Having enjoyed our previous evening in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Team GDW had originally planned to have a day of leisure in and around the GTA.  But, as time drew closer to the weekend, the seeming lack of musical events taking place on this Saturday quickly turned into a busy schedule of finding and experiencing yet more live music.

After a hearty brunch in Brampton, ON, we pointed the car north through the scenic roads of Dufferin County and beyond, arriving for our second visit to the small town of Creemore, ON for their annual Creemore Springs Copper Kettle Festival.  Making our way to the Creemore Springs Brewery, we joined the crowds that had gathered for this event and enjoyed being treated to a wonderful display of traditional Highland music from the Beinn Gorm Highlanders.  With numerous pipers and drummers, this marching band performed several numbers, both traditional and ‘covers’ of instantly recognizable tunes.

As some of the crowd dispersed following the exit of the Highlanders, we secured our seats just a short distance from the main stage, and shortly afterwards had the opportunity to enjoy a full set of music from the Toronto based band Jane’s Party.  We became familiar with Jane’s Party upon the release of their popular 2016 radio hit “Coming On Strong” (co-written with The Darcys), and promptly purchased their “Tunnel Visions” album when we learned that it had been produced by Blue Rodeo’s own Greg Keelor (it also did not hurt to have cameos from Jim and Devin Cuddy in the music video for the radio hit).  With their throwback sound and musical style, Jane’s Party quickly became firm favorites of Team GDW, making this a welcome opportunity to finally catch up with them live.

Opening their 75 minute set with “Old Friends,” the lead track from “Tunnel Visions,” the four-piece act would go on to perform thirteen songs, one of which was a fantastic cover version of the Small Faces classic hit “Stay With Me.”  Other material from “Tunnel Visions” included “What I’ve Been Missing,” “Cigarette Buzz,” and “Time Remembered.”  Jane’s Party would also offer up a new composition titled “You’re The Light I’m Looking For,” giving hints of hopefully another release sometime in the future.  With their lively and upbeat music, the band continued to attract a larger gathering of music fans during their set, and received a well-deserved ovation after closing with “San Francisco.”  We had the good fortune to meet briefly with the band afterwards, and hope to catch up with them again soon to enjoy their music once more.

Jane’s Party Set List:

  1. Old Friends
  2. Til You Get Yours
  3. Alone Together
  4. You’re The Light I’m Looking For
  5. ***Unknown Title***
  6. Cigarette Buzz
  7. It’s Been Years
  8. Meet Me Halfway
  9. What I’ve Been Missing
  10. Time Remembered
  11. Coming On Strong
  12. Stay With Me (Small Faces cover)
  13. San Francisco

 

Having entertained and warmed up the crowd, Jane’s Party made their exit and the stage would shortly belong to The Sadies, who were headlining this event.  Having seen this band just a week earlier at Budweiser Stage in Toronto, we were grateful to experience a full 90+ minute set of non-stop music this time around.  And in similar fashion to their opening duties just one week ago, Margaret Good (mom) was on hand to add her touch to “Wearin’ That Loved On Look” and “Higher Power” midway through the set.  Margaret would also be encouraged by Dallas Good to stick around for “Pretty Blond,” and to return later for an encore performance of “Dying Is Easy.”  Performing a great cross-section of their back catalog, The Sadies cranked out close to 25 tracks, promoting cuts from the recently released “Northern Passages” album one moment, then pulling out old favorites such as “Cut Corners” and “The Story’s Often Told” the next.  Brothers Dallas and Travis Good exchanged vocal duties and their trademark riffs all afternoon, backed flawlessly as always by bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky.  Once again, The Sadies captivated an audience like few others can, and for us, the addiction to this four-piece band remains at a critical level.  Two live shows in eight days, and Team GDW still crave much more.

