Plants and Animals w/Harlow • Dec 4

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PLANTS AND ANIMALS with HARLOW
Sunday December 4, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm, show 8:00pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $25 (+SC) advance, $32 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Plants and Animals are a Montreal-based trio that began playing together as kids, emerged on the international scene in 2008 and have developed a varied cult following ever since, built this on the shoulders of their self-produced records, their intense live show, or both—depending on who you ask. Waltzed in from the Rumbling (released April 29, 2016 on Secret City Records) is their first album in nearly four years. It is Plants and Animals’ most soulful and inventive collection of music yet. Eleven soundtracks for leaps taken, ships sailed, dark water and pink skies.

Bluesy alt-rockers Harlow stepped onto the local scene with the release of their debut EP Unsatisfied in June 2016. The Hamilton-based four-piece, features sincere, heartfelt lyrics, smouldering female vocals, and chugging guitar riffs against a driving rhythm section, captured on tracks like “Better Off Alone“.

 

Wonder & Awe: The Magic of Brandon Love • Dec 2

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WONDER & AWE: THE MAGIC OF BRANDON LOVE
Friday November 25, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm, show 8:00pm • 19+
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Cover: Pay What You Can 

More than just a magic show, Wonder & Awe: The Magic of Brandon Love is an experience you’ll want to be a part of. Brandon’s unique brand of magic has been performed around the world leaving audiences delighted and awestruck. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Wonder & Awe! This is a Pay What You Can event — there is no ticket price, but your contributions are welcome at the door!

AHI w/Kojo “Easy” Damptey • Jan 21

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AHI with KOJO “EASY” DAMPTEY
Tuesday January 21, 2017 • Doors 8:00pm, show 9:00pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $10 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door / All-Ages
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Few artists leave such an impression that you’ll never forget the exact moment you first heard them. With a voice like “gravel on silk”, Canadian songwriter and independent recording artist AHI (pronounced “eye”) is one of those rare finds. From humble beginnings in Brampton, Ontario, AHI has taken his passion and his guitar over 50,000 miles through the vast woodlands of Canada and across the Atlantic to the brick lanes of London and the highlands of Ethiopia, and his passionate live performances have captivated audiences at every turn. Along the way, AHI has recorded with leading acoustic sessions Ont’ Sofa (London), Hauskonzerte (Münich), Cardinal Sessions (Köln), Southern Souls (Toronto), SOFAR Sounds (Nashville), Rockstone Sessions (Netherlands) and more. AHI returned to find his Indie Soul EP (2014) on CBC Radio One’s top 10 Toronto records of the year, and his stunning rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’ featured on the official BobMarley.com website with a personalized note from Mrs. Rita Marley herself – an unparalleled experience for an artist who cites Bob Marley as his greatest musical inspiration. AHI has since been recognized and awarded by the Toronto Arts Council, Folk Music Ontario, Nashville Songwriters Association International, the Songwriters Association of Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts, and he is a Top 10 Finalist of the 2017 Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, establishing him as one of Canada’s top emerging songwriters. With the release of his debut album, We Made It Through The Wreckage, AHI blends folk, soul and rock to deliver a performance worthy of a seasoned vocal powerhouse. AHI’s voice will stop you in your tracks, but it’s his timeless songs that will hold you there and leave you wanting more.

Kojo “Easy” Damptey is a Afro Soul music producer, song writer, keyboardist, composer and poet, born and raised in Accra, Ghana. He currently resides in Canada writing, composing and producing songs with various artists in Canada and around the world. His debut record Daylight Robbery earned a 2015 Hamilton Music Award for Pop Record of the Year.

Spencer Burton w/Marine Dreams • Nov 25

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SPENCER BURTON with MARINE DREAMS
plus DJ Aerlie Wild
Friday November 25, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm, show 9:30pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $10 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Spanning a musical life with hardcore beginnings (Attack in Black), to the somber strings of his acoustic guitar in the realm of country-folk (Grey Kingdom) and collaborative years of writing and performing live in City and Colour, Spencer Burton is a mainstay musical virtuoso. Co-produced by his longtime friend and collaborator, Dan Romano, Don’t Let The World See Your Love pulls from the southern sounds of folk and country of yore, like a tired old soul’s night at the Opry with more contemporary melodic musings. A new album recorded in Nashville with Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Langhorne Slim, Promised Land Sound) will be released in January 2017.

