe it’s friendship, not feedback, that fills the corners of Grey Lands’ songs. This ain’t hokey, it ain’t dumb mush: if lust can be captured on magnetic tape, or rage can, or regret, then surely friendship’s allowed too. And is there any truer metaphor for love than singing the words of another person’s song?

Even knowing the back-story, Grey Lands’ ragged team-ups feel unexpectedly intimate, personal – pop-rock and psych-folk sent out clearly, sincerely, from player to listener. And for all its thunder and reverb, Songs By Other People is still a thing of loud melody: a classic’s a classic for a reason, and Petti’s never unfaithful to his best friends. These eight songs, this gang of co-conspirators – it’s its own ringing, rowdy jukebox. Enjoy.

Jane’s Party with SATE • May 5

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JANE’S PARTY with SATE
Thursday, May 5, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 9:30pm • 19+
Tickets: $9.99 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Though they’ve been playing together since 2006, the members of Toronto-based pop-rock quartet Jane’s Party – Devon Richardson, Tom Ionescu, Jeff Giles, and Zach Sutton – feel like they’re just starting to gather steam.

Ready to take off after years roving Toronto’s vibrant bar scene and touring great swaths of Canada, their third full-length album, Tunnel Visions, arrives as their most confident and mature effort to date. Produced by Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor and recorded at his remote farm in Southern Ontario,it’s comprised of songs about being on the road, about losing loved ones, about growing up and coming to grips with life.

Even while running the gamut of emotions and themes, the bandmates never lose the buoyant, hooky songwriting or soulful harmonies they’ve honed over nearly a decade of collaboration, and their hard-won chemistry is evident in how effortless the execution comes off. With Tunnel Visions, they offer an original take on a classic sound, with compositions that feel at once familiar and fresh. Their diverse array of sounds jumps across and often fuses genres – from folk to funk to stripped-down guitar rock, with synth-pop flourishes and splashes of grunge. These are plaintive songs and gritty songs, songs that strike a tonal balance between chip-on-the-shoulder tenacity and Sunday morning malaise, between small-town intimacy and big-city bravado.

The production, too, is polished to a sheen, with input from outside voices entering the picture for the first time. Lead single “Coming on Strong” is co-produced by The Darcys and features legendary singer/songwriter Jim Cuddy on backing vocals. The album, mixed by Chris Stringer and mastered by Joao Carvalho, showcases a sound that’s more layered and sonically rich than anything the band has created thus far. This is a long way from the Jane’s Party that recorded and self-produced their debut album in a garage in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood.

Since then, they’ve collaborated and shared the stage with Blue Rodeo, Sam Roberts Band, The Arkells, Wintersleep, Matt Mays, The Maccabees, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Tom Odell, Lights, Manic Street Preachers, and others. They’ve come up in the world, and people are starting to take notice.

Two years in the making, Tunnel Visions speaks of a band that’s found itself, and of one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets stepping out of the shadows.

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SATE is blues and SATE is rock. SATE is raw power, out to satisfy and empower a nation. Armed with her ferocious soulful wails, relentless guitars & a dirty low end, pulsating organs and greasy grooves to satisfy earhole, SATE has learned at the feet of  masters, and incorporated those lessons into what are, beyond a doubt, some of the most electrifying sounds to come from anyone this year.

At the forefront of it all is empowerment, strength and sexiness personified by the indelible image of a woman on stage, her fist in the air, and an entire audience raising its hands in communal acknowledgment.  The full spectrums of emotions, channeled into a fight for what is right, as bodies and spirits are moved, and souls are satisfied.

SATE has her feet firmly planted in the 21st century, but the passing of the torch is fully evident on this primordial scream of a debut record that balances huge riffs with swaggering vocals, like a lost collaboration between Tina Turner and Jimi Hendrix.

This ballsy and fearless attitude fueled by vulnerability, rage and joy are the sparks that ignite SATE’s songwriting and explosive live energy – taking all that life throws at you and turning it into great art. It’s a catharsis and a discovery of one’s true voice.  SATE is a product of the live experience, with a sound that has taken shape over the course of several years of intense live shows.

In the end, the SATE experience is fueled by one lyric – “Don’t let them demons pull the trigger, don’t let them kick you down”…because, onstage SATE fights until everyone is empowered, connected in sweat and everyone is sated.

