Happy 70th, Horseshoe Tavern: Music Lovers Pick 70 Incredible Concert Moments There

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39. Ian Blurton, Change of Heart/Public Animal/C’mon. “

Link Wray, late ’90s. A crushing rock ‘n’ roll experience that saw the elder Link push the much younger Pansy Division rhythm section and the audience to exhaustion whilst yelling at the soundperson to ‘Turn it up!’ until one side of the PA shut down.”

40. Luke Lalonde, Born Ruffians: “

The Constantines with the Deadly Snakes, Jan. 28th, 2006. I just remember being part of a sweaty single organism of moving bodies under the power of the almighty Constantines.”

41. Ian Gormely, music journalist: “When I moved to Toronto in May of 2008 and was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer volume of live music options. That June’s North By Northeast seemed like as good a place to start as any, so I headed down to the Horseshoe Tavern, a place I’d read about and seen on TV many times, to check out Thomas D’arcy’s band

Small Sins (they had a guy whose main job was to clap, ‘the Clapper,’ beating Noel Gallagher’s scissors player by a decade). After their set I was walking from the back down the stairs to the front part of the bar and looked over to the pool table. Leaning against the wall, holding pool cues were Sloan’s Chris Murphy and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, chatting away. It remains the most Toronto, and probably Canadian, moment I’ve ever had.”

42. Shawn William Clarke, singer/songwriter: “Back in 2003, the

Rheostatics were a band I was finally on the cusp of ‘getting.’ I was so moved by their performance at the Horseshoe that I became a lifelong fan, soon discovering Martin Tielli’s solo record Poppy Salesman, an album that shaped my own music career. At the time, I would never have imagined that over ten years later I’d find myself sharing the very same stage with the full band (and Mary freakin’ Margaret O’Hara!), singing a song written by another Horseshoe legend, Stompin’ Tom Connors.

43. Moe Berg, the Pursuit of Happiness: “I have too many memories about the Horseshoe Tavern to pick one concert. But I will say, seeing the

Pointed Sticks after growing up opening for them out west was a huge moment for me. My old band, the Modern Minds, learned how to be a band opening for them when we were teenagers. Seeing them back onstage decades later, and hearing them sound as good as they ever did was the sweetest piece of nostalgia I’ve ever had.”

44. Karen Bliss, music journalist: “

The Soundtrack of Our Lives in 2002. The band opened for Oasis at the Molson Amphitheatre, sun still out, and then had a midnight show at the ’Shoe. One of the most igniting rock bands of their time and lead singer Ebbot Lundberg was a mesmerizing figure in his caftan. I can’t remember if he stood dangerously atop the bar, like he did at the Opera House, but he did do his usual ask of the audience to go down low to the floor and then jump up. It didn’t seem hokey at the time. The Gallaghers were also in the house. Miss that band.”

45. Noah Fralick, Young Rival. “Craig Laskey took a shot on my first band, the Ride Theory, in 2003 and offered us a support slot in August of that year,

opening for Billy Talent the day their first record came out. It was a New Music Night. Free show. Lineup down the street, one of those epic moments, and somehow our scrappy band from Hamilton had found an undeserved way into the party. I’ve always felt indebted to Craig and The Horseshoe for those early opportunities. It was the start of my long journey in music that shows no signs of stopping.”

46. Shauna DeCartier, Six Shooter Records: “

The Rheostatics. One of the main reasons I am so happy and comfortable on that black-and-white checkerboard dance floor is because of the countless Rheostatics shows I’ve been mesmerized by at the Horseshoe Tavern, especially during their two-week runs in November from 2003-2006. The enigmatic magic of Martin Tielli, the rock solid beauty of Tim Vesely, the creative spirit of Dave Bidini – the divine alchemy of this amazing band makes each night its own wondrous experience.”

47. Hawksley Workman, singer/songwriter. “

The Wooden Stars, maybe 1997? I was feeling like abandoning guitar music. A friend took me to the show. They were supporting their record Mardi Gras and it was the most intense and musical use of guitars I’d ever heard. I didn’t end up selling off my guitars.”

48. Gary Topp, concert and film promoter. “

Suicide, June 3, 1978. Teenage Head opened, their fans hated them, Alan Vega confronted and incited them, they threw chairs, Alan Vega yelled, ‘You’re the biggest f---ing scumbags I ever ran into in my entire f---ing life, man. You make the maniacs in New York City seem like nothing, you’re so f---ing dumb!’ I’ve never witnessed any performance like it, ever.”