The Sadies (Partial) Set List (only confirmed tracks listed in order below):

  1. Freeborn Man/Lay Down Your Arms
  2. The First Five Minutes/Cheat
  3. Another Year Again
  4. Cut Corners
  5. Leave Me Alone
  6. God Bless The Infidels
  7. Tell Her What I Said
  8. Through Strange Eyes
  9. The Story’s Often Told
  10. The Introduction/Anna Leigh
  11. Wearin’ That Loved On Look
  12. Higher Power
  13. Pretty Blond
  14. Riverview Fog
  15. Ridge Runner Reel
  16. Tiger Tiger

Encore:

  1. Dying Is Easy

 

After taking time to grab a bite to eat, we eventually left Creemore and commenced the return journey south to ‘The Big Smoke’.  Arriving in the heart of Toronto, we were more than ready for our final live music experience of the weekend, and anticipated a good evening ahead at The Dakota Tavern with NQ Arbuckle.  This was our first visit to this particular iconic venue, and we were made welcome by all those that we interacted with on this evening.  The history of this room was evident, and the vibe was both charming and nostalgic.  Old outlaw country music played in the background prior to the live music, making it easy to imagine the likes of Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash gracing this venue in centuries past.

At around 10:30PM, the five-piece Toronto band NQ Arbuckle would step foot on this hallowed stage for the first of three sets that kept the live music pumping out until closing time.  Having recently missed out on seeing this band on two recent occasions due to bad timing or other commitments, third time around would definitely prove to be the charm for Team GDW.  Lead vocalist Neville Quinlan announced that the first set would consist of some lesser known material, with the more upbeat choices being saved for later.  With 10 songs in total, the first set opened with “Sure Friends,” a track taken from their “The Last Supper In A Cheap Town” album.  Both “Angels And Devils” and “Sun’s Hanging Low” would be added from this album during the first set too.  Also included in this opening series were “Postcards From Princess,” “Hot Shot,” and the closing number “Skydive Home.”

After a twenty minute recess for ‘refreshments’, the band returned and cranked out another 13 tracks from their back catalog.  Making a reference to their collaboration with Carolyn Mark, NQ Arbuckle performed selections from their “The Future Happens Anyway” album, opening with “Back To Earth” before adding both “Red Wine” and “Lifeboat” later in the set.  References were made to their most recent “XOK” album, and tracks performed from this release included “Don’t Remember Me,” “I Liked You Right From The Start,” and in closing, “Marco Polo.”  This may not have been destined to be the last piece of the second set, but with a broken guitar string, Neville would exit the stage to fix the issue while the band ad-libbed with their great instrumentation.  Firmly into the wee hours of Sunday morning, Team GDW took this as a cue to call it a night, and bid farewell to NQ Arbuckle and The Dakota Tavern.

We did have the opportunity to chat with Neville Quinlan, who graciously autographed some merchandise for us.  We also were pleased to see a couple of artists with whom we are familiar, stopping in at various points during the evening.  Having heard during past interviews that many Toronto based artists rate The Dakota Tavern as a great place to see and hear live music, it was very encouraging to see such artists out and about doing just that.

NQ Arbuckle Set List (Sets 1 and 2 only):

  1. Sure Friends
  2. Angels And Devils
  3. Postcards From Princess
  4. Officer Down
  5. Sun’s Hanging Low
  6. The Civil War Is Over
  7. ***Unknown***
  8. Hot Shot
  9. Saskatoon Tonight
  10. Skydive Home
  11. Back To Earth
  12. Cheap Town
  13. I Can See The Moon
  14. Mixkin Dancehall Blues
  15. You Look Like A Wreck
  16. Red Wine
  17. ***Unknown***
  18. Lifeboat (Song For Carolyn Mark)
  19. Don’t Remember Me
  20. ***Unknown***
  21. I Liked You Right From The Start
  22. Downtime
  23. Marco Polo

~ M

Visit Jane’s Party’s website.

Visit The Sadies’ website.

Visit NQ Arbuckle’s website.