Tami Neilson • Nov 23

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TAMI NEILSON
Friday November 23, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $14.99 (+SC) advance, $18 door • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

“There are singers, and then there is Tami Neilson, for whom the word singer just isn’t big enough.” -HMV

“A great big canyon of a voice..” -DOWNBEAT

SASSAFRASS! is a party in full swing, shaking its ass and shimmying across the dance floor in gold tassels, rhinestones and a 1960s hairdo, not giving a hot damn who is watching. Tami Neilson is throwing the party, her powerhouse vocals driving it along with lung capacity like a steam locomotive. When confronted with sexism and misogyny, she throws her head back and laughs, responding with tongue planted firmly in cheek, cutting it off at the knees.

“As I wrote this album, I noticed a theme emerging. It was like the combination of becoming a parent, losing a parent and clocking another decade all suddenly culminated into a very low tolerance for bullsh*t. I had never been one for confrontation or rocking the boat (or saying “bullsh*t”in an interview), but losing my father changed my life perspective, driving home the realization that our time here on earth is not forever. I also see my boys growing into young men and the realization that I am the first and most formative female influence they will have in their lives — that the way I treat people and allow myself to be treated is molding the way they view women on a daily basis — is a huge responsibility. By being a mother who works and travels and provides for them along with their father, who takes equal responsibility for their care, it becomes the norm that they too will be caring, loving and supportive parents and partners, who take equal responsibility in their relationships.  Apart from the typical pitfalls of sexism in the music industry (being told I was “only 20lbs away from being a star” when I was 19 yrs old and 120lbs with the waist circumference currently equal to one of my thighs), which you tend to brush off as being part of this business, I was taken aback at how greatly it was exacerbated once I became a mother. The double standard our society has toward working mothers is still very much alive and well, deeply ingrained in both men and women, and is one of the things I address on the album. The third verse in “Stay Outta My Business” is a true story. I had a full year of people (mostly women) coming up to me after my shows on tour, shaking their heads and commenting on my being away from my children, asking who was looking after them in my absence, eyes wide with horror. A man once asked me why my husband had to stay home and “babysit” while I was out on tour, having FUN. I gritted my teeth and said, “He’s their father… I believe the term you’re looking for is ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting’.” Not once did anyone approach the two male musicians in my band, who I introduced as being a “Father of four” and a “Father of three” and question their parenting. SASSAFRASS! is the mouthy lovechild of the current social climate and my own experiences as a woman, mother and daughter. The obstacles I’ve faced simply because I am female. It’s also my attempt at challenging a society that doesn’t yet treat women equally in order to shape a better future for my children. I want them to know that their mother marched and was on the battlefield in 2018, that she did her part and created something she hoped would give women the solidarity and strength we all needed to invoke change.”

Recorded at The Sitting Room in Lyttelton, New Zealand, SASSAFRASS! was co-produced by Tami Neilson and Ben Edwards, who also co-produced her last two critically acclaimed albums “Dynamite!” and “Don’t Be Afraid”. She’s accompanied by her Hot Rockin’ Band of Rhythm: Joe McCallum (drums), Mike Hall (bass), Brett Adams (guitar) and Neil Watson (guitar and pedal steel) who have joined her on her extensive international touring schedule the past 3 years. For the first time, this tight unit is joined by a brass section, expanding Tami’s sound and making this album a broader soundscape, while strings add a lush, cinematic touch. Like a soundtrack curated for a Tarantino film, Neilson manages to deliver subversive lyrics wrapped up in vibrant candy-colored packages of soul, rockabilly, blues and Patsy Cline-esque country in equal measure.

