Vol. 21 No. 8 • February 26 - March 4, 2015 In Our 20th Year Serving Greater Hamilton

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by Ric Taylor
December 18 - 24, 2003
“Punks aren’t about violence and they don’t want to kill themselves — they want to make the world a better place and they’re just brave enough to speak where most people aren’t,” explains Patricia Reece. “It’s more like walking through life and not caring about what other people tell you to do and instead doing it your own way. It’s not about how you dress or whatever.” Amp Records, which the Reeces run, has grown leaps and bounds this year, with more music and releases than ever before. At this time of year they celebrate the Nineth Annual Jingle Hell Rock in benefit of Inasmuch Women’s Shelter. “These days, Christmas has lost its meaning,” adds Reece. “We did a similar thing for Thanksgiving but without the concert. Some people might think we do this because of the show or to get press, but that’s not true, I do this kind of thing all year because I feel it’s important.” Reece and her band, Pantychrist have added a seasonal favourite to the set–list that they will debut this weekend and then hope to add to this year’s Valley View Christmas CD. While “I Ain’t Getting Nothing For Christmas” is a song that makes light of a problematic child, there are many like Reece herself who were able to turn things around with the help of some friends and make a dubious situation into a wonderful life. “This year it’s special because it’s all chick bands,” laughs Reece with glee. “It’s women helping women and I think that’s cool. Inasmuch Women’s Shelter is important. It’s not as known as the other charities but still needs our help. “Larry’s workplace always gets involved and last year we donated boxes of food as well as laptop computers and other old office supplies,” she adds. “They were so happy to see that. Every year there are people who can’t stay for the show, but it always makes me happy that they stop by with a toy or some canned goods, even if they can’t stay.” “I’m lucky because I moved here with two little kids and I didn’t know a soul, then I met Larry and he changed my whole life. I hope that maybe with our work we can help some women that maybe were a little like I was. We do what we do and try to do it with the real spirit of Christmas.” Amp Records’ Jingle Hell Rock happens in support of Inasmuch Womens Shelter this Friday December 19 at the Underground featuring Pantychrist, The Lorrainas, Screaming Hallway Girl, and Tetrezene. Your donation of a new, unwrapped toy or non–perishable food items gets you in the door but cash donations (minimum $5 suggested) will be accepted towards purchasing gift certificates at a grocery store. Just Imagine has donated their services to the event as well as a variety of retailers. For all donations patrons will receive a ticket in the draw for lots of prizes. There are $100 Desire Clothing gift certificates, lane rental from Martin’s Bowling Alley, gift certificates for Dr. Disc and of course, AMP Records and Troma DVD prizes. Over the last three years, the duo known as Chrome Yellow has added members with every new album. Like new brothers coming of age and joining the posse, first a bass player then a guitarist were added–now The Chrome Yellow Co. looks and sounds like an indie rock version of a stylized ’60s group (but they’re not related). TCYC celebrates their newest CD, Red Light Runners, in a familiar familial way this weekend, just in time for the holidays. “We figured everyone would be home for the holidays and wondering what they could do for fun,” explains lead singer and guitarist Luca Ciardullo. “There’s going to be a good holiday spirit in the air. It’s a nice way for everyone to come together have fun and get that warm fuzzy feeling everyone should have at this time of year.” Recorded with Duke Foster as engineer and Chris Bell (Chore) as producer, Ciardullo, drummer Mario Spina, bassist Charlie Tirone and guitarist Rico Tudico have recorded their first album as a full–on band. With fragile vocals and chiming guitars, the indie rock idiosyncrasies that formulate TCYC’s songs come to the forefront this time out. “The new album is a natural progression because we’re all writing together as a band now,” offers Ciardullo. “They are songs that have been on our set list and we just had to record. It’s an eight–song EP that helps introduce our sound and the band but the only time we were in the same room is when we did the bass tracks with Dan Medakovic in this big room where they normally record orchestras for movies.” While the music still captures an elusive and atmospheric pop band, the songs are more personal and passionate — perhaps offering up TCYC’s own version of a blue Christmas. “Every instrument is very clear and there’s not a lot of layers like we’ve used in the past. It’s very stripped down and makes the songs become even