The Baltimore House 43 King William Street
This was another one for the books! It was a wonderful lineup that I was proud to have as I Heart Hamilton show: Dark Mean, Quails in the Nest, The Human Orchestra, and DJ sets by Andy Inglis. It’s a sign of a good show when I almost forget it’s an I Heart Hamilton show and I’m just so excited to see it!
I felt like I knew Dark Mean already, but this was the first time we actually met. The last time I saw them, which was also my introduction to the band, was at Threshold Studio during producer Michael Keire’s St. Patrick’s Day party in 2012. (Reading that back, it’s still one of my favourite posts – hard to believe it’s two years ago now.)
This was Dark Mean’s first show since then and I was so happy they could be part of this night. It was timed perfectly with the release of their new EP Samuel the Phoenix. It was great to see their good friend and producer Michael Keire among the audience which was filled with supporters of the band who were eager to catch their set.
During sound check, I heard the gentle plucking of a familiar banjo line and was particularly excited to hear “Happy Banjo”. Grabbing a front row spot, I peeked down at the set list on the ground in anticipation. Their set list was just perfect – they played all four songs off the new EP and classic songs off that self-titled album. Hearing “Lullaby” gave me goosebumps, like it did the first time I heard it live, acoustically at Threshold.
Mark Dean gave me a shout out from the stage for, as he put it, “Tweeting like a madwoman” about this show. I’m really so thankful the timing worked out to have Dark Mean on this bill. They’re a special band and play with so much heart – it comes through in their music and they are wonderful people as well. Check out footage from their set: “Samuel the Phoenix” and “Happy Banjo.”
Well I was emotionally spent already – that was an incredible moment we all just witnessed, and it was only the first act! DJ Andy kept the good vibes going in between sets. Andy is one of my favourite DJs in the city – he always has the best selections for any given night. The vibe of the night was laid-back and social. Looking around, it didn’t even feel like a show at times. Everyone was just mingling about and enjoying the music.
My pals Quails in the Nest were up next. It’s always a pleasure to see Mikey and Nicholas perform. I love their laid-back vibe and they play with such ease. Usually I’m all about the front row, but I didn’t even get the chance this time because multiple rows filled in with fans and friends, packed tight, ready for Quails. They were an enthusiastic bunch! Earlier that day, Mikey was a guest on my show at CFMU and treated us to a song live in studio.
I hadn’t seen The Human Orchestra live for a while, and in that time, their lineup had switched up a bit. They just keep growing! JB and Emma caught me up to speed about the changes when they were my guests in studio at CFMU the week before. Seeing them play, they make me want to brush up on my trumpet skills and hop up on stage. Check out a clip from their set.
As a fitting tie from Dark Mean to THO, the band have also been working with Michael Keire on new material. The new tunes sounded awesome. It’s a cool experience to witness that many musicians working together – they truly are an orchestra. They had the audience bopping along and, aside for one fan who, let’s just say, hit the drinks a little too hard and caused a bit of a ruckus, all went smoothly. It was such a fun set to end the night before DJ Andy kept us dancing ’til the end.
Huge thanks again to Grant Winestock, Jimmy Skembaris, and Katrine Winestock for all the support with these shows. It’s a pleasure to work with The Baltimore House.
And thank you to everyone who has supported any I Heart Hamilton show so far! Next, I’m cooking up I Heart Hamilton’s third annual Playlist fundraiser bash… stay tuned!