Ian Daniel Kehoe is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer living in Toronto, Ontario. His four albums as Marine Dreams display an astonishingly rapid evolution of a writer and producer, driven by a desire for self-sufficiency toward an uncommon maturity. Flush with the spirit of our communal and most classic melodies, ancient and eternal, his music and poetry is for pop lovers and rock and rollers alike.

Lindy Vopnfjörð w/Wax Mannequin • Nov 18

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LINDY VOPNFJÖRÐ (Album Release) with WAX MANNEQUIN & TALL PEOPLE
Friday November 18, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $10 (+SC) advance, $12 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Born into the Icelandic community in Manitoba, Lindy Vopnfjörð started his music career early. By four, he was singing cautionary songs about nuclear war and traveling around with his musician parents and extended family in a bus. Lindy’s 2013 album Young Waverer garnered heaps of critical accolades, including a string of hit singles on CBC Radio. His follow-up and sixth album, the just-released Frozen In Time, showcases a more refined songwriter, capturing courageous stories of freedom champions, Vikings, and the love for his beloved wife. The upcoming record was produced by Todor Kobakov (Lights, Metric, Stars, Dan Mangan) and features contributions from artists in Canada, America and Iceland, including additional help on guitar from Whitehorse’s Luke Doucet.

Lindy’s storied history as an Icelandic-Canadian folk artist is well-documented. Born into a family of folk singers, he spent his formative years touring Canada, singing traditional Icelandic songs to the delight of many. Over the years, he has continued to reinvent himself to both critical and commercial success: in the iconic Victoria-based band Northern Junk, and his Toronto big noise indie rock group, Major Maker. Most recently, Lindy has revolved to the stripped down folk sound that has endeared him to audiences. Using only his voice and guitar, Lindy now writes songs in the storytelling vein of troubadours that have come before him. His songs tell tales of harrowing escapes from North Korea, to time unjustly spent in a prison in India. He works closely with survivors and heroes from around the world to craft uniquely personal songs, anchored by the weight of true life events. This Western Icelandic-Canadian “Gentle Giant” is not to be missed.

Wax Mannequin was born in the smoke and industry of Hamilton; a damaged, underdog town; a perfect breeding ground for strange, variant things. Incorporating folk, scrappy prog-metal and a tireless creative ethic, Wax infused his local influences with road-broken experience to forge something new. Solo (accompanied by heavy devices and an angry, nylon-string guitar) or band-backed, Wax Mannequin has toured incessantly within Canada over the past several years, with more recent forays into Europe and Australia.  Oblivious to the trend and trap of the big cities and the cultural propaganda machines, Wax Mannequin now finds himself a forerunner in a strange new movement: roaming recluses and attention-seekers — solo-performers, equipped with laptops, damaged instruments and decaying minivans, making new sounds, informed by hard travel and rough living. Like a lost collaboration between Nick Drake and Edward Gorey, or the ghost of Freddie Mercury channelled by Crispin Glover, Wax’s thought-provoking live performances and acclaimed recordings have garnered the fervent support of the creative underclass in his home country as well as a burgeoning international reputation.

The PussyCat Lounge Literary Salon • Nov 19

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THE PUSSYCAT LOUNGE LITERARY SALON
Featuring NAIRN HOLTZ and BETH MURCH
Saturday November 18, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm • 19+
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $10 (+SC) advance & door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

The PussyCat Lounge is a literary salon for queer women & their friends – all are welcome. Featured guests are Nairne Holtz & Beth Murch. Michael Simlais deejaying.

Nairn Holtz began her writing career in the early 90s with the creation of a queer kinky punk porn ’zine, Pornorama, that generated sales and mail from around the world and interesting personal adventures. A straight couple who ran a fetish group offered to back her financially and elevate Pornorama to magazine status. She pooh-poohed this offer she didn’t think was terribly practical: “Thanks, that’s sweet, but I’m going to library school.” Today she is a librarian and author of two books: The Skin Beneath (Insomniac, 2007), which was shortlisted for Quebec’s McAuslan Prize and This One’s Going to Last Forever (Insomniac, 2009), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her new novel, Femme Confidential, will be published in the fall of 2017.

