Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bona Fide Rock & Roll With Automan.ca

1 comments
Well, I must say that this is a time of year that I sometimes love and sometimes just the opposite.  You see it all depends not only on what the weather is doing outside but more importantly how old I'm turning that year.  My birthday is on April 10th and by some odd twist of weird fate so is esteemed colleague Wallygator Norton's.  This year was the big 4-0 for me and I was not sure how I felt about it, but the day passed quietly with me at work and that was just fine by me.  Wally and I had plans on Friday April 12th to ring in our own birthday celebration "Decibel Geek style".  We struck out in the early afternoon of Friday, meeting in down town Toronto and perusing shops like HMV (a large CD store), World's Biggest Bookstore and used record stores searching for deals and treasures of our youth, basically killing time wandering up and down Yonge Street, Toronto and along Queen Street to Steve's Music as well.  Things that neither of us had done for a long time.  It was an awesome way to spend the afternoon with my Hoser Heavy Metal Twin.  We ended our adventures at The Hard Rock Cafe at Yonge and Dundas.  This was not just a random place that we chose to stop and enjoy an icy cold adult beverage, there was of course an ulterior motive and the reason for our birthday celebrations.  Good friend and former KiLLeR DWaRf, Darrell Millar was set to play there that very evening with his new band Automan.ca.  Not only that, but it was the world video première for their latest effort called Bona Fide from the Backseat Surprise CD released in 2012. (BONA FIDE VIDEO)

We sat at the bar and ordered a beverage hearing Automan's sound check in the room upstairs over the din of the restaurant.  Guitarist Carleton Lockhart and drummer Adrian Cavan came in after the sound check and took seats farther down the bar for dinner as we drained our bottles and headed upstairs the minute the doors opened.  It was only 8pm and the first band was not set to hit the stage until 10pm, so plenty of time for drinking and chatting (Wally and I's conversations have a habit of branching out in several directions and tangents, which you may have heard some of if you listened to podcast episode #59 where the Canadians take over the airwaves).  As we occupied a booth in the back corner front man and former KiLLeR DWaRfS skin basher Darrell Millar joined us.  Our conversation ranged from things like promoting a rock show, to my "in progress" full sleeve tattoo (which incorporates the KiLLeR DWaRfS logo among others), to when the Dwarfs opened for Saxon, to eating healthy and getting old.  Darrell really appreciates his fans and is a genuinely cool guy.  Bassist John Fenton joined us for a short time as well before Darrell had to head down stairs and grab something to eat before the "window of eating" slammed closed.  I quickly browsed the merchandise table, wanting to add new swag to my previously purchased Automan.ca t shirt and Wally was all smiles as he displayed his newly purchased "spoils of war".

Wildheart was the first band on and they started up promptly at 10pm.  The first thing I took notice of was the female bass player.  Women in rock bands are always sexy, but nothing beats a lady playing bass for me.  I don't know why that instrument over others, maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm beginning to learn to play bass guitar with Wally as my teacher.  My Lady of the Bass appeared to be a bit timid or shy up on stage while the singer was lapping up the attention and seemed very Black Crowesish to me in looks, at least that’s what came to my mind anyway.  One guitarist resembled Ron Keel a little bit while the other could have played a role on the sitcom TV series That 70’s Show.  One thing was for sure though, while they may have looked 
a bit eclectic through my birthday beer goggles, they certainly sounded great as they punched through their all original opening set.  They treated us to songs such as the lead-off of Running Hot, Gypsy Soul, I Know You Will, Gone (a new song, we were informed), Silver Bullet Truth and a couple of others.  The Black Crowes looking singer showcased his wacky dance moves, exhibiting a high energy throughout the set, sometimes falling to his knees on the stage in a very expressive and entertaining set by this new to me band that I will look for in the future. (WILDHEART on FACEBOOK)

A little behind schedule, such is a rock & roll show, the world première of the brand new Automan video for Bona Fide danced across the large drop down screen in front of the stage at about 11pm.  The video was announced by the Hard Rock’s manager and she was proud to let us all know that portions of the video had been filmed on this very stage.  It must be a night for me to pick out look-a-likes, I thought as I noticed that Darrell quite closely resembled Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean during the video as the crowd studied the giant screen.  The huge applause response as the video première drew to a close was a tell tale sign that the audience was impressed with the Bona Fide video. (BONA FIDE VIDEO)

Automan took the stage after the screen was retracted to it’s home in the ceiling and started out with One Half Hard from the Pocket Change release.  The sound at this venue was great and the boys were playing with real vigour this evening.  Darrell himself was playing up to the crowd, crouching down to look us in the eyes, very charismatic front man and it’s great to see him leading the band.  The former KiLLeR DWaRfS drummer lead Automan.ca into Dig In Deep and Sweaty Hand of Fate next.  Darrell then told all the guys to go and "take a piss because you certainly won’t like this one" and I do have to question the lyrics to Cinnamon Rain, ”She’s got rainbow flavour in her eyes” just what the hell is that…lol?  During Loose Lips, Darrell left the stage and went into the audience to sing to two ladies before returning as they rolled into Livin' Bitter Better.  Darrell announced that the next song was even featured in a movie and I knew right away that we would hear Mill Dog Blues next.  I had recently watched the movie, The Hit List, I think it was called and Mill Dog Blues is featured in a scene in a bar. (THE HIT LIST TRAILER).  Stellar guitarist Carleton Lockhart was obviously a big fan of the closing band, Joe Solo (who also comes highly recommended by Darrell during our earlier conversation) as on several occasions he could be seen waving a Joe Solo T-shirt held over his head during song interludes.  Automan
often goes on stage earlier in the evening and has a band close out the stage after them.  This is a rather unique approach as usually the headlining band closes the show, but they are not alone as fellow Canadians Brighton Rock also do the same.  It gives the band a chance to celebrate with their audience after the set and watch a great band themselves.  Now it was time to hear Bona Fide and then my favourite Automan track of Back In The SunRock It Together brought Darrell out into the crowd again and again I marvelled at the former drummer’s front man skills as he took a seat on the front of the stage banging on a cowbell during Forty-FiveDown to the Bone and Porno Queen came before the show closer of Drivin’, Rockin’ Lovin’.  During the last song five or six ladies were dancing down in front of the stage.  At the close of the set while Automan.ca began breaking down their equipment, a pair of panties ended up on stage.  I didn't see who, or just where they came from unfortunately, but drummer Adrian "hammed" it up a bit by pulling them on over his jeans as he carried his gear off of the stage.

With already having several birthday adult beverages in our systems and both having to work early the next day we opted to depart and start the trek home, unfortunately missing the last band of Joe Solo.  Although we cut the evening a little short, it was a great birthday and Automan.ca never fails to deliver their brand of 70's infused southern style rock and roll. (AUTOMAN.CA on FACEBOOK)


Cheers,
The Meister

1 comment:

Kate Campbell said...

Great review!! I always loved the Dwarfs!! Now that I know this is Darryl's band I will check them out ASAP. Thanks for the great article!!

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