49. Elliott Lefko, concert promoter. “I had

Rufus Thomas and Carla Thomas at the ’Shoe. I’m guessing it was around 1987. The show was great. Rufus wore his shorts and sang ‘Walking The Dog’ and Carla was so sweet and did ‘Gee Whiz.’ Not enough people paid and I couldn’t pay the band, but in an act of tremendous compassion, the owner at the time Kenny Sprackman calmly wrote me a cheque and said, ‘You can pay me back next time.’ Angels do exist!”

50. Samantha Taus, Sony Music: “At the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards after-party,

Kesha was in the crowd and got on stage at the Horseshoe and sang OutKast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’ with the

Arkells and

Shad. I’ll never forget that random mix, the energy, and how great it sounded.”

51. Steve Waxman, Warner Music: “How about

The Troggs, June 1978. It was the height of punk and the Toronto scene was ripe. The Troggs came to town and showed them all how to do it. There were long rows of tables in front of the stage and Reg Presley just sauntered down them knocking over everyone’s beers while the band bludgeoned us with sound.”

52. Max Kerman, Arkells. “In 2012

Joel Plaskett played my favourite album of his, Truthfully, Truthfully, top to bottom at the Horseshoe. It was incredible. I’ve seen Joel in every kind of venue, but the Shoe is the perfect club to hear those songs. Perfect album in the perfect room.”

53. Steve Jordan, Polaris Music Prize: “The thing about picking just one favourite Horseshoe gig is that you CAN’T. There are just too many. These ones stand out off the top of my head: every

Hip album release show;

NRBQ, ’98;

Los Lobos, ’96;

Wilco, ’97;

Elliott Smith, ’98;

Golden Smog, ’99. I’m sure if I looked through a database of every show I’d been too other strong moments would come flooding back and this list would be altered. But not by that much.”

54. Warren Kinsella, author: “

DOA, 2005. Joey ‘Sh--head’ Keithley sat at the Horseshoe bar with me, up by the doors, and he gave me one of his band’s T-shirts: ‘THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS, it said. On back: ‘TALK MINUS ACTION EQUALS ZERO.’ All these young punks, just kids, would walk up and tell him he’d changed their lives. He’d smile.”

55. Julian Taylor, Julian Taylor Band: “When

the Strokes first came to Toronto. They’d just released their debut and the place was packed. The energy was unbelievably raw. I remember sitting beside Ben Kowalewicz from Billy Talent and we were in awe when Julian Casablancas jumped into the crowd.”

56. Melissa McClelland, Whitehorse: “It was probably 2000 when I saw

Kristin Hersh at the Horseshoe, post-Throwing Muses. She was captivating in every way and I remember the room being as packed as I’d ever seen it. The opener was Lindy — friendly giant folk singer who completely blew my mind. I bought his album immediately. A few days later I was postering for my own show on Queen West and saw Lindy walk past (he’s hard to miss). I told him how much I loved his set and forced one of my posters on him. We both ended up getting signed to the same label a few years later and are buddies to this day, touring together and making our kids be friends.”

57. James Keast, Exclaim! magazine: “

Neutral Milk Hotel, 1998. The only Toronto one until the recent reunion shows — the band didn’t understand how far away Montreal was, didn’t leave there until 5 pm and only arrived in time to basically walk on stage. I don’t know that I have more to the anecdote than that — other than the show being the ‘Nirvana at the Opera House’ of a generation of indie-rock nerds who claim to have been there. But I was in fact there. And it was glorious.”

58. Nanci Malek, publicist/manager: “On Oct. 8th, 2010, I experienced the easiest show I have ever worked. The group, led by the wonderful Joey Sh--head, was

D.O.A. Joey was probably the most business-minded musician I have ever worked with. He got it and I didn’t have any surprises. The room started filling up early and was packed by the time the band hit the stage and absolutely everyone in the room was dancing or slamming. Fabulous. I have worked close to 100 shows in the Horseshoe and have always felt like I was home, but at this show, every single person ‘got it.’ ”

59. Tara King Cohen, Horseshoe co-owner. “

Black Lips, March 27, 2010. J.C., Craig and I watching from the office window. The Lips play ‘Oh Katrina,’ kids are stage diving, but instead of heading toward the dancefloor the singer grabs onto what looks like a (stage) truss but is, in fact, vintage plumbing! He manages to pull himself across the room without hauling it all down but much to our shock he then grabs onto a rickety fan making one full rotation before launching himself back into the crowd. Thankfully no one was hurt, the plumbing is still intact and but I personally took the fan down the next day.”