The Once w/Megan Bonnell • Nov 21

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THE ONCE with MEGAN BONNELL
Wednesday November 21, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $24.99 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<
Newfoundland has a storied history of stunning songwriters, poets and players. Over the course of the last decade, The Once have writ and knit themselves into that story. Within the nine songs on their new album Time Enough, The Once offer some of the most vulnerable and honest material of their career. The up-tempo album opener, “I Can’t Live Without You,” reflects on women battling with self-image issues and offers wisened words to be the positive change in their own lives. The gritty guitar driven “Before The Fall” succumbs to the notion that we must accept our past and use those memories to grow. Riff rocker “Any Other Way” reflects the fact that true love accepts us at our worst but insists we do the work to be our best selves to keep it together. On this, their fourth studio album, the band stays true to the root strength of their harmony-driven sound, while extending the borders into fresh yet familiar territory. They craft a sonically understated, but emotionally fulsome sound that accomplishes what they’ve always done so well: stun listeners with what Amelia Curran calls “perfect vocal harmonies, thick enough to stand on.” “We approached Time Enough with an open heart and on open mind. We composed apart and came together to Once-up the new material,” says lead singer Geraldine Hollett of the band’s writing process. “We are pretty tough customers so it was scary bringing so much guts to the table, but over the years we have earned and accepted one another’s trust. This album is special because of it.” The story of The Once is one of growth, propelled by the rare chemistry that comes from a decade of writing and touring together. Their songs have been placed in international film and television, they have YouTube videos with millions of hits, and there’s a trail of trophy nominations and wins from the East Coast Music Awards, the Canadian Folk Awards, and the JUNO Awards in their wake. Since first hitting the road in 2009, The Once has earned one of the most loyal followings in the country. Ask their fans why they love the band and watch their eyes widen as the words flow. It becomes clear that The Once ain’t regular folk. They’ve built something unique within their genre, and something rare within the fan base that keeps them growing and going strong and they do not take that fan base for granted. “We give all we got to them because we know we can’t do what we want to do if they’re not with us,” says Hollett of those who have shown endless support for the group. It was this resonance with fans that launched their career and it is this deep relationship that continues to inspire the band to travel new paths, explore new territory, and create new music.
Geraldine Hollett’s voice is a large part of the band’s ethereal sound, and there is nowhere it would sit better than in between the rhythmic and supportive voices of Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale, and the lush soundscapes they build. The trio’s instrumentation and vocals meld together like gold, building something stronger together than any one songwriter could muster alone. Their harmonies grab you by the heart, and their music melts what’s left of it. Building on the wave of creative energy that defined their last album, Time Enough is a striking and subtle sea change for the band. Dive in, get lost, click repeat.
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Separate Rooms, the third full-length album from Toronto singer-songwriter Megan Bonnell, is the timely and bold statement of a self-assured woman navigating an increasingly dark and perplexing world. Bonnell has never been easily pigeon-holed into the predictable mold of the singer-songwriter and Separate Rooms embraces this edict, turning traditional musical genres on their heads. With her hallmark honesty, Bonnell effortlessly tackles such intense subject matter as mental illness, early pregnancy loss, and the dissolution of love. But, the new album is also a contradiction – it’s a lover’s appeal for space and independence and, at the same time, a desperate yearning for young and innocent love. Within its songs, Separate Rooms offers Bonnell’s raw account of some of life’s most profound moments. “Breakdown”, the upbeat album opener, embraces the blurred lines between sanity and insanity and challenges the sexist notion that emotional women are somehow unstable or crazy. “Separate Rooms”, the album’s title track and a co-write with Donovan Woods, is the mature realization that true love carries with it as much loneliness as it does companionship. Despite the personal nature of the album’s lyrics, the production of Separate Rooms was a largely collaborative process. Joining the production team of Chris Stringer and Joshua Van Tassel, Bonnell manages to meld anthemic pop appeal with the textured, layered nuances of ’70s new  wave, epic alt-rock ballads of the ’90s, and traditional folk craftsmanship. Megan Bonnell is quickly becoming one of Canada’s leading voices as a songwriter, performer, and artist. A two-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee, Megan has spent the last three years touring Canada, the US, and making groundbreaking debut performances at European festivals including BIME Live Festival in Bilbao, the Barcelona Jazz Festival, and The End Festival in London.

 

Graham Van Pelt w/TTWWRRSS • Nov 16

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GRAHAM VAN PELT with TTWWRRSS
Friday November 16, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $11.99 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

“I’d like to be as un-mysterious as I possibly can,” Graham Van Pelt says. He’s about to release Time Travel, his first record in the four years since he moved from Montreal to Toronto, and he’s no longer Miracle Fortress, or Inside Touch, or any of the aliases he’s used to record over the years. He’s just Graham Van Pelt. With the perspective of leaving a longtime home, of watching old friends change and familiar places become unrecognizable, came a recommitment to an emotional honesty in Van Pelt’s songwriting. Time Travel’s eight songs are a tangle of friendships and feelings. Moving backwards and forwards in time, they occupy a space of elegant melancholy. Immersing himself in the work of house music legends like Larry Heard, Vincent Floyd and Maurizio and the fragile disco of Arthur Russell, along with contemporaries like Jessy Lanza and Kelly Lee Owens, Van Pelt built the album from the bottom up, rooting every track in the crude sequencer of the Roland SH-101 synth, a decades-old dance music totem. The result are melodies that are simple but affecting, anchored to deep, wandering basslines. Time Travels was engineered by twin brothers Mark and Matt Thibideau, whose techno roots deepened the grooves throughout the record. There’s a comfort to operating in the world of dance music, which is, in Van Pelt’s words, more of a “team sport” than the competitive atmosphere of indie rock. “I feel like one person participating in a community,” he says, “and less of a person trying to rise above.” The album is also Van Pelt’s first release on Arbutus, which he describes as his “dream outcome” for the record. “Their catalog intersects at a place that feels like home to me,” he says. “Music for late night, atmospheric music, really honest and unvarnished truthful stuff that never compromises.” Time Travel is a renewal of Van Pelt’s vows with dance music, and with the genre’s pulse of synthesized melancholy. It’s a heartrending rush, as emotionally direct as a sweaty, jaw-clenching 3am hug. -Mark Slutsky

