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First Friday’ Category

Blackmore & Blackmore CD Release for Sept. First Friday

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Blackmore & Blackmore CD...

September First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: Blackmore and Blackmore Show The Creative Way To Move Ahead And Release A CD by Brian Hay There are right and wrong ways to do everything. What Mike Blackmore did with his two instruments, a set of looping devices and a healthy influx of creative imagination was definitely an illustration of one of the right ways. Technological aids are frequently used to create shortcuts. That’s one of the knocks against them. Another is the reputation they’ve acquired for stripping the music of its warmth. With Mike Blackmore there’s no shortcuts. That, along with the imagination involved, and the fact that everything is put together live, insures the music carries the spontaneity and warmth of something that’s been created on the spot. That’s true of his live shows and of his new release, the CD ‘Coyote’. Mike doesn’t use prerecorded tracks. Songs begin with whichever instrument fits ...

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Hot Blues with Dressed To Kill & Cool art by Bill...

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Hot Blues with Dressed To Kill...

August First Friday At The Cheeky Monkey: Dressed To Kill Brings Hot Blues To Sarnia’s Ace Record Store by Brian Hay The blues band Dressed To Kill has mostly worked as a four-piece group. To be able to perform the cuts on their album ’This Ol’Train’ the way they wanted to however, they added several musicians. That ensemble gave their first performance in March. Their second one was hosted by the Cheeky Monkey and it provided an evening to remember. The core of the band is still the same. Bassist Bruce Sleeuwenhoek and drummer Dallas Labarre form what can only be described as a silk pocket for the rest of the group to work from. Their contribution literally epitomizes front man Keil Simmons catch-phrase “stay classy folks”. Up front Keil and lead guitarist Jeff Turnbull play off of each other intuitively. Both deliver solo and lead passages that provide treats for the ear ...

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Cool July First Friday with BobCatz

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Cool July First Friday with...

First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: BobCatz Use Colour To Give Classic Songs A Shot In The Arm by Brian Hay “Life is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get”. That famous line from a well-known film (the name of which escapes me) is one that truly applies to the acts that the Cheeky Monkey brings to Sarnia’s First Friday Celebrations. They’ve featured performers playing from an array of genres with the only common denominator being that they’re good. With the BobCatz several of the musicians involved were familiar. Vocalist and keyboard player Robert Martin performed with the Casuals not long ago. Wulf Von Waldow brings his excellence on the saxophone to a number of local bands. Clarinettist and sax man Michael Murphy is prominent and anyone from the area who doesn’t know Mike Blackmore probably lives in a cave. Harmony singer Sue Furlotte and Sue Auty, who ...

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WarwiK Rocks Cheeky Monkey in An Acoustic Way

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WarwiK Rocks Cheeky Monkey in...

June First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: WarwiK Delivers An Acoustic Set With Punch by Brian Hay Guitarist Ian Wills was the first member of WarwiK to make an appearance. What he came up with before his bandmates joined in made it easy to see that he was very good. Bassist Kyle Carlos was the next to join in and he was impressive as well. This was very promising and nobody ended up disappointed. When singer and drummer Derek Reno completed the trio they lived up to the high standard that had been hinted at. Their presentation went from strength to strength. Kyle Carlos was comfortable with either the bass or the acoustic guitar. Ian Wills shifted effortlessly between lead and rhythm playing. Derek Reno was strong on the drums and marvelous when playing the electric guitar. The musical communication between the members was stellar. All of them were strong time keepers and ...

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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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