It's a seriously sweet thing to see the inimitable Don Francks walk through the curtain at five to six every Sunday night. (gotta love that The Cameron House has two stages and the *one* curtain is at the front door, meaning: everyone walks through the curtain to get to the show...)
We're not sure how we ended up with this legendary performer in our band, but being generally afraid to ask questions, we'll just shut up and count our blessings. Don walks in every week decked out in funkier clothes than all of us put together and a whack charts under his arm that he'll throw in front of us at the drop of a hat with the utmost faith that we can pull off his devil's music.
I'm not one for selling music, or more specifically - selling music the way that today's audiences are accustomed to having music sold to them - so I'll just be upfront and say that we're playing to largely empty rooms at The Cameron House. I know, I know... I'm a publicist's nightmare... never tell the truth!! But, my motto has been... if Don's happy, we should all be happy.
Having slugged it out in smoky clubs with the likes of Lenny Breau back in the early 60's, Don has played his share of empty rooms (and packed houses I hasten to add), and we're both in agreement: there's no shame in playing an empty room. For the two to six people that show up over the course of our two-hour set, we all try our level best to hit our instruments like we mean it and sing like one of those folks in the audience would actually buy one of our records.
The best part of playing The Cameron House every week (apart from getting tighter and tighter as a group), is the absolute acceptance that the entire staff of the Cameron has of indie bands playing to empty rooms week after week. For all of the noise that I hear and read from "industry groups" squawking about the need for audiences to give struggling musicians cash so that they can "develop as artists", I would submit that (as a struggling "indie"), playing empty rooms with a 78 year-old jazz legend is a great way to develop your sound.
Come on down some Sunday. Show up late, leave early. Have a beer and take an album for free. You'll hear some original music in one of Toronto's best live music venues. Nigel the bartender is always friendly.
So, we're into the 2nd month of our residency at The Cameron House. The venue is up for sale (a cool $2.9 mil, if you happen to have some lying around...), and we're not sure how long we'll be there, but we're honoured to be all the same.
The Pocket Co. is known for rarely having the same line-up for back to back gigs. The core rhythm section (Jason, Graydon, Christian & Logan) are always there, but on the 13th, our line-up included Cameron MacDuffee (banjo, acoustic, vocals) and, of course, the inimitable Don Francks.
We premiered two new songs, played many of the old favorites and have also added "The Woody Woodpecker Song", sung by Don Francks.
Having Don up there with us is truly awe-inspiring. This man is a legend with a lifetime of experience that brings a smile to everyone's face. We could try to put it into words for you (and we'll keep trying every week), but *nothing* beats seeing him with your own two eyes.
One of our mainstays with Don now, is a cover of Tom Waits' "$29 & An Alligator Purse". If you dig on seeing everyone in a bar hush up to hear a beat poet speak... you must come check Don out.
Next show: Sunday, December 20th.
Yes, it's a X-mas carol free zone.
We were hatched in the back room of The Cameron House and loving coming back home to play there whenever we can.
Check out the video section for a look at the opening of our set.
What a great time! Thanks to all that made it out. If you weren't able to join us, check out our video section to see a few tunes from the show.
The Pocket Co. was originally hatched in the back room of The Cameron House and it sure feels like coming home each time :-)
Now we're back into the studio and also planning another round of "Pocket Co. TV"!
The Pocket Co.
After 3 1/2 years of recording, editing, mixing and all that jazz - we're finally screening "Saturday Night at Morley Gibson's" the documentary at The Lula Lounge in Toronto on Monday, December 3rd at 8pm ($12/adv, $15/door).
The film screening will be followed by a performance by The Pocket Co.