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Sean Thompson, aka ttwwrrss (pronounced “towers”), produces the type of experimental electronic and industrial beats that belong in a world on the brink of armageddon.  Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and raised in the post-industrial steeltown of Hamilton, Thompson achieved Canadian college radio success with his last two albums, ttwwrrss_2 and ttwwrrss_3.  Thompson’s latest single, “No Emotion”, weaves a cryptic sonic narrative through syncopated percussive patterns in a careful exploration of electronic synth landscapes. Simultaneously ominous and hypnotic, the track hits the sweet spot for fans of melodic intelligent dance music.

Jesse Roper w/Jesse James Medicine Show • Nov 14

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JESSE ROPER with JESSE JAMES MEDICINE SHOW
Wednesday November 14, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $14.99 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<
Victoria BC’s Jesse Roper is magnetic. With an explosive live show, the genuine quality and charisma of his versatile blues rooted soul, rock and country funk is as approachable as his charm. Quickly gaining momentum, the wheels on Jesse’s faithful van keep turning, chronicling a year of extensive touring and success of becoming a major festival draw.  The nostalgic may appreciate his throw back vibe akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan and vintage Texas blues, however, Jesse Roper’s music remains current, the organic rawness of his vocals and guitar over shadowing any preconceived stereotypes made of blues musicians. His youthful energy captivates audiences while his knock out live performance blows them away. With a critically acclaimed full length album (Son of John) under his belt, Jesse Roper is releasing his highly anticipated sophomore, Red Bird, early 2015 with Blue Heron/Warner. Without losing the sentimental and vintage authenticity of blues, the new album is blazing its own path in the music scene not unlike modern yet retro influenced musicians such as the Black Keys and Jack White. Starting the guitar at six years old, Jesse soon mastered songs of heroes like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin by ear. Battling with stage fright, he was thrown out onto the stage with sweaty palms and a queasy stomach which was quickly overshadowed by the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction. Incapable of holding back, Jesse always delivers the show of his life whether it be headlining at major festivals in front of thousands of fans such as Sunfest, Rifflandia and Rock the Shores, or touring across the country during his residency as a CN rail musician. Jesse has shared the stage with many great artists, awards have been won, but his musical existence is more than that; it is purely about performing, touring and loving it until the day he joins that great jam session in the sky.

Shad w/Mah Moud • Nov 10 [SOLD OUT]

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SHAD with MAH MOUD
Saturday November 10, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $20 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> SOLD OUT! <<

Shad is a Canadian rapper with four solo albums under his belt, one R&B side projects, a Master’s degree and numerous accolades. He is touring in support of his highly anticipated concept album entitled A Short Story About a War (Secret City Records).  The album tells the story of a fictional world consumed by war, with various factions and philosophies clashing, and in the middle of it all, one character who doesn’t believe in the power of bullets. The poetic storytelling weaves its way through themes of migration, environment, economics, politics, and most critically, the deepest parts of our spirit. This music was created in collaboration with dozens of musicians and engineers: From genre-less luminaries like Kaytranada, 2oolman of A Tribe Called Red, and Lido Pimienta, to crafty indie rockers Yukon Blonde, and Toronto rap vets Ian Kamau, Eternia, and DJ T Lo. Their contributions bring multiple textures and colours to the singular vision Shad created. In the end, this serious record is a joy to listen to, full as it is of pop craftsmanship that doesn’t turn a blind eye to human nature.  In addition to three of his records being nominated on the Short List of the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, TSOL won the 2011 Rap Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards. Since then, Shad has elevated his practice by emerging as a vital broadcaster. After hosting CBC Radio’s q, he went on to host the Hip-Hop Evolution docuseries, whose 2016 season on HBO Canada earned both a Peabody Award and an International Emmy Award.