Debra Anderson is the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBT Writers. Her work has been anthologized in Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, Brazen Femme: Queering Femininity, Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians. Herizons Magazine described her novel, Code White (McGilligan, 2005) as “…a book that meets your eye, has a good handshake, and looks killer in a pair of fishnets.”

Beth Murch is a village wyse womyn, radical reproductive justice activist, birth worker, and nationally competing spoken word artist. She has performed across Canada and in the United States, creating and disturbing peace with her literary craft. A lone, tender-yet-fierce voice that speaks of love, spirituality, feminism, female sexuality, mental health, and loneliness, Murch’s humour and vulnerability lingers with audiences. Her passions include placentae, memento mori, cat memes, herbalism, and religious kitsch.

Duotang • Dec 9

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DUOTANG
Friday December 9, 2016 • Doors 8:00pm, show 10:30pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $12 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Duotang is Rod Slaughter on bass/vox and Sean Allum on drums. Pure and simple. Formed in the summer of 1995, this 2-piece powerhouse’s brand of upbeat mod-rock and post-punk quickly carved out an impressive notch in the Canadian indie music scene. In March of 96’ (just one short year later) Duotang signed to famed Vancouver independent record label (and good buds) Mint Records. Over the next five years, Duotang released three critically acclaimed albums: Smash the Ships & Raise the Beams (1996), The Cons and the Pros (1998) and The Bright Side in 2001. All three topped the Canadian campus and community radio charts and allowed Duotang to tour extensively across Canada, the United States and Europe. They shared the stage across Canada with The English Beat, landed the cover of Exclaim! magazine and in 2002, won the Prairie Music Award for Best Video for “The Evidence Comes From All Directions”. In 2002. the duo decided to take a quick break from their 7 year whirlwind career – a break that somehow ended up lasting for 12 years.

In December 2014, at the request of Mint Records, they reunited for a wild anniversary show in Vancouver and followed it up with a sold-out hometown show in Winnipeg. With renewed vim, vigor and crop of new songs, the duo went on to play to capacity crowds at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Calgary’s Sled Island, NXNE and Edmonton’s UP&DT Festival. And now, filled with a renewed passion and 15 years of pent up artistic creativity, comes Duotang’s latest offering, New Occupation. Opening with a tongue-in-cheek ode to the reunion, “Nostalgia’s a Vice”, the 12-track album is the group’s best material to date. Other notable tracks include the sing-along “Karma Needs to Come Around”, the rocking “Bastard Five” and the mod-influenced “A Suitable Distraction”. Simple, honest and extremely charming, Duotang’s new album marks a dramatic return to form from this exceptional Canadian band.

Fortunate Ones • Dec 16

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FORTUNATE ONES
Friday December 16, 2016 • Doors 7:00pm, show 9:30pm
Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Tickets: $10 (+SC) advance, $15 at the door
>> Buy Tickets Here <<

Fortunate Ones is a Canadian pop-folk duo made up of singer/guitarist Andrew James O’Brien and singer/pianist/accordion player Catherine Allan – endearing audiences with wide-eyed energy, pragmatic optimism, and an earnest mission for connection. Andrew and Catherine grew up on opposite sides of the island of Newfoundland – Mount Pearl and Corner Brook respectively. It was in St. John’s where the pair met and began to sing together. One night in 2010, Andrew heard Catherine sing harmony with her brother at a private gathering in downtown St John’s. He had to sing with her. The next day he got up the nerve, left her a note, she acquiesced, and within 48 hours they were singing together on stage. While it was a road from that evening to the formation of Fortunate Ones in 2013, their beginnings are in keeping with one of the core messages they carry. That sometimes the most important decision you can make is to just say YES.

