Last Sunday in Toronto was one of those perfect summer/fall transition days where it was 65F/18C and not a cloud in the sky. I headed to the Queen West Art Crawl and the Trinity Bellwoods Outdoor Art Show to enjoy the weather.
After cruising around the artist's tents for a while, I came across a groovy band entertaining the Queen West crowd. The band called Mr. Something Something was performing on the south side of Queen St. between Stranchan Ave. and Gore Vale Ave., but facing north towards Trinity-Bellwoods park such that the people in the park could sit on the hill and watch the band. Every time a streetcar or a large van or truck drove by the music was temporarily muted.
Mr. Something Something plays what people call "Afrobeat" which is something of a mix of funk, soul, and jazz. Regular readers (all six of you) will know that this normally isn't my style of music, but it was perfect for a spectacular sunny day. It made me feel like sitting on a patio and drinking a large cocktail in a pineapple shaped goblet with a bunch of foo-foo umbrellas sticking out of it, all while getting a very nice sunburn.
The band consists of a funky bass and drum rhythm section, plus electric guitar, and tenor and baritone saxophones. Bari sax is one of my favorite instruments, and both of these sax players could wail on their horns. The lead singer manically danced around, played the shekere (which is another of my favorite instruments, because you get to shake your ass while you play it, see right), and encouraged the audience to join in the Queen West dance party (but watch out for traffic).
What was most remarkable about this dance party though, was the fact that it was powered by bicycles. Various stationary bike trainers (enough for ten bikes I believe) were set up so that one could set their bike onto the trainer, pedal, and thus power the amplifiers. See Mr. Something Something's Sound Cycle section of their web site for more information. Totally cool! If my bike hadn't been in the bike hospital that weekend I would have been powering the show. See how its done on the below video.
Mr. Something Something has a new CD out called Shine Your Face, which I very much recommend. They are playing tonight (September 26) at the Sliver Dollar in Toronto, on Friday, October 2, at the Rainbow Bistro in Ottawa, and on Saturday, October 3, at the Neat Cafe in Burnstown, and in various places in the US in October. See their tour schedule for more details.
Coincidentally, The Globe and Mail has an article on Mr. Something Something's pedal-powered dance parties in today's issue. Read the article here.
Buy: Shine Your Face (2009)