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First Friday’ Category

Rockin April First Friday with Brother Leeds

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Rockin April First Friday with...

London based, well technically Mount Bridges based, rock band Brother Leeds proved to be even better than anticipated. The 4 piece normally hard rock group brought it down a notch for the Cheeky Monkey audience doing an array of mostly original songs acoustically. They had hoped to have CD's to sell, but they are not quite ready yet, but will be soon. If you are a new fan after seeing them at Cheeky Monkey or missed them and want to check them out, we will be selling their CD's once released. Watch for details to come. CLICK HERE for photos taken during the April First Friday. Note the painting by Bill Walters in the background. His current exhibit is available for viewed & buying for a few more weeks. An entirely new work will displayed in time for the May 3rd First Friday. Photo ...

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Making some NOISE POLLUTION during March First Friday

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Making some NOISE POLLUTION...

Noise Pollution at the Cheeky Monkey for March First Friday: Young Band Gives Crowd a Great Time by Brian Hay Musically this band is on solid footing. Ammon Chaikram provides the grounding needed from the bass but adds some jump as well. He’s also a decent drummer, a point that probably strengthens his skills as a timekeeper. Maxx Cabajar does more than just play a guitar. He strives to make the instrument do things that are out of the ordinary and often succeeds beautifully. Chloe Kendel is a superb young drummer, literally one of the best this writer’s seen in some time. Her technical skills are excellent and she’s an imaginative player but that’s only part of what she offers. Her work has a graceful fluidity that can’t be taught. Transitions from beat to fills and back again are so smooth and so natural it’s almost as if she’s a conduit for ...

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Strum N Drum – A Gem of a Show on Feb. 1 First Friday

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Strum N Drum – A Gem of...

Strum n Drum at the Cheeky Monkey: Crowds Miss a Gem on a Cold First Friday by Brian Hay Walking into a nearly empty shop on a First Friday wasn’t the most promising thing but the music coming from the far end of the room carried a better message. With fewer bodies to absorb the volume the sounds of the instruments landed on the ear as either an invitation or a seductive caress — take your pick. Given that one of the instruments was an acoustic guitar being played with a touch that bordered on the sublime it could easily have been the latter. The intricate percussion work, rhythm guitar playing and singing that were coming across were tasty and what formed among the trio was something that became far more than the sum of its parts. The sublime work on the guitar was coming from the hands and soul of Cameron Milne. ...

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January 2019 First Friday Tastiness with Me & Mr. Smith

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January 2019 First Friday...

Sarnia First Friday: Notes by Me and Mr. Smith Settle in an Exquisite Zone at the Cheeky Monkey by Brian Hay From the start this gig conveyed the sense that all was right with the world. Or at least it was in the Cheeky Monkey. Transparently clear notes from the guitar of Nick Swan and silky tones from the voice of Lise Michaud were as much a caress as they were a delivery of sounds that transported listeners to a place where harmonious tranquility was dominant. It was a lovely space, the perfect answer to the bustle of the holidays, a trying day at work or just a day of the blahs that typifies the winter season. (For this writer it was the last one but that’s not important). From any perspective it’s clear this duo is on to something. Nick Swan is a deeply sensitive guitarist who combines impeccable rhythmic timing with ...

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December First Friday Rolling with BIG HIGHWAY

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December First Friday Rolling...

Big Highway at the Cheeky Monkey: Hip In Their Back Pockets Sarnia First Friday, December 7, 2018 by Brian Hay The first thing that was noticeable about the playing of Big Highway was the charge it contained. That was clear right from the opposite end of the store to the point where it jumped out at the listener. It was electrifying and invigorating, also a sign that it was going to be a good night. The second point was in how much they sounded like the Tragically Hip. What they were doing wasn’t an imitation — they were clearly their own band but the essence they channeled was, literally, pure Hip. It would almost have been eerie had the proceedings been somber but the band members were having too much fun for that to happen. The energy in their playing started in their basement. Or to put it another way, with their rhythm section. ...

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The Forest Pioneers Brighten Nov. First Friday

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The Forest Pioneers Brighten...

