For months one of my buddies has been trying to get me to see one of his favorite local bands. I finally got off of my ass last Sunday evening and headed to The Cameron House to catch The Pocket Co. And holy crap, am I glad that I did!
The five piece band warmed up with Merle Haggard's "(Tonight) The Bottle Let Me Down." Note, if you are a band that is new to me, you will always catch my attention by playing The Hag. Not that The Pocket Co. is a country music band. Far from it. But they are way too diverse to pigeonhole into one genre. They combine elements of country, funk, blues, soul, and rock, sometimes all at the same time. Some of their songs have a Steely Dan 70s-rock feel, which others are straight up James Brown soul. They are amazingly talented musicians, with each band member taking turns at solos on their respective instruments: guitar, bass, piano, drums, or bad-ass vocal solos.
Here is one of their videos which I really dig because it mostly takes place in my 'hood in Toronto. And yes, the dude's hair is real.
I was exceptionally blown away by the presence of Don Francks, who recently joined the band. At the time I didn't know the name "Don Francks," but upon researching this post I gave myself a big "Duh!" Francks is 78-years-young, and has a better vocal range than professional singers one third of his age. Pay attention you American Idol chumps! He's had a 60-some year singing, dancing, acting, performing with everyone from Ian Tyson to Fred Astaire. He's acted in numerous films, television shows, and live stage productions; his IMDb entry has 134 acting appearances! And now he's hanging out with musicians young enough to be his grandchildren at the freakin' Cameron. Amazing. Last Sunday he sang a killer rendition of Tom Waits "$29.00" which I am sure would have blown Waits himself away. He introduced one other song (I'm blanking on the name) by saying, "the first time I heard this song Bessie Smith sang it." Wow. Here is a great article about Francks from CBC.
The Pocket Co. perform every Sunday evening from 6 to 8 at The Cameron House (408 Queen St. West) except for the first Sunday of each month. Their most recent album is called Saturday Night at Morley Gibson's. It was recorded a few years ago, and I actually think that they sound much, much better live than they do on the album. So get off your ass this Sunday, January 31, and join me at the Cameron. The Stupid Bowl is next week (Feb. 7), so you have no excuses! Both the live show and their album are "Pay What You Can." Bring lots of Toonies!
Pay for Your Sins.mp3
All I'm Doin' (Is You).mp3
Buy (CD Baby): Saturday Night at Morley Gibson's (2006)