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About "james-reaney"

James Reaney has covered everything from operas to Neil Young concerts to baseball's World Series in more than 30 years at The London Free Press. These days, he concentrates on London entertainment in his Saturday Today section column and Forest City lore in Monday's My London column. He is the host of two weekly lfpress.com videos, Reaney's Pick, most often a one-take vehicle for London performers, and It's On, a guide to the best of the local scene. He also keeps a blog http://blogs.canoe.ca/brandnewblog/ about the London arts scene & his place in it.

The Mongrels to rawk The Reeg

- April 23rd, 2014

Mongrels set list Nov

Mongrels’ setlist at the old Brennan’s … Nov. 1, 2012, taken with trusty BlackBerry, which later drowned in the Ionian Sea.

JBNBlog is delighted to learn The Mongrels will be rawkin The Reeg on Saturday (April 26) . . . details from Corinne Marshall follow.

In a recent encounter, Mongrels’ Robert & Joel indicated many new songs had been learned, somewhat dismaying JBNBlog who has always praised the M’s setlist as the best in London . . . & how do you top that. why tinker with it?

Not to worry, our heroes rejoined. No one will recognize the new songs, either. Hmm. Double hmm. Because in recent LFP coverage of Record Store Day, JBNBlog studiously left The Village Idiot (home to Robert, occasionally Joel etc) off the list under the (perhaps false) impression The VId looked askance at the celebration because Every. Day. Is. Record. Store. Day. Or something like that . . . if this is wrong, my apologies.

In any get over to the St. Regis, 625 Dundas St., & hear some rockers you may not recognize . . . but they will all be excellent. Because The Mongrels have the best setlist in London. No matter what is on it.

(Over to Corinne) ….



\musical chairs

We’ll be putting on the dog this Saturday, as the Mongrels return once again for another Musical Chairs! “best in show”! This is a band that really shows its mottled markings, trotting out some classic Elvis Costello, a bit of suitably mangy Neil Young and even a touch of the ol’ Diamond Dog himself! Patches of 60s mod and and psychedelia along with some original greats enrich the breed still further! Come get a whiff and see what all the baying is about!

The music starts at around 9 pm and continues until at least midnight. It’s “pay what you will” and you just might be our lucky Sweet Draw winner this week!




Flying high with Damn Pigeon (language alert!)

- April 23rd, 2014

Damn Pigeon lineDamn Pigeon -ReCoop-Cover2Damn Pigeon rawks in an undated photograph, courtesy of the band …. PHOTO CREDIT tbc . . . Re-Coop cover image, at right, courtesy of Damn Pigeon … cover art concept by Jason Latimer, who is also Damn Pidgeon’s drummer

Somehow, Damn Pigeon has been flying under JBNBlog’s radar since about 1991 . . . the excellent St. Thomas band came to attention here thanks to its guitarist/vocalist/producer/recording engineer Joe Edmiston. Joe works for a business also located in the LFP home, 369 York St. & has passed along the band’s fine new recording Re-Coop & provided background material & images used here.

Re-Coop is a damfine album … lotsa butt-kicking drive & guitar (Joe & his allies) & #ldnont ace Doug Weir can shout & scream with the best of them … extra nod to Jason Latimer. From background material, it appears Jason joined DP after helping Wuud claim the No. 10 spot in the 2012 Free Press list of London albums.

(Language alert appropriate here) …

Lyrically, there is an “otherwise” to go with the (perhaps inevitable) “gypsy woman” (unless JBNBlog’s ears are worse than usual) … & the transition from the slow doomed & determined Who Cares? to the defiant “asshole people leading Asshole Lives”  proves Damn Pigeon has its anger all the way up to 11 as needed.

Also intriguing is the eerie monaural start to Re-Coop called I’m Down … anyone know the story behind that? Sounds great as if its fading in from some other long[-lost planet of metal.

Meanwhile, here’s a JBNBlog geographic (or geological) theory of London-region rawk . . .  St. Thomas produces more terrific bands than many bigger places. Any thoughts on that — or why it might be?

Now, for many details on Damn Pigeon from someone who knows them well. Happily, QMI Agency colleague Eric Bunnell, a St. Thomas Times-Journal ace, has been on the Damn Pigeon case  for quite some time . . . here’s Eric’s take on the  Damn Pigeon’s rawkin gigs in its hometown & #ldnont on the weekend …

* Damn Pigeon unfolds its wings April 26 at The Princess Banquet Hall, 18 Princess Ave. (former Elgin Labour Temple) for a hometown age-of-majority party to release the guitar- rock band’s new CD, Re- Coop. Sample at http://www.reverbnation.com/damnpigeon.Opening is east Elgin’s Uncertain Children. Doors 8 p.m. Tickets in advance at Shoppers Drug Mart, 410 Talbot St., and Bell’s BookBin, and at the door. Damn Pigeon flies the next night to London and Norma Jean’s, 1332 Huron St., for a benefit for Lolafest. They’re on stage at 6 p.m. The group returns May 9 to the venue for a London CD launch with Zen Blender.

