The Casbah 306 King Street West
Time for the exciting conclusion of the Farewell to Casbah Lounge. The Casbah said goodbye to its smaller Lounge space by booking three secret bands to play the final three shows. To recap: Night One was the stellar surprise of Arkells and Night Two raged with the attack of The Dirty Nil.
In the days leading up to the final shows, Casbah regulars were sharing some of their favourite memories on Twitter using the hashtag #loungememories. I’ve been frequenting the Casbah Lounge long before the advent of I Heart Hamilton, and one of my favourite memories is Hollerado’s “residency tour” in February 2009, when they played “seven bars in seven cities seven days a week,” and that’s still one of the most creative tours I’ve ever seen. Of course, Hollerado would go on to blow up and pack the main room of The Casbah just a few years later.
Some of my memories of the Lounge since I Heart Hamilton include celebrating two of my birthdays there – what I called my Silver Jubilee in 2012 where I was serenaded by Kirby, Max Wray, Gavin Slate, and Trevor Howard, and I Heart Hamilton’s food bank fundraiser show the following year featuring Kirby, Dawn and Marra, Quails in the Nest, Redanda, and The Great Machine.
It wasn’t too much of a surprise that the final secret band was Young Rival but that didn’t make me any less excited once my hunch was confirmed! Of course we know frontman Aron D’Alesio as part of The Casbah’s hip staff, but the band are a staple to the venue, having hosted their annual Boxing Day Bash at the venue for the past 10 years, in addition numerous shows over their time as a band.
I hit the last two Boxing Day shindigs, and the first time I ever saw Young Rival was at The Casbah (I’m glad that was documented on IHH!). I also have great memories of their album release there for Stay Young.
Young Rival made their way to the stage and it was such a treat to get to be front row with Steph, Roslyn, Luisa, and a few other friends. The band launched into their set with some new tunes which were exciting to hear. Young Rival have been working with Michael Keire (which I’m really excited about!) and have a new EP called Elevator on the way. For a sneak peek, check out Dylan Hudecki’s footage of the title track “Elevator” taken from their set. Of course, they played classic older tunes as well which got the packed room boppin’.
Check out a video clip I took from their set.
When the show was over, people headed upstairs to continue the celebrations with an after party in the main room. As everyone cleared out of the Lounge, I took a minute to take it all in one more time – the movie screen, disco ball, Gord Bond’s paintings, mannequins above the bar, and chalkboard signs… I’m really going to miss this space!
I can’t think of a better band to see at Casbah Lounge for the last time. You can catch Young Rival in town next on March 21st at HAVN, part of a string of dates in Ontario and Quebec.
And, of course, keep an eye on The Casbah for big changes to come in the coming months!
The photos taken on disposable camera are by Steph Dubik @stephdubik