Laura Cole & Ben Somer • May 13

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LAURA COLE with BEN SOMER
Fri May 13, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm • 19+
Tickets $9.99 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
 
In a digital download world where artist photos and clever packaging are often overlooked, Laura Cole makes us pay attention. On the front cover of her raw, gritty and wildly infectious debut full-length album Dirty Cheat, the quickly emerging, raspy voiced Ontario based singer-songwriter smiles playfully, relaxed in a wicker chair. The back cover finds her in a sexy black dress in the remote woods of Upstate New York, aiming and shooting a friend’s licensed .45 – a wild episode that had neighbours calling out the SWAT team, thinking something sinister was amiss before the situation was defused as a big misunderstanding. That’s the perfect metaphor for Laura and her deep, complex artistry: the adorable badass.
 
A compromise-free, colourfully blunt songwriter, Laura brings her edgy, soulful and distinctively bluesy musical vision to life with the help of two Grammy winning producers – Steve Bigas, who won his Grammy for engineering blues legend Taj Mahal, and the legendary Daniel Lanois, an artist in his own right whose vast resume includes Grammy winning albums by Bob Dylan (Time Out of Mind) and U2 (The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree) and others by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris and the Neville Brothers. Laura had the great fortune of growing up influenced by “Uncle Danny,” a close friend of her father’s who took an early interest in her development as an artist. “He’s been listening to me sing since I was a kid, whether he liked it or not,” she says.
 
Laura and Lanois have enjoyed a spirited musical history together, starting their dynamic “musical journeys” after she finished high school when he took her to Nashville to watch him work with Harris. She also sang with his friends The Blade Family (including renowned jazz musician Brian Blade) on several episodes of the Louisiana based gospel TV show “Hallelujah Train” in Shreveport. In 2013, he asked her to sing a duet with him on a song he wrote (and she later added lyrics to) called “Papineau” – which he surprised her by releasing as a Valentine’s Day single. After spending three days at his L.A. studio recording, she flew straight to Casablanca (yes, the one in Morocco!) to start a whirlwind two month gig at a hip after hours pub. Closer to home, the Ancaster, Ontario born and based Laura has built a growing fan base at hotspots like Lula Lounge in Toronto, This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton and at various festivals and “Taste of” events.
 
Drawing on a wide swath of rock, jazz and R&B influences ranging from Etta James and Aretha Franklin to Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke and the late Amy Winehouse – artists “who let you hear the soul in their voices” – Laura noticed a theme developing as she and Bigas narrowed her growing catalog of tunes to nine perfectly honed tracks. She says the theme of Dirty Cheat can be summed up in three songs: the sly and sexy “Sweet Escape” (about a “friends with benefits” moment that offered temporary relief from life’s struggles), the dreamy, mystical Tom Waits inspired “Death Row” (about the troubling end of a relationship) and the trippy, seductively sly title track, about raining hell down upon a cheating boyfriend – making sure she was “someone that you never forgot.”
 
“A lot of people get cheated on, but don’t like to talk or sing about it,” she says. “For me, these songs are my catharsis, honest stories I am telling because I have nothing to hide. It’s easier for me to be true to myself than put on a cheerful front all the time. My goal has always been to portray real things I had been through – and I started writing my best songs till I had experienced the heartbreak of being cheated on. I bring a lot of interesting stories about my romantic adventures to the mix. The songs about my most recent heartbreak had the most power and heart in them.”
 
http://lauracolemusic.com

Danny Michel • Apr 29

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DANNY MICHEL
Fri Apr 29, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm • 19+
Tickets $19.99 (+SC) advance, $25 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

“By this point, singer/songwriter Danny Michel must be a bit weary of being ranked as one of this country’s undiscovered musical treasures. But it’s true” – The Toronto Star

“Every time we hear a new Danny Michel album, we end up asking the same question: Why isn’t he rich, famous and beloved by the masses? Criminally overlooked” – The Winnipeg Sun

With nominations for three JUNO Awards, The Polaris Prize, The CBC’s “Heart Of Gold” AND a pile of albums under his belt, Danny Michel is unquestionably one of Canada’s finest songwriters. His thoughtful lyrics & earnest performances have earned him a devoted fan base. A musical chameleon, able to slip into many genres with ease. “An adventurous & fearless artist”. “A master at striking the right balance between unpredictability and meeting expectations, leaving you wanting more as soon as it’s over”.

Past critics have praised Danny’s lyrics for having “something to say” without coming off preachy. His environmental song “Feather, Fur & Fin” landed on both CBC’s “Global Goals Playlist” & David Suzuki’s “Playlist For The Planet”. Other songs ask big questions like “If Gods’ on your side, then who’s on mine” and “Who’s Gonna Miss You when you’re gone?” a song which explores karma asking “Did you live it right or did you live it wrong?”

In 2011 Danny relocated to Belize and founded the Danny Michel Ocean Academy Fund to help raise scholarships for small non-profit community high school. To date he’s raised over $70,000.00 for the school and volunteers there when he can.