Here is Eric setting the scene for Re-Coop . . .

Meanwhile, Damn Pigeon is back with the StT-based guitar-rock group’s sophomore album, Re-Coop.
The new recording, released this week as a CD and available online, as well, is a followup to 2010 debut album Dismal Reviews.
With Re-Coop, Damn Pigeon has had time to recoup from loss of frontman Steve Phillips, whose cancer diagnosis was all too new as the band rushed to complete its first album. He died the day after the CDs were delivered.
Though Dismal Reviews was a well-received album whose title is far from the truth, Pigeon Steve Proud, who is bass and vocals with the band, says he feels the recording suffered a typical fault of first songs: you try to stuff everything you have into each one.
Steve is happy the band in Re-Coop takes time to explore its music. Hey, for hard rockers, some of their dozen new songs almost are ballads.
They began recording last August in Pigeon Joe Edmiston’s studio with Joe producing. He’s guitars and vocals.
Fronting the group since Steve is Doug Weir, of London, who was lead vocalist for Syre, Canadian rockers on the A&M Records label in the ’80s and ’90s. Music’s a small world and he was a friend of a friend when he signed on in 2011.
Damn Pigeon also is Steve Proctor, guitars, and Jason Latimer, drums.
An independent release through CDBaby.com,
Re-Coop is available through iTunes, Amazon and other online music retailers. CDs at the three Shoppers Drug Mart stores in town, and Bell’s BookBin.


Here’s background from the band …

Damn Pigeon is a versatile guitar-rock band from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. First formed in 1991 by guitarist Klaus Spaleta and vocalist Steve Phillips, the band gigged fairly regularly through a couple of lineup changes until early 1996, playing a blend of original songs and covers. These shows helped to build a strong local following and garnered some good press reviews.

The band’s 1996 split was amicable, and was accompanied by the vague promise to get back together in the future to record the original songs.

In 2009, the time arrived to get Damn Pigeon off the ground again. Joe Edmiston had built himself a nice home studio. The stars aligned and lead vocalist Steve Phillips, bassist Steve Proud, guitarist/vocalist/producer/recording engineer Joe Edmiston, drummer Rob Beecroft, and guitarist Steve Proctor got together to ‘finally finish the record’.

During the pre-production work on what would become the band’s first album – ‘Dismal Reviews’, lead singer Steve Phillips was diagnosed with cancer. A new urgency was added to completing the recordings, with Steve doing all his parts between debilitating treatments and surgery. Phillips passed away shortly after the release of the album.

Laid low by the death of their friend and band-mate, the guys took some time off to grieve, rest and reflect. Little could be done to promote ‘Dismal Reviews’, because without a singer the band could not perform live. Before Phillips passed away, it had been decided by all that the band would continue – with Phillips joking at one point that “We should call this band ‘Damn Phoenix’ – because it’s always rising up from the ashes…” In January 2011, the band posted an ad looking for a new front-man.

After three months and several auditions – a resolution to the situation. In April 2011, Damn Pigeon announced Doug Weir as the band’s new lead vocalist. Weir is a consummate professional who brings substantial talent and experience to the table, through his tenure as the lead vocalist for (A&M Recording Artists) Syre. Doug is an excellent singer, a very creative song-writing collaborator, a clear and concise communicator, and a rascally raconteur of great road stories.

The band got a live set together, played some shows, and wrote several new songs.

In spring of 2013, Jason Latimer of Wuud and Fool’s Day Parade joined the flock as drummer. Damn Pigeon began rehearsing and writing with him in preparation for the recording of the band’s new album.

The sessions for Damn Pigeon’s second album began on the August long weekend, 2013. Twelve new tracks were recorded at Joe Edmiston’s studio. Edmiston produced, recorded, engineered and mixed them. Seigfried Meier at Beach Road Mastering mastered the disc, titled Re-Coop. The new album features a number of stylistic departures for the band and showcases their sonic versatility.

Damn Pigeon is: Joe Edmiston – Guitars and Vocals, Doug Weir – Guitars and Lead Vocals, Steve Proctor – Guitars, Steve Proud – Bass Guitars, Jason Latimer – Drums

Here again is QMI Agency colleague Eric Bunnell, this time on a 2011 benefit the band organized  . . .

