Yesterday I went to see some vintage vamps and old-timey jazz. Those who know me will know that I love everything retro/vintage/antique, so I took a Sunday afternoon and evening to indulge.
First up was “The New Orleans Connection” all-star jazz band at Grossman’s Tavern. This “seven piece band was formed just over a year ago to provide an outlet for the younger, less ‘grizzled’, players of the traditional jazz genre and strives to capture that ‘off-Bourbon street’ feel in their performances.” (1)
This band basically blew me away. I watched them for a good three hours, and it felt like five minutes.
It’s hard to believe they’ve only been playing together for a year.
Here they are with guest vocalist Miz Debbie with a rendition of “I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of my Jellyroll.”
Dixieland, or New Orleans Jazz, started in the early 1900s, and is still going strong today. Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars band is most popularly identified with Dixieland. “The style combined earlier brass band marches, French Quadrilles, biguine, ragtime, and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation. While instrumentation and size of bands can be very flexible, the “standard” band consists of a “front line” of trumpet (or cornet), trombone, and clarinet, with a “rhythm section” of at least two of the following instruments: guitar or banjo, string bass or tuba, piano, and drums.” (2)
Here they are with guest vocalist Kate.
A first-rate act!
To hear what their music sounds like, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbIMxPFKHi8
The bar itself (Grossman’s Tavern), however, is the dive-i-est dive bar I have ever been to in my life.
You can watch also watch WWF while waiting for the band to start. Ha ha!
The outside of the bar is slightly nicer.
Grossman’s Tavern, located at 379 Spadina, has been around since 1943. It is “one of the city’s longest-running live music venues, and Toronto’s self-described “Home of the Blues.” Rock, folk, roots and jazz acts are also at home here.” (3) They also never charge a cover for any of their five-nights-a-week entertainment.
It is definitely worth going to if you don’t mind the “dive.” P.S. The bathrooms don’t fit with the rest of the decor, as they are beautiful and brand-new.
Next up was “Vintage Vamps” at Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n Rolla Cabaret and Lounge (200 Bathurst St).
I love the boudoir-style vintage decor.
Here are the three muses of the night.
..and I’m not entirely sure, but I think this one is Marilyn Monroe:
The 2015 Vintage Vamps soon took the stage for a burlesque show.
First up was an introductory torch song sung by Paige La Pearl.
Up next was Belle Epoque with a classic naughty maid act.
She was followed by the deliciously lovely Rouge la Rouge, who did a 1940s style torch singer act.
The fabulous Percy Katt then entertained us with a little bit of boy-lesque.
After the intermission, Belle Epoque took off her fur-lined opera cape and ruched 1940s style evening dress.
Percy Katt was back for a little more boy-lesque.
The cast members along with the host Mysterion and stagehand Dottie Dangerfield gathered onstage at the end of the show.
Cherry Cola’s hosts burlesque nights three nights a week. Paige La Pearl et al are part of “The Great Canadian Burlesque” which puts on shows on Sunday nights.
I hope to visit more vintage-y Toronto events in the near future!