Stephen Stanley: Live Music With Grilled Cheese on the Side

Stephen Stanley Band

Team GDW recently reviewed and very much enjoyed “Jimmy and the Moon,” the latest full-length album from The Stephen Stanley Band.  Hoping to one day have the opportunity to catch a live set from Stephen, L very recently discovered the ‘Grilled Cheese Challenge’ in west Toronto, which would feature live music from, you guessed it, Stephen Stanley.  Coinciding with a weekend to which we were already planning to be in southern Ontario, the timing could not have been better.  Heading north a little earlier than scheduled to be in Toronto, we would be treated to a wonderful set of music from The Stephen Stanley Band.

The wonderful aroma of freshly made grilled cheese sandwiches invaded and delighted our nasal passages the moment we arrived at Islington and Lake Shore in Toronto.  With several blocks closed to traffic for this Saturday afternoon event, we spotted Stephen upon our arrival scouting out the numerous food vendors and their diverse grilled cheese choices.  Likewise, the aroma triggered our desire for lunch, and we too perused the many choices before consuming some fine fare.  We were fortunate enough to catch up with Stephen shortly afterwards, and appreciate the time he spent with us to chat about the new album and his touring plans.

As we approached his cue to head on stage and prepare for his set, we found seats and prepared for our first live experience with The Stephen Stanley Band.  With a 40 minute slot, Stephen would share some tracks from the new album, plus some older compositions and a popular Tom Petty cover too.  Launching immediately into “The Troubadour Song” (the track that inspired me to review the album upon the first listen), I would once again allow myself to get lost in those wonderful lines, “And I thought this year we were going to win / Now it seems so many things are coming to an end / Don’t cry for me and don’t cry for my friends / Let the last person who walks through that door whisper goodbye to the Troubadour.”  Other new tracks from “Jimmy and the Moon” included “Birthday Clown” and a dedication to his grandfather, “Under The Mynah Bird.”

This particular set would also introduce us to a couple of earlier songs from Stephen with which we had no familiarity, “Hey Darlene” and “By Her Side.”  He would ultimately close his set with one of his Lowest of the Low tracks, “Birthday Party,” which appeared on the “Sordid Fiction” album.  The crowd that had gathered around the stage applauded the band, with some hanging around for the next act, while others went off in search of more grilled cheese delights.  Stephen informed us that he had two more gigs lined up on this particular day, and we wished him well for these shows and all future live dates.  And as the band packed up their instruments, ready to do it all over again in just a few hours time, we departed for some of the other events bookmarked on our calendar for that Saturday evening.

Set List:

  1. The Troubadour’s Song
  2. Birthday Clown
  3. Hey Darlene
  4. Under The Mynah Bird
  5. Time To Move On (Tom Petty cover)
  6. By Her Side
  7. 40 Endings
  8. Your Birthday Party (Lowest of the Low)

~ M

Visit The Stephen Stanley Band online.

Preview and buy “Jimmy & the Moon” on Bandcamp.

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