When STEVE PHILLIPS died — too young — from cancer, his family and friends, quite understandably, were left frustrated by it all.

Steve was a talented singer in a couple of local bands, Damn Pigeon and Justice Priest; a good friend of many; a guy with a career as a real estate agent; a husband and a father of two. He might have been 45.

“You’re frustrated — you want to scream,” says SUE MCKITTRICK, whose husband, JOE EDMISTON, is also Damn Pigeon.

So scream they did. Loud and long . . . and for a good cause.

They organized SCREAM FOR A CURE, one heck of a rock marathon. Steve’s bands and his many musical friends raised the roof at what today is Kenny Iguana’s and also raised $10,700 in support of patient care at the London Regional Cancer Clinic.

“It came together so quickly last year,” Sue says on the phone before she has to dash to pick up the kids from school.

“Everyone was grieving. And we decided to do a fundraiser.”

A year later, the organizing committee is tuning up for Scream 2. It’s Oct. 1 at Kenny Iguana’s ( KEN KOKKO being a local musician and a great supporter of the local music scene). Sixteen bands, including Damn Pigeon, Justice Priest and Bobnoxious, are donating their talents for an afternoon and night to remember, starting at noon.

Sadly, they have all the more reason to scream this year . . . committee member SUE SPALETA died of cancer, too, in the past year. She was maybe in her mid-40s. (Both Steve’s wife, Kathy, and Sue’s husband, Nick, are organizers, too.)

The funder is to raise money this year for the Gene Goodreau Patient Assistance Fund at LRCC. It helps cover out-of-pocket expenses that cancer patients face . . . things you don’t really think about but which add up, like childcare and parking at the hospital.



A salute to Meaghan Smith & a quiz

- April 22nd, 2014

Meaghan Smith WT_ILLUMINAQUA_3407_16_06_2012T011045

 Meaghan Smith performs during the second IlluminAqua concert of the season, Friday, June 15, 2012 in Welland, Ont. The Juno award-winning artist opened the show for Canadian vocalist Jill Barber.

JBNBlog needs to play catchup with Meaghan Smith’s new album . . .  Have A Heart is out today . . . & needs to be tracked down pronto

Here’s what the former Londoner had to say about its impending arrival a couple of weeks ago on meaghansmith.com . . .

It’s finally happening!! Physical copies of my full length album Have A Heart will be available everywhere on April 22nd! Yes, I will ship worldwide! You can Pre-Order the CD, or Vinyl with Bonus CD now and receive the album’s first single and the title track, “Have A Heart” digitally. And as an exclusive bonus, the first 200 Pre-Orders will receive a CD booklet autographed by yours truly.

Have A Heart will be available digitally within Canada exclusively on iTunes the same day. You can see the album trailer right now to get a preview of the second single from the album, “Mirror”! Check it all out here! (here as in her home base in the Halifax area. . . on her website . . .  JBNBlog)

Here is our Meaghan Smith quiz du jour to celebrate Have  A Heart’s arrival:

1) When Meaghan Smith won the best new artist Juno, two other former Londoners were also contenders. Name them . . . & for bonus point add details about the relative “newness”of all three London-tied aces in the category.

2) Name two schools she attended in London.

3) That ace guitarist with her in the Welland photograph is Jason Mingo . . . what is her sweet on-stage nickname for him?

The usual prizes await as the celeb judges play the Meaghan Smith we do have around the basement.

Go Meaghan go Jason . . . .& come  back  to #ldnont soon.

Johnny Clegg @Aeolian Hall & a setlist & quiz

- April 21st, 2014

Johnny Clegg Aeolian Hall

Johnny Clegg, centre, and Mandisa Dlanga, at right . . . taken at Aeolian Hall, April 17, 2014 with trusty BlackBerry

The Johnny Clegg concert under the Sunfest banner at Aeolian Hall on Thursday was triumph . . . JBNBlog was only vaguely aware of this great South African artist-activist & am happy to have discovered him at last.

Excellent songs & band, undeniable rhythms & memorable dancing from the crowd . . . .& performers visiting #lndont who can speak truth about Nelson Mandela’s heroic place in the universe are too rare.

Opening act was his son Jesse Clegg, who told us he was playing unplugged versions of his rock songs … again, the perfect pulse & beat was there & made him a champ in the Jason Mraz division (to these ears).