From a musical family, the Allan home was a constant eclectic flow of instruments, singing and the stereo. Catherine studied classical piano, taught herself guitar in secret, and discovered the accordion by chance when her brother brought one home over Christmas in 2011. Musical exploration was the norm. After moving to St. John’s, Catherine’s induction to the East Coast music scene was rapid – performing with Andrew, recording and touring extensively with JUNO award-winning songwriter Amelia Curran, and appearing at festivals with Curran and East Coast songwriter Don Brownrigg.

Andrew James O’Brien launched his music career with a well-received solo album Songs for Searchers (2011) – nominated for Best Pop Recording at the 2012 East Coast Music Awards. He toured heavily in Canada and the UK, opening for artists such as Sharon Shannon and Paul Brady. Catherine accompanied him. It was on a UK tour that they realized the direction their collaboration was taking. The appreciation shown by UK audiences bolstered the pair’s sense of purpose. Their music began to evolve to represent both of their sensibilities, skills and sounds.

“We put a name on something that was naturally occurring, and then we took steps to follow it up. We would share equal duties vocally, musically, and conversing with the audience. It wasn’t Andrew James O’Brien with Catherine Allan anymore – it was already Fortunate Ones.”

Plain and simple, they consider themselves fortunate to pursue their dreams. Their name reflects shared experience with audiences. It is about connecting people of all kinds, to make strangers friends, to elicit feelings of joy, hope, sadness, and contemplation – and the spirit that we are all in this together.

Echo Artist Talks: Jody Joseph • Nov 17

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ECHO ARTIST TALKS: JODY JOSEPH
Thu Nov 17, 2016 / 7:00pm doors, 7:30pm talk / Free

Chicago-born, Dundas-based painter-collagist Jody Joseph talks about her paintings and collages rooted in the quarter-century she has spent as an student, painter, teacher & resident of  Montecastello di Vibio, a small hill town in Umbria, Italy. The works form the exhibition Montecastello a Memoria, running Nov 18-Dec 18 at Gallery on the Bay.  

Echo Artist Talks is a project of the Hamilton Arts Council’s Visual Arts Committee that provides a forum for both local and visiting artists exhibiting in Hamilton galleries to share their experiences with the local community. Hosted monthly at Mills Hardware, each talk includes a Q&A session and opportunity for informal networking before and after the talk, with a cash bar available. Doors open at 7pm in advance of the start of the artist’s talk at 7:30pm.

The next Echo Artist Talk, featuring sculptor Paul Cvetich, will take place Thursday January 19, presented by the McMaster Museum of Art.

Destroyer (solo) w/Andre Ethier • Nov 10

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DESTROYER (solo) w/ANDRE ETHIER
Thursday November 10, 2016 • Mills Hardware (95 King St. E., Hamilton)
Doors 7:00pm, show 8:30pm 

Tickets: $20.00 (+SC) advance, $25 at the door

Destroyer‘s previous full-length saw Dan Bejar alluding to David Sylvian, New Order, ’80s Miles Davis, Roxy Music’s Avalon, and Bryan Ferry’s Boys and Girls; constructing lyrics from cue cards sent to him by African-American visual artist Kara Walker; and eulogizing the pallid ghosts of the UK music press (“Sounds, Smash Hits, Melody Maker, NME / All sound like a dream to me”). Said album, Kaputt, proved to be both a Billboard chart commercial breakthrough and universally garlanded critical touchstone, ascending to second place on Pitchfork’s Best of 2011 list (actually topping it would have been gauche).

By contrast, Poison Season opens with the Vancouver native swathed in Hunky Dory strings. He’s a dashboard Bowie surveying four wracked characters–Jesus, Jacob, Judy, Jack–simultaneously Biblical and musical theatre. This bittersweet, Times Square-set fanfare is reprised twice more on the record–first as swaying, saxophone-stoked “street-rock” and then finally as a curtain-closing reverie.

“The first and last songs are actually one song tracked live with quintet,” explains their author. “I even sang with the band. That song always swung between super austere and super mid-’70s Springsteen/Bowie street-rock. In the end, I decided I wanted both. Couldn’t really figure out a way to sequence the orchestral version within the record, so I decided to carve it up as a book-ending motif, with the rock version squarely in the middle.”