Later he tracked down one of his favorite bands; The Garifuna Collective, a unique Afro-Amerindian cultural group and convinced them to make an album together. That album (“Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me”) was quoted as “One of the finest musical works of our time” By Billboards Larry Leblanc. The album landed him a 3rd JUNO nomination (this time in the “World Music” category) and a sold out summer tour of North America with The Garifuna Collective.

At the moment Danny is sitting in front of a blank canvas contemplating where his next album is going to take him. It could go anywhere from here. Knowing Danny, wherever it goes – it will be an adventure”

http://www.dannymichel.com/

Colour Film w/Les Cooper • Apr 9

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COLOUR FILM with guest LES COOPER
Release Party for Colour Film’s Super 8 EP
Sat Apr 9, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:30pm, Show 8:30PM • All-Ages
>> Buy Tickets Here << 

Imagine Nick Drake cheering up a bit and living long enough to work with Beck.

Looking back in order to look ahead. Drawing from memories to open up new possibilities. That, in many respects, sums up Colour Film, the new identity of Hamilton, Ontario’s Matthew de Zoete. Having released three albums of dreamy folk-pop under his own name, de Zoete (pronounced “duh-ZOO-tuh”) has channeled the various sounds and influences from those records into Super 8, a six-song EP that will reintroduce his melodic gifts and poignant lyricism when it is released April 8, 2016 on Ship Records.

The overarching concept behind Colour Film grew out of a song that de Zoete wrote by that name which became the title track of his last album from 2012. It explored his fascination with his family’s history but also embodied his idea of songs as “little films,” wherein a combination of characters, stories, and emotions create a visual element in the listener’s mind. The six songs on Super 8 achieve de Zoete’s ends brilliantly, with his voice and the shimmering arrangements often echoing the glorious melancholy of Elliott Smith, Badly Drawn Boy, and the Pernice Brothers.

Produced by Les Cooper (Jill Barber, Good Lovelies), who also adds his dynamically nuanced guitar playing, the EP features harmony vocals from Julie Fader (Etiquette, Great Lake Swimmers), Robbie Grunwald (Doug Paisley, Justin Rutledge) on keyboards, bassist Mark McIntyre (Danny Michel, Roxanne Potvin), and drummer Joel Stouffer (Dragonette, The New Deal).

Call it a new voice, a new philosophy, or simply the discovery of a gift he never knew he possessed, Colour Film’s Super 8 is the first taste of a re-born singer/songwriter whose body of work is sure to remain as timeless as its subject matter.

http://www.colourfilm.ca

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Les Cooper is a multiple award-winning producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Hamilton. His compositions and productions have been featured on television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, The L Word , Fringe and One Tree Hill. His productions have won several awards including The Good Lovelies and Meaghan Smith, who took mome Junos in 2010 and 2011 respectively. He has had several Juno nominations for other projects including Madison Violet and Jill Barber, and his work on The Good Lovelies’ recent album Burn the Plan earned him a Producer of the Year nomination at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
 
Cooper has received critical acclaim across North America, Europe and Australia, and has recently been getting quite a bit of attention for his arranging and orchestration skills. He has composed commissions for Symphony Nova Scotia as well as several works for Canadian artists such as Jill Barber, Andy Stochansky, Craig Cardiff, Meaghan Smith and David Myles. His arrangements have frequently been compared to the great arrangers of the past such as Nelson Riddle and Duke Ellington, earning him a reputation as a composer with a classic and timeless sound.

Post-Season Pitch Talks • Mon Nov 16

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On the heels of an heroic Blue Jays season, baseball lovers’ delight Pitch Talks returns to Mills Hardware on Monday, November 16.

This fan favourite, which wowed SRO crowds at Mills during its September debut, promises to deliver a night of baseball storytelling, analysis & debate! And after the past month in Jays land, there’s definitely a lot to talk about!

Pitch Talks will offer the faithful a breakdown of what’s next for the Blue Jays with an esteemed panel of insiders:

  • Stephen Brunt (Sportsnet)
  • Jeff Blair (Sportsnet)
  • Steve Milton (Hamilton Spectator)
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith (Sportsnet)

The night will also feature Ashley Stephenson from the Canadian women’s national baseball team to talk about her experiences in the game!

The Pitch Talks team has also called up a Blue Jays “Fanel” of baseball diehards to talk about the postseason and what lies beyond:

  • Chris Johnston Sportsnet
  • Nick Dika bassist for The Arkells
  • Kieran Roy co-owner, Arts & Crafts
  • Scott Crawford Director of Operations, Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame

Get your tickets here!