60. Wes Marskell, the Darcys. “

Ladyhawk, 2008. As a drunk kid who loved drugs, this show really spoke to me. I left soaked in sweat and high as a kite. I was alive and rock was never gonna die.”

61. Matt Fisher, journalist. “

The Lumineers, playing their first ever show in Toronto on June 16th, 2012, during NXNE. I’ve spent a lot of sweaty nights at the Horseshoe but that definitely was one of the hottest. It’s funny, I found an article about it saying it was a mixed bag but I was side stage at the show and watching the crowd at the front of the room, there was just this excitement in the air that the crowd was a part of something special that was about to blow up. It appears it turned out that way.”

62. Jon Bartlett, Kelp Management: “

Neutral Milk Hotel, 1998. The band were very late arriving for their show. I’d never seen Craig Laskey’s face as white as I did that night, trying to keep the anxious crowd at bay as the band sped down the 401.When they rolled up after midnight, they basically threw all the gear onstage, played an even more frantic, uptempo set than their In the Aeroplane, Over the Sea album suggested and melted my fanboy mind. My roommates and I hung around after to try and meet the band, and found out that the 10 of them needed a place to crash, so we invited them to our place. It was a proud moment to give up my bed for Jeff Mangum that night.”

63. Jasmyn Burke, Weaves. “A highlight show was the

Lemon Twigs this past spring. They were on the rise so there was some of that palpable energy in the audience. They put on a great show filled with sibling banter. It was like trash-glam-star meets balled-Beatles-bunny mixed into one fun set. Loved it!”

64. Greg Jarvis, Flowers of Hell. “

LaLa Brooks of the Crystals, backed by

the Big Sound, Sept. 27, 2014. Halfway through the opening number, ‘Then He Kissed Me,’ I realized I was frozen with tears of musical joy streaming down my face, hearing the voice I’d known since I was a child, singing her Phil Spector produced classic with a 20-piece local soul orchestra, all on the ’Shoe’s gloriously mono sound system. During ‘Da Doo-Ron-Ron,’ our eyes connected as she sang, “I knew what he was doing when he caught my eye,’ and she leapt off the stage into the crowd. Closest I’ll ever get to experiencing what that music was like in the old juke joints it grew out of.”

65. Brenley MacEachern, Madison Violet. “Hands down,

Sondre Lerche, May 8, 2004. I’d been listening to his first album Faces Down on repeat so I was super excited to see him live and hear his new record. This 22-year-old kid takes the stage and blew my mind. Great songs, super charming and incredibly talented. Sondre Lerche nailed it that night.”

66. Nick Krewen, music journalist. “

Crowded House . . . They advertised their Horseshoe gig of June 24, 1996 as their absolute final show. Supplemented by keyboardist/guitarist Mark Hart and drummer Peter Jones, the band wound their way through an entertaining and riveting 23-song set — eight of which were encores — and a fun cover of Patrick Hernandez’s disco classic “Born To Be Alive” — as they wound down their career in grand style. Or so we thought, until the duo reformed the band in 2007.”

67. Colin Linden, guitarist. “I’ve been involved in most of them. March 13, 1989:

Rick Danko,

Garth Hudson and me (and my band) and

Robbie Robertson comes and sits in. July 27, 1992:

T-Bone Burnett with me, Janice Powers, Geoff Arsenault and Gary Craig as the band, and with me opening. T-Bone said we were ‘the best band in the world that night.’ ”

68. Nicholas Jennings, music journalist: “

Shelby Lynne, Oct. 27, 2003 . . . Before a handful of us in the audience, Lynne bared her soul in the spotlight singing a number of her most confessional songs. The highlight came when she performed an emotional cover of John Lennon’s ‘Mother,’ made all the more powerful with the knowledge that her own parents had died in a murder-suicide when she was 17.”

69. Nick Sewell, Biblical: “I’ve seen and played too many shows to count at the Horseshoe, let alone pick a favourite. But witnessing the freshly reunited

Hot Snakes lay waste to that stage back is burned into my memory. For a venue with such a storied history in the TO punk scene, it was perfect. To this day, I’ve never seen a pit that savage at the ‘Shoe.”

70. X-Ray Macrae, Horseshoe co-owner, Chris Isaak: “No ventilation. Hottest show ever! They wore suits made out of 1950s curtains. They were soaked by the end, we had to hang at end of night and put pails underneath to catch their sweat.”

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Source : https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2017/12/03/happy-70th-horseshoe-tavern-music-lovers-pick-70-incredible-concert-moments-there.html

Happy 70th, Horseshoe Tavern: music lovers pick 70 incredible concert moments there
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