Broadway Danny Bejar dramatically switches scenes with “Dream Lover,” all Style Council strut and brassy, radio-ready bombast (echoes of The Boo Radleys’ evergreen earworm “Wake Up Boo!”). This being Destroyer, its paramours-on-the-run exuberance is judiciously spiked by his deadpan delivery: “Oh shit, here comes the sun”

“Forces From Above” applies ABC’s deathless Lexicon of Love to theological imagery, its romantic-agnostic narrator driven up metaphorical cathedral steps by maximalist chamber funk. Rapture gives way to deftly orchestrated self-loathing on the appositely titled “Hell,” a plaintive MIDI tuba solo heralding such quixotic observations as: “Every murderer voted out of office is sold down the river / Every time I try to look into your eyes an angel flies by.”

“The River” muses on gentrification–”She despises the direction the city’s been going in”–an urge to take flight alternately wreathed in flute/viola pleasantries and scarred by barbed-wire guitar. The horn-blasted, percussion-rattling “Midnight Meet the Rain” is similarly disillusioned (“I visit the symphony and I smell a rat”), its acidic wit amplified by the 12-member Destroyer ensemble’s virtuoso R&B interplay. They’re his Young Canadians, if you will, a group that absolutely slays onstage.

“I like this record if only cause everything that’s not a string section, saxophone, flute, or electro-acoustic drone was recorded all at the same time,” says their leader. “Generally in three takes. Not even [his cult 2001 opus] Streethawk came close to this as far as an actual band vibe goes.”

Like the other DB, Mr. Bejar has long displayed a chameleonic instinct for change while maintaining a unified aesthetic (rather than just pinballing between reference points). No two records sound the same, but they’re always uniquely Destroyer. His latest incarnation often appears to take sonic cues from a distinctly British (usually Scottish, to be precise) strain of sophisti-pop: you might hear traces of Aztec Camera, Prefab Sprout, Orange Juice, or The Blow Monkeys. These songs merge a casual literary brilliance with intense melodic verve, nimble arrangements, and a certain blue-eyed soul sadness.

Playfully rueful, “Sun in the Sky” foregrounds cryptic lyrical dexterity over pop-classicist strum before gradually left-fielding into rhythmically supple, delirious avant-squall. It’s as if Talk Talk took over a Lloyd Cole show. Originally released on a collaborative EP with electronic maestros Tim Hecker and Loscil (the latter’s drones are retained here), a retooled “Archer on the Beach” suggests Sade swimming in The Blue Nile, smooth-jazz marimba melancholy dilated by ecstatic ambience. Flecked in heady dissonance, elusively alluring, Dan hymns its eponymous “impossible raver on your death bed” while implicitly beckoning the listener: “Careful now, watch your step, in you go.”

That’s Poison Season in essence: familiar yet mysterious, opaquely accessible. Arch, for sure, but ultimately elevatory.

Andre Ethier comes from another time, a time where simplicity in music-making was favoured over the new tradition of loops and layers and editing, Andre Ethier was born 40 years too late.

Andre has been roaming the streets of Toronto for the past decade as a visual artist, waiter and musician. For over ten years Andre has released a bunch of records as the frontman of the critically acclaimed Toronto garage rock outfit The Deadly Snakes. In 2004 Andre took a step a step away from the rock and recorded his first solo record “Andre Ethier with Christopher Sandes featuring Pickles and Price” (Sonic Unyon) recorded over a weekend where first takes were preferred. They just set up, played, drank, mixed and split. Andre’s been compared to seasoned and revered musicians such as Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and Van Morrison.

After recording the latest Deadly Snakes album “Porcella” Andre is geared up to go it alone once again with the help of Paper Bag Records. Andre will also be enlisting the help of trusted companion Christopher Sandes, Andre’s mood has drifted in to the realm of being completely in love, and promises that the next record will be a love record, yet still raw and spontaneous, cause that’s how Andre lives his life. Until then, he’ll be hitting the road with the Deadly Snakes, he’ll be hitting the road by himself, he’ll be building a house, he’ll be recording a record, he’ll be in love and we’ll all just be waiting.