If you’re lost in a fog of the winter blahs, local musician Justine Fischer wants to offer up a party to shake those blues away.
Born in Richmond, BC just outside of Vancouver, Justine Fischer’s life in music began early as she studied in piano but given the chance to take over the bass guitar duties in her concert band would change Justine Fischer’s life at 13 years old. She’d self admittedly play with any band that needed a bassist and would earn the nickname “Justine the Bass Machine”. While she was never want for a band or a gig, when Caistor Center born Fred J. Eaglesmith came across the Bass Machine, he ended up enlisting her into his Travelling Road Show that would expand Fischer’s footprint across the country. Fischer would blossom touring the country but she’d really come into her own in Hamilton.
These days Fischer plays with Matty Simpson solo as well as in Dogmahound with Matty Simpson and Matt Burns, as part of the Pistollettes with Mary Simon, Ginger St. James and Linda Duemo, in Logan Statts band with Rob and Zander Lamothe — as well as with Spencer McKenzie and Raoul and the Big Time as well as countless more.
An integral part of the Southern Ontario scene, the Bass Machine has a growing legion of fans and Fischer hopes those fans and more will come out to a special celebration she’s organized that combine everything she loves.
“I was a dirty little hippie in BC and while I liked dressing up in costumes it wasn’t until I joined Fred that I learned about dressing up nicely,” says Fischer. “I learned that on the road and that’s kind of part of who I am, too. I started accumulated all kinds of clothing and accessories and me and Tiff Gin from the band decided to be entrepreneurial and set up a booth beside the merch table to sell some of those items. I started gathering more pieces to add to it and it’s become the Justine Fischer Travelling Boutique. There are a lot of different items there and there’s a ton of stuff to dress up fancy or funny so if you need a costume for this show, we’ve got clothes, accessories, wigs and more — we can definitely help out.”
The show is a dress up birthday party with the unusual option of dressing up at the venue as well as a celebration of the music that Fischer loves as well. Fischer loves the act of dressing up — and has turned that into a side business, selling clothing and accessories in her Travelling Boutique that will be included as part of the show this weekend. But she’ll be doing double duty performing as well and acting as emcee for the event.
“Heather Valley opens the night and I’m so very excited because I recently discovered her,” says Fischer about the bands she’s chosen for this year’s event. “She’s released her own album as well as an album with her band Another Crush and I think she’s great. She writes these beautiful songs that really speak to me, like she’s writing things that I had been feeling and I really related to. She struck a chord with me and I love her stuff. I really wanted her to be a part of this party. We also have Harm and Ease, which is so exciting because they’ve been down in Argentina for the last three or four months and this is their return to Canada and a new song coming out next week. I like to say it’s like Jack Black fronting Faces.
“And of course, Dogmahound is playing as well,” adds Fischer. “there is the Matty Simpson Band and Dogmahound, they have the same band members but they’re different. Dogmahound is Matty’s songs but it’s a heavier sound, grungy and crunchy not like the singer songwriter sound of Matty’s other music. Matty loves Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots and that kind of sound comes out in Dogmahound. It’ll be a great night of music all around.”
Fischer hopes to offer an aural and visual delight for all attendees and even after four years, the event remains a special reprieve from the winter blahs most people are experiencing.
“The dress up party is because I’ve always loved dressing up being really weird and eclectic,” says Fischer. “Music, dressing up and fun — I wanted to combine that into one night every year, typically around my birthday just for fun. I started throwing these parties for my band to play and for people to dress up. It’s the middle of winter and this party breaks up the mundane blues of this blah weather. You can have a nice night out and a fun time with an event that's definitely different.
“People ask me what dressing up means and it’s whatever you interpret it to be,” adds Fischer. “Is it something fancy or something fun and colourful or something crazy. You can come however you want. You can get our of your comfort zone and let loose and just have some fun. That’s what I want to do at this night of great music — it’s a party in the middle of winter and I hope everyone comes out for some fun. V
The Fifth Annual Justine Fischer's Dress Up Birthday Party happens this Saturday, February 8 at This Ain't Hollywood with Dogmahound, Heather Valley, as well as Harm and Ease. Doors open at 9 pm and $15 gets you in. For advance tickets click on www.bruha.com/ event/5358