The Honeyrunners and TimeGiant

by PenRei

Thursday night, Nomes and I had the pleasure to rock out to two great independent bands at Toronto’s Rivoli venue. Good times were definitely had; so good in fact that we ended up staying until 1:15am. It was quite the feat considering that I had to be at work for 8:30am and Nomes had a dance class at 8am. But I admit, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!

I would like to start by explaining that this rock ‘n roll show was of, what I find in Toronto, to be a rare kind. Most independent music shows I’ve been to consist of the type of music where you sit or stand and just listen. Of course, there are a few exceptions (like The Balconies, which you should absolutely check out if you haven’t already), but there are few.

I will start with The Honeyrunners. This four piece rock band won my heart over the evening of Friday May 4th at the Hard Rock Cafe. First of all, the lead singer and keyboardist, Dan, came on stage barefoot. I immediately knew that this would be a good show. As soon as the first guitar riff happened, I knew what I was in for. The Honeyrunners are influenced by both American and British rock from the 70’s: an era of amazing music. Throughout their set, I could hear influences from great bands such as Boston, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Lynyrd Skynyrd… but successfully never sounding exactly like these previous big name bands. In short, The Honeyrunners know where their music is coming from while managing to build their own distinct sound. There wasn’t a single song that I found weak or didn’t enjoy, but they had a song based around the Faustian myth of Robert Johnson (unfortunately, I can’t recall the title, but it has the word “devil”) that was pure GOLD. I highly suggest checking them out when you have the chance. Here is a list of some of their upcoming shows in Toronto from the band’s website:

  • May 26th at the El Mocambo with Steve Lewin
  • June 23rd at Cherry Cola’s @ 9pm
  • June 30th at the Evergreen Brickworks from 10am to 1pm for FREE

On a more personal level, Nomes and I noticed that there is a condition spreading across spectators in Toronto. It’s called “not-dancing-because-I’m-a-judgmental-hipster-who-is-too-cool-to-be-judged-by-others”. For some odd reason, even when there is a great concert with danceable rock music, Torontonians just don’t dance anymore. When did dancing at a rock concert become uncool? At the beginning of the show, Nomes and I noticed that we were the only ones who were moving out booty. We had one of our telepathic short conversations wondering if we ended up looking like drunk idiots, or real fans of the music. We thus decided “this music is awesome and it makes me want to dance, so I’m going to dance and all you judgers be darned”. In case you haven’t noticed yet, Nomes and I aren’t afraid to make complete fools of ourselves. Luckily, we got to speak to Dan, the lead singer, at the very end of the night. He said that half of the music they wrote was so that people could dance to it and he was glad to know that there were at least two people that night rocking out. So the next time you go out to a concert and you feel a strange sensation in you to move it, listen and DO IT. Just keep it on a non-annoying-non-harassing level to the fellow spectators around you.

Here’s a YouTube clip with two of The Honeyrunners songs. Hope you enjoy!

Official website:

Now, onto TIMEGIANT! That’s right, they rocked so hard that I chose to write their name in all caps (actual spelling is TimeGiant). Their 50 minute set felt like an adrenaline-laced-gasoline-on-fire shot straight into my brain resulting in awesome overdrive! These musicians are rockers in the truest sense; I like to describe them as the type of guys who came out of the womb holding guitars and drumsticks.

Their heavy progressive rock was reminiscent of the 70’s rock music and Nomes I and found it impossible to stand still and just watch (although others further back looked like statues… how could you when THAT is on stage right in front of your face?!). Not only was the music good, but their sound was tight, polished, and well rehearsed. As I told Tyrone, the singer, guitarist, and saxophone player (that’s right, you read it clearly, saxophone in heavy rock = amazing!), it is so refreshing to hear in a day and age full of acoustic indie music that there are still bands that can go onstage, rock out, and really deliver a show. Long hair and mustaches have never been cooler!

Here’s a list of some of their upcoming concerts:

  • May 12th in Hamilton Ontario at The Underground @ 8pm
  • July 5th in Owen Sound Ontario at The Harb @8pm
  • July 6th in Toronto Ontario at The Horseshoe Tavern @8pm

Check out this video from their performance at the Rivoli from Thursday evening. (Review from T Mak World and original videos can be found here.)

Also, check out this acoustic version of their song Temple In the Sky.

Official website:

Now go forth legion of music lovers and ROCK ON!

Welcome back! Now what does a gal have to do get a coffee around here…?

Yesterday. First day back from Ottawa, on an excruciatingly early flight, which landed me in TO at 8:20, and it’s time to get cracking on last minute preparations for school the next day.  But first I must shower! So there’s that. Oh and reunite with my aunt first, chats, gift exchanges etc. Then there’s the unpacking to do. Call home to remind sister about a book and tell them I arrived safely. Ok. Done. Then I sit at my desk and crack open the laptop: a mistake! Then I get a text from my sister saying: “Sherlock’s back”….sooo it’s time to watch THAT delicious and brilliant BBC show. ACK! Now it’s 2pm and I have barely glanced at my play. THAT’S IT! This is a job for: Coffeeshooooooop! A (mostly) distractions free environment which lends itself just brilliantly to studies and work ethic. Never mind the potentially attractive clientele. Plus, there’s warm liquids to be had. 🙂 SO, off I go!