more important. I think every album has a theme to it even if it’s not a concept album, and if you listen to this one you can understand the common thread on this release. It’s about heartbreak and it’s something I just couldn’t shake.” The Chrome Yellow Co. celebrates the release of Red Light Runners this Saturday December 20 at the Underground with Shade and In Silent Code. Admission is $5. Back from a Western Canadian tour, Mayor (CA Smith) McCa made his hometown return performance a surprise gig, opening the Sonic Unyon Christmas party last weekend. This week he continues on with the seasonal spirit with his own original theatrical production, Doi to the world, which has become an annual classic. “It’s not a super complicated story so almost anybody can understand,” explains Smith. “Every year people get excited and come back to see the things that Doi has to learn and it’s a beautiful thing. I’m proud of the friends who join me. They’re all superb talents — not just from this area but generally–so it’s not only an opportunity to showcase the music I wrote but also the cool friends I’ve got.” With a simple yet ever–so–CA premise centered around a foreign exchange student from outer space and his experiences around moving to earth during the holiday season, Smith has fashioned a small theatrical production featuring Julie MacDonald (Flux AD), Mike Bell (Chore), Christopher Adeney (Waxmannequin) and Mark Raymond and an alternative tradition. Whimsical and quirky, it offers an original Christmas tale that could easily be translated to the small screen. “It’s become a tradition for some people and I think it would work well as a short film,” muses Smith. “Paul Watling, who illustrated the accompanying programs, is an animator and we’ve talked about maybe one day making an animated recording but I’m in no big hurry to record this because I know we’re going to be doing this play every year. We just have so much fun doing it!” Doi To The World happens Sunday December 21 at The Casbah featuring an opening set from Mayor McCa and even a rumoured invasion of those space kitties from planet Meowmeow, Rainbow Meow. Doors are at 8:30pm and cover is $6. Jacob Moon leads the third edition of Christmas at the Casbah–A Benefit for Hamilton’s Homeless this week. “The last two years of presenting this event have been wonderful, and we’ve raised thousands for the cause,” explains Moon. “Christmas at the Casbah has become almost like the Christmas staff party for us musicians and the people who support music in Hamilton. The cast of characters changes a bit year to year, so you never know exactly what to expect, except of course stellar musicians playing beautiful holiday music.” With some regulars returning, Moon has also enlisted some new talent to join in this year. What always stays the same is the reason why they all come together — particularly at this time of year. “Unfortunately, the problem of homelessness has worsened again in this area, so our need to respond is greater than ever,” says Moon about the need to support organizations like Wesley Urban Ministries. “Putting on shows is what we do as musicians, so this is what we will offer to our brothers and sisters at this sensitive and lonely time of year.” All of the artists have been asked by Moon to perform songs with a ‘Christmas’ or ‘home’ theme to underscore awareness of WUM, an organization that serves Hamilton’s homeless and under–housed. The $10 ticket price will go entirely to benefit this vital charity. Christmas at the Casbah 3 happens this Monday December 22 at the Casbah featuring Harrison Kennedy, Mike Daley, Hailey Gillis, David Gillis, The Ladybird Side Show (Melissa McClelland, Lisa Winn, Janine Stoll and Erin Smith), Steve Sinnicks, Adam Ostrosser, Ruth Sutherland, Michele Titian, Mark McIntyre & Dan Lockwood and Jacob Moon perform their holiday favourites. A minimum $10 donation will be accepted at the door and doors open at 8pm. For years I was one of those people who would be sad for the less fortunate but at a loss as to what to do about it. A simple epiphany, I commandeered the weekly radio program I host and produce at McMaster University’s 93.3 CFMU FM and invited people who were in the seasonal spirit. The turn–out was astonishing and the generosity abounding. Friends and musicians showed up in droves with a Christmas song in their hearts and with food for St. Matthews House. I couldn’t have done it without the likes of Aaron Wrixon, Mike Trebilcock, Rob Lamothe and family, Matthew Barber, Marc Brenzil and Craig Foye. They’ve helped support the event unselfishly for the first two years, and hopefully will for the next ten years as well. With a couple dozen other musical friends and family we hope to get another 30 people on the air (this Friday 4pm-8pm EST cfmu.mcmaster.ca) singing carols and perhaps a little cheer to those in need. V
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