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First Friday’ Category

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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November 2015 First Friday review – Quiet Mind &...

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November 2015 First Friday...

Quiet Mind: Contemporary Acoustic with Style Live at the Cheeky Monkey for Sarnia's November First Friday Celebration by Brian Hay They also had something to say, which is the most important thing. That the members of Quiet Mind, singer and guitarist James Hill and lead guitarist Pat Rice, were concerned with performing more than just filler was clear even from the covers they chose. One group whose material they obviously liked exploring was the work done by Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam. "An Elderly Lady Behind the Counter in a Small Town" was an absolute nugget for Pearl Jam with its richly unfolding portrayal of the two people who meet in the scenario conjured within the music. The interpretation Hill and Rice gave it wasn't Pearl Jam's and it wasn't anyone else's. Hill's singing captured the yearning that inevitably surfaces when one hearkens toward distant but fond memories. Rice threaded wonderfully melodic ...

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October 2015 Nugget of a First Friday

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October 2015 Nugget of a First...

Sarnia's First Friday Celebration October 2015: El Camino at The Cheeky Monkey Review and  Photos By Brian Hay One of life's lessons: Things don't always go as planned. That was the situation for the owners of the Cheeky Monkey and the members of El Camino on Friday night. Singer and rhythm guitarist Scott Whyte had been fighting laryngitis all week and was just beginning to get his voice back. Cancelling would have been understandable but it wasn't what anyone wanted to do. Playing could be done, but sparingly. The trio opted to go for it. Another lesson: If the band isn't giving up the audience shouldn't either. [Scott] Whyte may have felt like he was having to bribe his vocal chords to keep him company but his musical skills and understanding of the songs wasn't diminished in the least. He has good control over his pitch so his singing was still even and wanting to ...

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Erika & Sara & Guys @ Lawrence House – Sept....

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Erika & Sara & Guys ...

Erika and Sara and The Guys at The Lawrence House: Sarnia First Friday September 5, 2015 as reported & photographed by BRIAN HAY This band is tighter and more self-assured each time out. Seeing it in their playing is easy because it's showing in their individual skills and and in what they do collectively. Bass guitarist Scott Vegh has melody and timekeeping firmly in place and does so with a discreet tone that allows the rest of the band to sit evenly over top of the foundation he provides. Drummer Gerry Hawley has a looseness in his style that plays out with sharp, but unforced timekeeping, and generous, but unobtrusive acrobatics, that fit nicely in the pocket. Sara Campbell has the drive in her rhythm playing back to the fore and is providing a thrust between the work of Gerry and Scott. She's doing more harmony singing as well and it creates ...

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Sizzling Hot September First Friday with Mike Blackmore...

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Sizzling Hot September First...

"ZENBOMB" - Mike Blackmore Group at Cheeky Monkey - September 4, 2015 First Friday - as reported by Brian Hay... Mike Blackmore with Dan Martin and Chris Molyneaux: First Friday for Labour Day Weekend at the Cheeky Monkey The finale here was more than worth waiting for. Singer/guitarist Mike Blackmore plunged into his music with the fervour of an individual afraid that he might never have a chance to play the songs that way again. Bass player Dan Martin was perfectly in step with everything he did. Mike's playing, always percussive in nature, was emphatic, with his expression raw in its directness and the changes he signalled marked with an extra level of force. Dan's bass was set louder than usual and he used the volume to emphasize the melody in the songs while keeping the timekeeping end of his work crisp. Chris Molyneaux played as if he was on fire. Watching him ...

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EL CAMINO @ Cheeky Monkey Oct. First Friday

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EL CAMINO @ Cheeky Monkey Oct....

October 2, 2015 - October 2, 2015 Cheeky Monkey Map and Directions | Register Description: Over the years of being a premiere venue for  Sarnia's downtown First Friday Cultural Walkabouts, Roland and Mary Anne have had  the honour of hosting many wonderful  musicians and visual artists.  The evening of local entertainment has proven to be mutually beneficial for all involved, including for the audiences in attendance.  Acts and artists of all ages have been part of the eventst exposing Sarnia's local talent to a wider audience than they previously had. For the October 2 First Friday, Cheeky Monkey, located at 130 Christina Street North is pleased to welcome back EL CAMINO playing live from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  Consisting of singer and rhythm guitarist Scott Whyte, lead and rhythm player Marvin Eskritt and percussionist Steve Bird they are a tight three piece group. Local music reviewer Brian Hay had this to say about their previous performance ...

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