Here’s a Johnny Clegg in London quiz … a friend who was there both times said Clegg played the old Spoke setup at Western in 1983 and 1988 . . . Clegg recalled the 1988 gig (if not the locale or city) because of something that happened to the drummer’s hair on that visit. What was it? The celeb judges are willing to be impressed by the most fiery details you can provide .

Here’s the setlist . . . . song titles as printed on the list:

Johnny Clegg (London, ON Aeolian Hall April 17, 2014)

1. Heart Of The Dancer

2. I Call Your Name

3. Take My Heart Away

4. Giyani

5. Bullets For Bafazane

6. Kilimanjaro

7. Malonjeni

8. Africa

9. Digging For Some Words

10. Circle Of Light

11. The Crossing

12. Tuff Enuff

13. Great Heart

14. Scatterlings

15. Cruel Crazy


16. Asimbonanaga

17. Dela



TV wasteland, it’s all a TV wasteland:* PBS summer Mysteries

- April 18th, 2014


David Tennant Escape Artist


David Tennant as The Escape Artist (judging by the un-Dr. Who like look) . . . courtesy of pbs.org

JBNBlog is happy to pass along news of what PBS has in the summer Masterpiece Mystery lineup . . . but is much more concerned about The Bletchley Circle & its fate over in Britain …

Here are details on the summer schedule thanks to pbs.org . . .

News: MASTERPIECE 2014 Summer Schedule

Summer 2014 promises to sizzle as detectives, defense lawyers and doctors bring intriguing and stylish mysteries and drama to MASTERPIECE! David Tennant opens the MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! season with The Escape Artist, favorite sleuths Endeavour Morse and Hercule Poirot return with all new episodes, and Jack Davenport stars in the 1960s London medical drama, Breathless.


David Tennant in The Escape Artist



Sundays, June 15-22, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

David Tennant (Former MASTERPIECE Contemporary host, Doctor Who) stars as a brilliant defense lawyer with a storybook family and a potent nickname, “The Escape Artist,” for his ability to spring the obviously guilty. Then he gets a trial that changes his life forever. This gripping legal thriller costars Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) as the hero’s rival, along with a courtroom full of ambitious attorneys and one very unnerving defendant.



Sundays, June 29 to July 20, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

Before INSPECTOR MORSE, there was the rookie Constable Morse. Shaun Evans returns for a second season with four all-new mysteries as young Endeavour Morse, before his signature red Jaguar…but with his deductive powers already running in high gear.



Sundays, July 27 to August 3, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

David Suchet returns in his signature role as suave Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot in two new mysteries, The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly, based on the novels by Agatha Christie. Whether he’s on holiday abroad, taking a countryside break or simply going about his business, Poirot exercises his “little grey cells” by helping police investigate crimes and murders — whether they ask for his help or not.


Sundays, August 24 to September 7, 2014. 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

In this stylish and compelling new medical drama set in London in 1961, Jack Davenport (Smash, Pirates of the Caribbean) stars as a brilliant surgeon who believes he can make a difference in women’s lives.

(Back to JBNBlog) . . .

Meanwhile, there is another episode of The Bletchley Circle  (beloved by JBNBlog) on Sunday 10 p.m. ( better check) … here’s depressing news from Milton Keynes, England via mkweb.co.uk about its being cancelled by ITV in Britain …

The Bletchley Circle, filmed at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, has been axed by ITV.

The period drama, starring the lady nerds Anna Maxwell-Martin, Rachael Stirling and Julie Graham, was set in the early 1950s and focused on four women who worked at the wartime code-breaking centre Bletchley Park.

Series two of the hit ITV drama attracted more than 4 million viewers per episode on ITV in January.

New this year is Wren Bombe Operator Alice Merren, played by Olivier award nominated actress Hattie Morahan, who’s plunged into mortal peril as the series begins.

Despite the success, cast members including Julie Graham have re-tweeted the news of the axing, and encouraged viewers to protest the decision.

A ITV spokesman said: “ITV has decided not to pursue a further series as we continue to refresh the mix of drama available to our viewers.”

MKWeb have requested a comment from Bletchley Park,
Read more: http://www.mkweb.co.uk/News/Leisure/Social-media-campaign-after-The-Bletchley-Circle-reportedly-axed-by-ITV-20140416210000.htm#ixzz2zF4GVJSg

*An occasional series (with a derivative title — Who knows where it came from  – devoted to what’s on TV channels available in northwest London on the old over-the-air, bunny ears basis of bygone days — ie. TVO, CBC French, CBC, CTV Two (aka CFPL), CTV, City, the Omnis, CTS & CHCH … & sometimes WQLN (PBS Erie & London) & TFO if needed.