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First Friday’ Category

Tasty Layers of Entertainment for Sept. 2016 First Friday

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Tasty Layers of Entertainment...

From D Wayne to Flatheads with a dash of colourful art and a pinch of Rock of Ages musical thrown in, the September 2, 2016 First Friday was a tasty blend of entertainment. The newest art exhibit and sale titled "The Onset" by Bill Walters once again showcases his talent for capturing the beauty that is all around us in the great outdoors. Whether it be a close study of a phlox plant in full bloom or a downriver oil refinery, Bill manages to find the stately elegance of the subject matter. His use of colour is impressive in that it is vibrant and understated at the same time. All that is mastered while sitting outside in the elements and creating his pieces quickly before his "model" changes. On top of his works being pleasing to the eye, they are pleasing to the wallet too. Every piece is very reasonable priced making ...

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First Friday Debut of Lost in Translation @ Cheeky Monkey

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First Friday Debut of Lost in...

The local band Lost in Translation is young in age, but mature in talent.  When we booked the band to play for the August 5, 2016 First Friday, we knew they had only been together for a short time.  As a matter of fact, guitarist Peter McKeown had just joined a few months previous to their playing here.  Original members, vocalist/guitar player Colin Mariuz,  percussionist Tyler Edwards, backup vocalist/bass guitarist Josh Valenti, have know each other for many years, but starting playing music together in just the last 8 months.  In that short time, they have amassed a long playlist with several being added in the last month when they realized they were playing for 2 hours.  And play for 2 hours they did - without a break at any point. The majority of their songs were covers of classic rock with stand outs like 'Voodoo Child' where they let their inner Hendrix ...

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The Gypsy Flats Cheeky Monkey Debut

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The Gypsy Flats Cheeky Monkey...

Despite the first half of the July First Friday evening being rainy and the date being a week after the first Friday on the calander due to Canada Day, there was a decent turn out for the local band THE GYPSY FLATS Cheeky Monkey debut.  Those that braved the elements were treated to a band that certainly knows what they are doing on many levels. With an extensive playlist ranging from newer hits to classics, they had something to please everyone listening.  Most of the lead vocals were done by Cassy Dube, with a few songs being handed over to drummer Ryan Smith and lead guitarist Mike Beauchamp.  All three made choices of songs that suited their voices perfectly with the other two added sweet harmonies as backup.  Not to be left out, bass player Marc Gauthier enhanced the over all sound aptly.  A local seasoned musician made the comment that ...

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JUNE FIRST FRIDAY with MARINOL NATION, BILL WALTERS &...

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JUNE FIRST FRIDAY with MARINOL...

June First Friday with Marniol Nation, Bill Walters & Pat McGill We sure had a room full of talent for the June First Friday at Cheeky Monkey. Local musicians under the name of Marinol Nation provided the entertainment for the night. Below is an in-depth review by blogger, Brian Hay. It was also the opening night of a new art exhibit and sale called "From Here and There" by Bill Walters. With Plein air paintings (painted outside in the moment) ranging from nearby locales such as Canatara Park  to farther points on the compass such as Lake Berkley Florida, our three back walls are a colourful travelogue. Bill's works are not your normal 'landscape' art. To me, they have a dreamy, warm feeling even if they are of a snow field or summer storm building in the clouds.   In the pictures posted here and on our website Photo Gallery (CLICK HERE), ...

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May First Friday with Quiet Mind

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May First Friday with Quiet...

It was a perfect First Friday on May 6, 2016.  All the stars (and weather) aligned to create a festive evening of music at Cheeky Monkey.  The band Quiet Mind returned for the second time.  The first time playing at Cheeky Monkey was in November 2015 as a duo consisting of James Hill and Pat Rice.  This time they  mixed it up a bit by added drummer Nate Ryan (his stage name) in their second set of the evening. Their first set as the duo, they playing mellow acoustic versions such as Tracy Chapman's 'Give Me One Reason' and Blue Rodeo's 'Hasn't Hit Me Yet'.  Both James and Pat are very talented guitarist.  Add in James' slightly husky voice and you have a winning sound. For their second set, drummer Nate  joined them giving them that extra umph to play heavier rock songs such as Oasis 'What's the Story Morning Glory'.  They ...