Fairly certain of where I want to sit for an hour or two, I head straight to my favourite coffeeshop in my neighbourhood but ALAS, it being January 2nd, and a holiday for all, it appears all of my hipster neighbours have convened at this exact location. CURSES!…cramped…dark… So OUT I go, foggy glasses and all (it is BLOODY cold right now in TO). Location 2 will do just fine for me. But ALAS! Location two is closed.. no… it’s actually COMPLETELY closed. Like forever. What? Sometime during my month away it failed to complete its mandate and was terminated. Poor Location2. So from too many, to not enough people I’m left with few options: if I keep on walking, there’s literally a Starbucks one block away… in each direction. But when I arrived at the first Starbucks, I looked inside the window to the only slightly less crowded ‘shop and… I just kept on walking. Something about Starbucks just doesn’t lend itself to studies, for some reason in my mind. So I keep going straight down the road to nowhere, (cause just doing a 180 on a crowded sidewalk will cause embarassment, see… so… keep walking there Nomes, keeeeeeeep walking. Fool them all into thinking you know what you’re doing…*ahem*) I met a whining dog, attached to a bike rack and next to him: a globe, so that was cool. Yep, that’s right, a little planet Earth being guarded by the saddest puppy ever. Bite-size TO sighting: love.

Anyway, somewhere between the next 3 blocks eastward and the following backtracking home (on the opposite side of the street of course! I am basically a spy. You should all know.), I got to thinking… Because Location1 was full and Location2 quite the opposite, could it be that Location2’s clientele just migrated? Thus causing the traffic jam at the pastry counter? It seemed strange to me, because Location1 is so very indie and Location2 is a nation-wide chain… so those two clienteles just wouldn’t mix in my mind… but maybe in this case but…. wait a minute. EVERYONE goes to Starbucks: an INTERNATIONAL chain! How come they get the ok, even from hipsters: The ever-denying-culture? After all, it is a general rule in hipster-dom, or so PenRei has noticed, that once anything becomes mainstream (especially in the music world) hipsters will often deny they ever liked it and reject it. My personal view on hipster-dom is that it mainly revolves around irony (ironic nerdy/oversized clothing and accessories, for example). So tell me, hipsters, if Starbucks is as mainstream as it gets, where’s the irony that justifies your support of its business?

Is it in the Art History Masters Graduate who serves you your latte? Is it in the iconic and unique “sizes” they have? Or is it in the fact that you are there …at all? In which case even my pet snake, Plato, who is currently eating its own tale, would be confused.

On a side note: I recently had to explain the humour of this strip from :

Source: ...Love Kate Beaton. Love her.

 Most. Difficult. Explanation. Ever. It was actually quite funny how my lovely friend Noosy was completely clueless as to how this was relevant or made sense or.. *sigh*

Anyway, so here’s my late disclaimer: I personally love me some Starbucks once in a while, I simply don’t get how they won over the hipsters. How’d that massive corporation get past the iron-gate of acceptance into their judgemental bosom. Maybe they didn’t and its just the fake hipsters I see there… Disclaimer 2: I also don’t hate on the hipsters(love their clothes, love their music and love their small businesses so, I really can’t hate), I guess I just despise the fact that its all become so mainstream to be  hipster-esque and… oh my god. I’m a hipster. Shit. Oh NO! Why didn’t anyone TELL ME!?

*falls into oblivion*


Update on status: Better now. Crisis averted: PenRei has calmed my fears. I am not a hipster. Mainly due to my lack of apathy! PHEW! Who knew being a hyperactive musical theatre student (ergo extremely jovial and optimistic) saved me from despair? Huzzah!

TO sightings

So one thing I do love oh so much about Toronto: the people. Those you meet and those you don’t meet but see on the street and wonder: “Hmm. What is their story?”

For instance, on my walk home just now, two wonderful things happened to cross my path.

The first was a young man taking his very new-looking and fully inflated blow-up mattress for a stroll. And it wasn’t just a small mattress; it was definitely queen sized and he just had it under his arm like he was taking it to the laudromat for a good wash.

Or he was on the lam.Tell me, is it still couch surfing if you bring your own mattress? Hm. Probably more so because at least this blow-up matress can float and THUS do the aforementioned surfing!… *shrug* He was probably going to the beach. Nice day. Why not?

The second incident involved a mini school bus which was, what could only be considered as cruising, down Bathurst st. and blaring Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.

Now… I’m all about the alternative modes of transportation (…but even biking is a doozey for me. Doozy? Doozie? Doozeful.) HOWEVER, I would really like to have been there when that conversation happened. Cause I don’t want to believe that it’s an actual bus driver going to pick some kids up after school and making the most of a great stereo on the way there. No way. The other option is far more entertaining. I mean, see below:)

Teenage Girl: MOM! Can I get the keys for the car? I need to pick up Kelly after school to go to *insert preferred after school activity*!

Mother: Sorry honey, I need it to go to book club/the grocery store/kickboxing.

Teenage Girl: But moooooom….

Mother: You can take the mini bus though! You’re father’s taking a sick day so he doesn’t need it.

Teenage Girl: …….. My life.

*end scene*

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the daughter of a school bus driver. I also always wondered what the deal was as a bus driver. Do you get to bring the vehicle home? Drive it around wherever? Be the D.D. for an entire bachelor party? Or was the school bus I always saw, parked in one of my neighbour’s driveway, simply payback for being unfairly fired. Perhaps for popping wheelies whilst herding the little ones to school.

Who knows?

Also, having a party in a (parked) bus is definitely on my to-do list. Just take a few seats out. Get some lights going. Maybe a disco ball. Some boas (the fluffy kind, not the potentially man-eating kind). How fun? Very.

Strugglebot Nomes – Out.