The Forest Pioneers Live at the Cheeky Monkey: Diamonds in the Rough Brighten a Slow First Friday by Brian Hay The first thing that hit the ear was the doubling from a pair of acoustic guitars. There was nothing lightweight — this stuff was being played with a chop. The next thing coming in was some crystal clear singing. Then a sweet bit of harmony vocals filled the air. Things might have been slow outside and the crowd in the store smaller than usual, but the music seemed like it was going to be fine. It was too. The guitars were played by Andy Genovy and Frank Kirkey with Kirkey delivering the lead vocal. The harmony work was done by the full group, which was rounded out by vocalist Shannon Kelly keyboard player Lauren Ihrig. Their timing was solid and the voices of both ladies were distinct enough to stand out individually. That ...

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Magical Music for October First Friday Evening

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Magical Music for October...

Sarnia’s First Friday, October 2018: Missy Burgess, Dwayne Cloes and Wulf Von Waldow at the Cheeky Monkey by Brian Hay The great thing about live music is the opportunity for spontaneous combustion is always there. When it happens, it’s felt as much as heard and it produces a moment in time that can never be duplicated. It’s a one-time thing and it’s glorious. When Missy Burgess and Dwayne Cloes came together with Wulf Von Waldow there hadn’t been a lot of time for them to “prep” themselves. Missy and Dwayne had played together a few times but the rest fell to each being able to follow what they heard and invent things on the fly without drifting away from each other or the songs. It’s risky. Playing “wrong bits” or showboating creates a train wreck. Paying attention and supporting each other to serve the music produces something that’s magical and often, magnificent. That ...

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El Camino Super Charging September First Friday

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El Camino Super Charging...

El Camino Rocks the Cheeky Monkey: Sarnia’s First Friday Celebration, September 2018 by Brian Hay The addition of bassist Glen Perry and keyboard player Lise Jordan changes the face of this band immensely. That Glen provides an excellent rhythm partner for drummer Steve Bird is a factor of huge importance. They listen to each other closely, slide lock-step into whatever the other does with (seemingly) no effort and it spins off to the rest of the band. Guitarist Marvin Eskritt slides in with lead or rhythm parts according to the needs of the songs. Lise Jordan reinforces Glen’s bass lines and injects ornamentation in the same manner while lead singer and guitarist Scott Whyte doubles rhythm lines or weaves with lead passages delivered by Eskritt. All of it is very tasteful. More on that later … The area that shows the most obvious difference stems from Lise and Glen both being solid vocalists. Having ...

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Emm Gryner Heating Up August First Friday

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Emm Gryner Heating Up August...

Review by Brian Hay The great thing about Emm Gryner’s songs is the strength at their core. Her studio albums are richly arranged but the songs themselves not only hold up well under unadorned presentation, they thrive on it. Part of it’s because Gryner’s an accomplished musician and seasoned performer but a lot is due to her songs just being really good. Her set list featured several numbers from her new disc ‘Only Of Earth (Days Of Games)’ and an array of pieces from various places in her catalogue. A rendition of ’Space Oddity’ that used Bowie’s original lyrics marked her time in his band and the subsequent collaboration with Chris Hadfield was given a heartfelt reading that conveyed much of what she feels about those times. ’Summerlong’, a track from year 2000’s ‘Dead Relatives’, displayed the virtue of revisiting older pieces — that song became so fresh it seemed brand new. ...

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Pulsing LIFE SIGNS During July First Friday @ Cheeky Monkey

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Pulsing LIFE SIGNS During July...

July First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: Life Signs as a Three-Piece (Or Life Without Their “Fiddely-Bitter”) Written Saturday July 7, 2018 by Brian Hay Life Signs were missing their lead guitarist this time around but the change added a different element to their work. John Foster, who was unavailable due to work commitments, was definitely missed at times, as well he should have been. His kind of tasty work is hard to replace (especially when another member has to do double-duty and make things up on the fly) but being faced with situations like this often brings out things from band members that aren’t seen otherwise. That was true to the max in this instance. For one thing, the band’s rhythm section stepped things up a notch. That’s always good but when the players have the skills drummer Scott Elliot and bassist Mike Vasek bring to the fore, mesh nicely as a unit ...

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