Run Maggie Run w/Averages & Family Of Things • Nov 9

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RUN MAGGIE RUN with AVERAGES and FAMILY OF THINGS
Friday November 9, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $9.99 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

Formed in late 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario, Run Maggie Run began as a small solo project for singer/rhythm guitarist Gavin Rees. Named for a bittersweet childhood memory, that nostalgic, rose-tinted sadness was abundantly clear in the first solo EP Rees recorded by himself in his basement, prior to the forming of the band. While the emotional feel of Run Maggie Run was all there in the initial recording, it wasn’t until Rees joined with several like-minded friends that the sound that would come to define RMR began to take shape. Musically formed from a unique medley of influences, ranging from folk to prog-metal, and lyrically influenced by old folk legends, the result is powerful music that sticks with you long after the final notes fade.

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Averages is a femme-fronted Soda Pop Rock outfit from London, Ontario dispensing infectious melodies that’ll stick to your brain like the gum on your shoes. Happy-go-lucky tunes with a nice, sharp edge.

Family of Things is an indie rock band based out of Hamilton, Ontario, whose music is a reflection of a passion to create and share quality music —energetic rhythms mixed with dynamic lines.

The Kents w/Sam Holladay • Nov 8

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Thursday November 8, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $13 (+SC) adv., $18 door • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

The Kents are an emerging force on the Canadian musical landscape that call on anthemic intimacy.  Hailing from Lindsay, Ontario, the four-piece indie rock band explore many of the existential crises one experiences when they’re young on their sophomore EP Within Waves. Says lead singer Warren Frank of the new release, “it’s like those classic coming-of-age Breakfast Club-type films.” Awkwardly dissolving romances, the impact of family, and tests of personal faith are just some of the topics tackled on the Within Waves’ five songs. It’s thoughtful, meaningful music from a band whose songs fit comfortably on a playlist next to the likes of Foals, My Morning Jacket and Broken Social Scene, and who could share a stage with those acts just as easily In 2016, The Kents independently released their debut Waking EP, which encapsulates lyrical explorations of family, loss and separation from the comfort of adolescence with a hook-hungry, pop filter that controls the chaos. They have been featured on the Apple Music’s 2016 Rising Stars, Spotify’s Best of 2016 Viral Hits, Hockey Night in Canada, MLB’s World Series, 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, Canada’s Walk Of Fame Emerging Artist and earned radio support from CBC including George Stroumboulopoulos and various other regional and national platforms. They’ve shared the stage for sold-out shows with Sloan, The Sheepdogs, ​The Trews, The Strumbellas, The Elwins, The Fast Romantics and Hollerado. With new music to unveil to the world, the band hits the road with a renewed sense of purpose. Within Waves was released on October 132017 and they have since surpassed 2.5-million Spotify streams. 

Sam Holladay is an independent band that blends math, alternative, and folk genres to develop a distinct sound.

Audio Book w/Charles Spearin & Tamara Williamson • Nov 3

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AUDIO BOOK with CHARLES SPEARIN and TAMARA WILLIAMSON
Saturday November 3, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $19.99 (+SC) adv., $25 door • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

Both Charles Spearin and Tamara Williamson have had active and influential musical careers in Canada since the ’90s, profoundly shaping the landscape of Toronto’s music scene. For Audio Book, each will be sharing new works, ideas, and music in an intimate live performance.

Blending instrumental music and spoken word into a moving, experimental, and thoughtful style, Charles Spearin’s work discovers and plays with the musicality of everyday life. His artistic approach borrows from his Buddhist practice to find beauty and resonance in the commonplace. For Audio Book, audiences will also hear Spearin play the nickelharpa, a traditional Swedish string instrument that combines the fiddle and the hurdy-gurdy. His stunning performance and unique approach will make the hairs on your arms stand on end. Spearin is a multi-instrumentalist is primarily known as a founding member of the instrumental post-rock ensemble Do Make Say Think and an original member of the indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene. His most recent work – and first solo album – innocently titled “The Happiness Project” centers around recorded conversations with his downtown neighbours and plays with the cadence of their voices as though they were songs.