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Nic Swales WOW’s Everyone on April 2016 First Friday

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Nic Swales WOW’s...

Nic Swales: Subtle Depth that Instills the Desire to Listen First Friday at the Cheeky Monkey, April 1, 2016 by Brian Hay There was a lot of noise in the area immediately outside the Cheeky Monkey. Whether that contributed to the calm and quiet feeling inside the store or not is impossible to say. The contrast was very striking though because the scene inside was so quiet as to appear almost silent by comparison. There was no lack of people but even the usual hum that surrounds a crowd was largely absent. Slowly though, and with a sensibility that bordered on surreal, an essence of music began threading a subtle path to the front of the shop. That was the first sign of what Nic Swales had to offer. If there was one possible complaint it's that he could have been louder. It's a flimsy one however because his audience was listening. And they ...

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Buck Brothers Reunite for March 2016 First Friday

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Buck Brothers Reunite for...

What a fun night taking us all down memory lane with the Fabulous Buck Brothers Reunion Band leading us down the musical path. Not being originally from Sarnia, we were not familiar with the Buck Brothers, but apparently many locals are.  They were a popular band not just in Sarnia, but throughout Ontario in the late 1960's, 70's and into the 80's.  Two of the remaining 'brothers', Orval Cavin on bass guitar and Jack Dunn on rhythm guitar have added three members of another well known local band, Copperstill, to their line up making them the newest "Buck Brothers".  Gerry Ostrihon on drums, Guy Houle on guitar and mulit-instrumentalist Phil Beauchamp rounded out the group. Each of their 2 sets started off with an original song that fit right in with the cover songs they performed, but were so good it left you wanting to hear more of their own music. They don't have ...

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Ta-WANG! and So Delicious! March 2016 First Friday review

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Scott Manery and the Barn Burners: Live at the Cheeky Monkey for Sarnia's First Friday, February 6, 2016 by Brian Hay This article can't have a serious title because the guy the band is named after doesn't take himself seriously. The musical end of things is a serious business for him though. Nobody holds down their part in a band or plays with the level of finesse and sense of effortlessness Scott Manery projected without having spent a lifetime honing skills past the point where most would start wondering why or whether it even mattered. But the fun was there because, in Scott's words, those sounds were "just about the coolest thing he'd ever heard". When they started coming off his fingertips his smiles would have made the one on cats that got the canaries look like the expressions of depressed felines. He really does have that much fun making music. But the ...

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FIRST FIRST FRIDAY OF 2016 WITH BIG HIGHWAY

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FIRST FIRST FRIDAY OF 2016...

The first First Friday of January was anything but typical.  The fact it was technically held on the second Friday of the month due to the statutory holiday of New Years Day being the first unusual circumstance.  The second was the weather.  Higher than normal temperatures with rain made for a soggy evening.  Despite those factors,  those that did come to Sarnia's downtown and into Cheeky Monkey found it very much worth the effort thanks to local band Big Highway. The four piece band featuring James McNaule on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Andrew Germain on lead guitar, Dave Johnston on bass and Ric Brown on drums have a knack for picking the perfect playlist for their vast abilities. Big Highway's love for Can Con (Canadian content) is self evident.  James has the perfect timber and edginess to pull off songs by Tragically Hip with ease.  They did several Wide Mouth Mason ...

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Mike Blackmore beside himself for Dec. First Friday

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Mike Blackmore beside himself...

Review of December 4, 2015 First Friday at Cheeky Monkey written by Brian Hay.  Thank you Brian for attending our events over the year and being kind enough to share you insights into the local live music scene.  For other reviews by Brian CLICK HERE There's still only one Mike Blackmore. The extra "Blackmore" is for the musical persona brought to life by way of the technology used in crafting  backing tracks to free up other facets of his playing. The balance needed to use those devices effectively is a fine one. Overuse can turn a set mechanical, (or as one good friend quipped, "into the special olympics of music"), really fast. Tempering its use with restraint however (and playing off what it conjures astutely) allows good players to open new doors. For Mike (whose idea of variety might actually be climbing back into the box) it opens ways to rethink ...

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