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First Friday’ Category

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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El Camino Revving Up June First Friday

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El Camino Revving Up June...

What a wonderful June First Friday it was at Cheeky Monkey thanks entirely to the local 5 piece band El Camino. I have to admit, the store was so busy, I was not able to fully listen to the band.  Having said that, a few songs really caught my attention and brought back fond memories of my younger years.  Music, played well has that magical ability.  Two songs in particular really stood out for me.  James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' and Cat Stevens 'Wild World' were outstanding.  I was evidently not alone in enjoying the band seeing how many people lingered to hear them play. It is hard to critique individual members since together they create such sweet sounds.  The original core members of singer/rhythm guitarist Scott Whyte, lead/ rhythm player Marvin Eskritt and percussionist Steve Bird where enhanced by newer members  Lise Jordan on keyboards/vocals and Glen Perry on bass guitar. We sincerely hope ...

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Wild Cards + surprised during May 2018 First Friday

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Wild Cards + surprised during...

First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: Wild Cards Cheeky-Jacked — Surprise and More and More Surprises by Brian Hay They might have been “Monkey-Jacked”. It has to be that or “Cheeky-Jacked” because there’s too many syllables in “Cheeky Monkey-Jacked and none of them are accurate anyway because (apart from being surprised hosts) the owners of Cheeky Monkey had no part in it. They were as surprised as everyone else. A good time was had by all though, and that’s what matters. With their drummer Gerry Hawley and the set-list he’d have laid out absent due to a family tragedy the members of Wild Cards were already “making do”. Singer/guitarist Renee Card and guitarists Sara Campbell and Scott Vegh played tentatively for a couple of songs while they got a sense of who’d do what to to fill the space normally held by the drums but intuition and a paying close attention to each ...

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Toes Tappin April First Friday

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Toes Tappin April First Friday

April’s First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey With The Casuals Saturday April 7, 2018 Vibrant Harmony Singing Gets The Toes-A-Tappin’ by Brian Hay Solid and basically faultless rhythm playing that wasn’t quite straight out of textbooks didn’t hurt either. The Casuals found a pocket early on and projected everything clearly from its centre. It’s a guess but, as their set progressed, there was a sense the cues were being set up by guitarist Bill Hines and not their rhythm players. The concept is great … when it works. If it isn’t done perfectly the energy falls out of the music faster than a skydiver who forgot about the parachute but when it is there’s not much that can stand beside it. The Rolling Stones and the Who came up with two of the most exciting rhythm sections on record with Keith Moon taking cues from Pete Townshend while Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts wove magic ...

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March First Friday Blues To Make You Happy

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March First Friday Blues To...

First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: Four Barrels of Blues Combines For One Sweet Sound Review by Brian Hay Describing the Four Barrel Blues Band as a class act is the best way to sum what this band has to offer. They’re all classy players, stylish but without excesses and what they form as an ensemble meshes together in much the same way. Drummer Stephen Bird is an articulate player who lays out a solid backbeat without becoming heavy. Glen Perry employs a fretless bass to reinforce the time signature and provide a melodic foundation with sustained notes that type of bass delivers. They’re harder to play than conventional models because of their demand for such an exact knowledge of where “the right” spots are on the neck but the way their notes tend to hang slightly as the next ones are being introduced gives their sound a musical sonority that’s both ...

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Funking Up the Jan. 2018 First Friday

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Funking Up the Jan. 2018 First...

Enduring one of the coldest First Friday's in a long time, fans of the local band REMINISCENCE filled Cheeky Monkey on January 5th. And they were not disappointed by them. Playing many familiar songs, the all instrumental band helped us keep warm with toe tapping tunes such as Stevie Wonder's 'Isn't She Lovely' and especially 'Superstition'. Another favourite was the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars hit 'Uptown Funk'. Their playlist was perfectly suited for Reminiscence who rely on bass guitar, drums, keyboard, saxophone and trombone to jazz up their song selections. I had many listeners comment on how enjoyable it was to hear them, including music teacher and musician Al Weiss. He gave them high praise and encouraged them to reach even further to lift their performances to the next level he is sure they can attain. Hopefully, in the future, you will get chances to see and hear them again. With four of the ...

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December 2017 First Friday Ripping Up with Cordcalling

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December 2017 First Friday...

London ON  Cordcalling consisting of husband and wife duo Denise on drums and Brian of guitar, were our in-store entertainment for the evening of the December 1, 2017 First Friday.  Doing several interesting cover songs with their own distinctive growl and roar to them, along with originals, many customers compared them to The White Stripes, especially as they were doing a White Stripes song.  Some of the other covers they did were U2 'Streets With No Name' where Denise's vocals very much reminded us of Patti Smith and a version of The Beatles 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' that had an urgency and abruptness to it that made it distinctly their own. Along with these and other covers, they performed many originals from their most recent album release called 'We Are Still' . A quote by  Jason Schnieder of the Kitchener Record newspaper describes them very well. This husband-and-wife rock duo is ...

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Wild Cards Rocked Cheeky Monkey for Nov. First Friday

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Wild Cards Rocked Cheeky...

First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey: Fun With a Group of Wild Cards by Brian Hay The difference a change in personnel creates within a band can be amazing, especially if the musician who comes in is a strong one. That was definitely the case with Wild Cards, the group that played at the Cheeky Monkey for this month’s First Friday celebration. The playing of guitarist Sara Campbell, bass player Scott Vegh and drummer Gerry Hawley and how they meshed together was known well enough to think there might be an idea of what to expect. The first few seconds of their work proved how wrong that notion was emphatically. The entry of singer Renee Card altered things in ways that couldn’t be predicted. Part of the reason is that she’s an exceptional singer but citing that as the only factor would be an oversimplification. She brings a touch to the delivery ...

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Magic Music from Missy & Sue for Oct. 2017 First Friday

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Magic Music from Missy &...

Review of October 6, 2017 First Friday event featuring Missy Burgess & Sue Webber written by Brian Hay. First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey was fun and the music was great. That's sort of a "given" when the people playing are Missy Burgess and Sue Webber though. They delivered a mix of original material and covers with flair and a spirit of joy that both communicate beautifully. Originals such as 'Missy's Blues' and 'Don't Go To Cincinnati' shone. Covers such as 'Smile' were played with such warmth as to become beacons of light. That's one of the things music can accomplish though and these ladies work toward that. The sweetest moments came when they did harmony work together. That's something they'll hopefully do more of in the future. And of course there was Missy's (almost obligatory at this point and it's a great thing) nod to Tom Waits. 'Chocolate Jesus' and 'The Last Leaf On The Tree' (the piece he ...

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The HJ’s Easy Us Into Fall During Sept. First Friday

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The HJ’s Easy Us Into...

The HJ's performance at Cheeky Monkey during the September 2017 First Friday was a night filled with pleasant surprises. Being a new duo that started playing together only 10 month ago, Harold Collins and Justin Hayes did not really have any kind of reputation to precede them.  From what I had been informed, they were mainly an acoustic act.  Well not for this night.  Also, I mention they are a duo.  Again, not for this night.  The drummer was an unexpected pleasant surprise on many levels.  Chloe Kendel was not only a very new addition this being only her second time playing with Harold & Justin, but she is only 16 years old.  We have known Chloe for many years as a regular customer we always look forward to seeing in the store.  We had no idea she was a drummer - and a really good one at that. During the HJ's ...

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