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Rock n Roll Party at This Ain't Hollywood

Date January 8, 2014 Author wallygatornorton@gmail.com Categories default-import-blog-type-4
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Rock n Roll Party at This Ain’t Hollywood

League of Rock – Hamilton Chapter –Session 2

Nothing quite like a live rock n roll party and nothing screams rock n roll like the steel town rock n roll bar, “This Ain’t Hollywood”. This historic rock club has seen the likes of Teenage Head, the Forgotten Rebels and recently the legendary “Runaways” vocalist Cherie Currie all grace the stage. On December 17, 2013 though, it was time for the three new bands in Hamilton's League of Rock to lay it on the line with some live rock n roll music.

The second session of the League of Rock’s Hamilton Chapter produced three new bands. “Hammer”, “Skyway” and “Bantu” all tuned up and turned out some incredibly cool sets of live rock music. A packed crowd of friends and family turned out on a snowy night to witness exactly what these adventurous musicians have been up to for the last ten weeks.

For those not quite familiar with the League of Rock, it’s like a pick up hockey league but for musicians. Imagine total strangers being thrown together into “bands”, each week they meet up for rehearsals, live workshops, coaching sessions, a recording day and finally, one big live concert event. It was time for these bands to strut their stuff LIVE, to get onto a real stage and rock the crowd and on this night live the rock n roll dream.

For those that made it out to see, the bands absolutely killed it. From the opening acoustic chords of “Small Town”, Hammer got things rolling in style and delivered an awesome set. I caught up with singer/acoustic guitar player Gina Monaco and asked her what she liked most about the League of Rock? “I don’t think there was one favourite part – it was the total experience, but if I had to pick one, it would be the recording session. Mainly because it’s easy compared to live performing, lol. As it turned out Gina also won the MVP award for the second League of Rock Session in Hamilton.

Hammer’s guitar player Brad also spent some time with me to discuss his ride in the League of Rock;

LOR: How long have you been playing guitar and how did you find out about the League of Rock?   

Brad: I've been playing for almost two years now.  I have always wanted to play guitar - when I was a teenager, my parents got me one but I didn't want to put any time into it and never really learned anything.  Two years ago I decided to rent one and give it a try again, this lead to buying one and I have had a blast since. 

LOR: Now that it’s over, what was your favourite part of the entire program?  

Brad: My favourite part was playing the live shows - it was such a rush!  The League of Rock made it so easy to join a band and facilitated us to play 3 live gigs.  I must say that hearing our work professionally recorded also blew me away.

LOR: Personally what will you take away from your experience?   

Brad: This opportunity allowed me to gain a lot of confidence in my playing. I now know that I have the skills to play with others in a band setting.  Not only will I be doing this again but I think I will step a little further out of my comfort zone and show-up to some "jam-nights" in the area now.

LOR: What would you tell someone that is thinking of joining the League?   

Brad: Just do it!

“Skyway” was up next with a solid hard rocking set that included some Tragically Hip, The Clash and Janis Joplin songs. Vocalists Marie McKend and Wayne traded off songs and also performed a duet on the John Mellencamp version of “Wild Night”. Skyway’s drummer Bill Baldassi took some time to answer the following questions;

LOR: How long have you been playing drums and how did you first find out about the League of Rock?

Bill: I started playing drums when I was a teenager, and that was a long time ago! I had not played in many years before joining the League of Rock, and like so many of the musicians that I have played with since joining, the years just got busy with work, raising a family and everything else. In fact, I didn't even have a drum kit any longer, but I always thought that I would like to play in a band again.

I first heard about the League of Rock in 2007, when I read an article about it in the Toronto Star.

LOR: How many sessions have you participated in?

Bill: It took me 5 years to finally join up with the LOR and give it a try. I have since participated in 3 sessions, the first two in Toronto and then one in Hamilton.

LOR: Now that it’s over, what was your favourite part of this session?

Bill: My favourite part of the session, was getting the opportunity to play in the Skyway band with all of the other terrifically talented musicians and vocalists, to take it from 6 people who had never met each other, to a sizzling 5 song performance 9 weeks later with a group of people who had all become great friends.

 

LOR: What would you tell someone that is thinking of joining the League?

Bill: If you can play an instrument or sing and you have always wondered what it would be like to play in a band, then come on out and join up. You will have a lot of fun, and the experience will set you on a new musical direction.

 

Last up for the night was “Bantu” who entertained the crowd, covering some Jack White, ZZ Top, and the blues classic “Sweet Home Chicago”. I had been informed that vocalist Lynne Atkinson was under the weather this evening but you wouldn’t have known it from her performance and the response from the crowd was a testament to the great music they had just witnessed.

In closing, I heard a quote after the show that I feel needs to be shared. “Wow Mom! That was amazing; I would totally pay money to see your band play live. You have inspired me; I suddenly feel the need to create something.” The power of music is very cool indeed.

 

 

 

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