Tamara Williamson’s gentle yet commanding vocal style moves with unexpected grace, often covering subject matter that is personal, evocative, and humorous all at once. Williamson’s performance will include readings from one of her books, infused with live dramatic songs played by her band Mrs. Torrance that showcase her incredible talent for storytelling and musical performance. Martin Tielli (of Rheostatics) describes Williamson as: “Someone who can take a room and transpose it onto another plane, a voice without restrictions.” Well known for being a member of the band Mrs. Torrance before embarking on a solo career in 2000, Williamson has been featured on Much Music and The New Music Show, voted fourth best concert of the year in 2003 (ahead of Greenday and behind Bjork), fronted the trip hop band Microbunny (which won the CBC new search in 2002), signed to a French label and played shows across Europe and North America. She is currently a member of the ukulele project CROW with Patty Ewaschuk. For Audio Book,  Williamson will be joined by the other members the band Mrs. Torrance, who will be playing together again with new material. Also joining will be Sarah Fazackerley, a blues/rock singer based out of the GTA.

Cadence Weapon w/Fat Tony, Hua Li & Motëm • Nov 2

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CADENCE WEAPON with FAT TONY, HUA LI and MOTËM
Friday November 2, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $15 (+SC) advance • 19+
>> BUY TICKETS HERE <<

Called Canada’s “most creative” rapper by the National Post, Cadence Weapon has consistently exhibited a passion to take rap into new and unexpected directions. Born in Edmonton, Roland “Rollie” Pemberton had an upbringing uniquely suited to becoming a rapper. His father Teddy, a Brooklyn native, was the DJ that introduced hip-hop to Edmonton with his pioneering radio show The Black Experience in Sound on CJSR 88.5 FM. After spending his childhood immersed in his father’s diverse archive of music, Rollie started rapping at age 13. Soon, he was entering freestyle battles, rocking shows with his uncle’s funk band and teaching himself how to make beats. Rollie released his self-produced debut album Breaking Kayfabe in December 2005 at the age of 19. The album was met with international critical acclaim, and Cadence performed shows around the continent with artists such as Diplo, Mos Def, De La Soul and Raekwon. It was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Prize. His 2008 sophomore album Afterparty Babies (Anti-/Big Dada Records), brought his music to an even wider audience. In 2009, Rollie Pemberton was appointed Poet Laureate of Edmonton, making him the literary ambassador of his home city for two years, during which he was invited to read poetry for an event at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He followed up this literary stint with 2012’s Hope In Dirt City, his second album to be shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. Now based in Toronto, Cadence is back with a new self-titled album that expands his stylistic range by incorporating elements of trap, funk, electro, techno and grime. Featuring guest appearances by Blue Hawaii and Deradoorian and production by KAYTRANADA, Jacques Greene, FrancisGotHeat, Harrison, Dubbel Dutch and more, this record finds Cadence refining his songwriting as he explores themes of individuality, race, technology and existentialism through his expressive lyrics.

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Fat Tony (born Anthony Lawson Jude Ifeanyichukwu Obiawunaotu) is a Nigerian-American rapper who has played an integral role in shaping the Houston rap scene. “…the man from Houston’s Third Ward has grown into a reliably funny, incisive, trend-dodging alt-rapper.” – Pitchfork

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Multifaceted Montreal artist Peggy Hogan makes hip-hop music under the moniker Hua Li 化力. Hua Li was born out of of cosmic forces of Benetton Mob, the united colors squad which oversees bad bitch behaviour in select Montreal neighbourhoods.

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“The artist is Motëm – also known as Slow Hand Motëm and GBZ, among other pseudonyms. As for his music, it sounds like… well, perhaps we can’t answer that either, except to say that it sounds like Motëm. No one else sounds the same. Motëm, né Gregg Eberhard, is one of Hamilton’s most progressive, unusual, driven, respected, well-liked and honest musicians. He’s so true to his vision that most people, at first exposure, don’t know what to make of him.” – Hamilton Magazine

Upcoming Events

CLICK DATES TO PURCHASE TICKETS

DEC

THU DEC 6 The O’Pears w/Twin Within $12 (+SC) adv., $15 door| 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

THU DEC 13 Basement Revolver w/Lost Cousins $15 (+SC) adv | 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

SAT DEC 15 Bernice w/Carmen $12 (+SC) adv | 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

SAT DEC 22 25th Annual Sonic Unyon Holiday Bash ft. Tristan Psionic, Night Court & Special Friends TBA $15 (+SC) adv., 420 door | 6pm doors, 7pm show | 19+

FEB

FRI FEB 8 Yamantaka//Sonic Titan w/Pucumber $15 (+SC) adv., $18 door | 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

SAT FEB 16 The Be Sharps w/Gareth Inkster $10 (+SC) adv.| 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

THU FEB 21 Reuben and the Dark $18 (+SC) adv | 7pm doors, 8pm show | 19+

THU FEB 28 Wild Rivers $15 (+SC) adv | 6pm doors, 7pm show | 19+

 

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