Corktown Pub 175 Young Street
This was the first solo tour stop by any of us, and it ended up being a very eventful night! After still feeling tuckered out and a little loopy from our car wash during the day, I cleaned up and set out downtown to check out a show at Corktown Pub. I had been there before and always liked it; it has a friendly, local pub vibe about it and I’ve seen all types of live music there, from acoustic singer-songwriters to aggressive bands. Even with its quaint Irish pub setting, it caters to all kinds.
Tonight’s show on the main stage (there is a second performance space upstairs) was one of the “Full Out Friday” or “Full Out Saturday” concerts, sponsored by Lou’s Music & Soundcheck Rehearsal Studios, which pop up every few months at Corktown. With over 200 people in attendance, these events keep getting bigger. Jose Batista does an excellent job booking the shows as well as acting as the lighting tech. Lou Furlanetto himself was at the helm behind the mixing board doing the sound. If you are in a band and are interested in partaking in a future “Full Out Friday” concert, contact Jose at: email@example.com. Tonight’s lineup featured bands Pale Whale, Anyone For A Hold-Up, Speaking Braille, and Until We Fall. With a huge sound system, colourful lighting, and a smoke machine, the Corktown was ready to rock.
First on the bill was Hamilton-based band Pale Whale. Now, describing music is not my forte at all, so I recommend checking out all of the bands on their sites and at upcoming shows to hear for yourself. The highlight of their set for me was when one of their slower tempo songs inspired some spontaneous slow dancing from several audience members. I took a sip of my drink and when I turned to face the stage again, there were at least half a dozen couples dancing away. That was quite the sight – the patrons at Corktown were a fun bunch!
Next onstage was Anyone For A Hold-Up. I’ll declare my bias upfront – this is the band I came to see. When I found out my good friend Chris was playing his first show with the band, I just couldn’t miss it, and I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make Corktown an official tour stop. The band has been around for about two years and this was the first show with Chris onboard, taking on bass and piano. The lineup, rounded out by drummer Brad, guitarist Phil, and singer Cam, looked like a great fit; their onstage dynamic made it seem like they had been playing together for long time. Having only heard samplings of their music and being intrigued by the unique band name, I did not know what to expect. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for me to become a fan. Their set opened up right away with a piano solo, which was a refreshing sound to hear, particularly with a heavier-sounding band. They rocked out with so much energy throughout the entire set, and at one point they slowed things down with one song that was just acoustic, with Cam and Chris on vocals and piano, respectively. It really showed that they have a clear vision for what they’re about as a band. I chatted afterwards with Cam and Phil, who are Hamilton natives, telling them about our tour of the city. Anyone For A Hold-Up is a band to watch out for.
The show ran swiftly and on time, with each band playing about a 45-minute set. Speaking Braille was on third. Ok, so, I dropped the tourist ball on this one, and wasn’t fully taking in their set as I started to mingle around a bit. However, it was great to see the crowd getting bigger with each band that played. Throughout whole night, so many people were rocking out and wanting to get up close to the stage. You know that awkwardness at a show, when people don’t come up to the stage, no one wanting to make the first move? That didn’t happen here. The audience didn’t hesitate for a second to get up into the action and they really supported all of the bands. It’s that kind of laid back, friendly vibe that Corktown has.
All of that energy led up to Until We Fall, who finished off the night. They’re mainly a cover band, playing everything from The Tragically Hip to Queens of the Stone Age. Once again, the crowd was loving it and the band was very interactive.
In the midst of the last couple of bands, who happened to walk through the door, but my friend and man-about-town, Max Wray! There is a running joke about the amount of appearances Max makes on our blog. After reporting back to the girls about my yet another run-in with Max, we concluded that he is officially the “Where’s Waldo” of our Tour, since he keeps popping up at many of our tour stops. (Not that we’re complaining, of course.) Ever the gentleman, Max introduced me to the Corktown’s manager, Jesse Dore, who had heard of us Tour Girls and was very enthusiastic about what we’re doing, as he is a big advocate for Hamilton, himself. Through talking with Jesse, I found out that Corktown is Canada’s oldest Irish pub, which is an interesting fact to note, making it a very unique bar and live music venue to the city. As I noted, Corktown is very accommodating to all genres, and Jesse let me know about some regular events to check out, such as every Friday they host the East Coast Kitchen Party with the Liam McGlashon Kitchen Band, featuring ten-year-old fiddler phenomenon Liam McGlashon.
And there you have it – first solo mission, accomplished, and another live music venue checked off our list of fun places to go in Hamilton. If only the other girls were with me at the time, I’m sure we would have busted out some mean Irish accents, or at least had fun trying. That will have to wait until our next visit.