Jeans ‘n Classics is back with another nostalgic concert: In a great marriage with the symphony and drawing from albums My Generation, Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy, The Who Sell Out, Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, Who Are You, and their… rock opera, Tommy, Jeans ‘n Classics will bring you the powerful and awesome iconic epic rock hits of The Who!
Last month, we gave away a pair of tickets to see Gordon Lightfoot on Thursday, November 22. This month, you could win a pair of tickets to a fun night out with the Jeans ‘n Classics orchestra to enjoy music by The Who. All you have to do is email us by the end of 2018 and tell us your favourite The Who song. It’s that easy!
Win Tickets To See the Gipsy Kings!
The Gipsy Kings, featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, return to the Centre In The Square in September! They’ll raise the roof with dance-ready furor, returning to their ground-breaking eponymous album and… the nomadic spirit that has led them to their latest work, Grammy Award-winning album Savor Flamenco.
Last month, we gave away a pair of tickets to see Celtic Thunder X on Thursday, October 4th at 8PM. This month, you could win a pair of tickets to experience the flamenco sounds of the Gipsy Kings. All you have to do is email us by Friday, June 30 @ 11.59PM and tell us your favourite Gipsy Kings song. It’s that easy!
It’s hard to believe that Celtic Thunder has been around for 10 years now. The male group of singers from Ireland, plus the Celtic Thunder band, have entertained millions around the world. But where did it all begin?
Celtic… Thunder is the brainchild of Sharon Browne, who has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. She’s helped build some major careers after she created Irish record label Celtic Collections out of K-Tel in Ireland. You’ve likely heard of some of the names Celtic Collections represents: Phil Coulter, The Dubliners, The Wolfetones, The Furey Bros & Davy Arthur, as well as Celtic Woman (who performed here previously).
For Browne, though, it was time for a new challenge and a new chapter in her life. No longer with Celtic Collections, she channeled all her years of music industry experience, her production expertise, and her unique vision into sculpting a new and exciting show from scratch: Celtic Thunder.
In 2007, Sharon held auditions in Ireland and Scotland to cast the new show, which featured 5 talented male soloists performing Celtic and international hits. She shot the Public Television special at the Helix in Dublin in August 2007. It first broadcast in the US in March 2008 and immediately captured the imagination and hearts of the US public television audience.
Upon its release, the show’s debut album, Celtic Thunder, shot straight to the top of Billboard‘s World Music Charts. Since then, the show has released a steady and impressive collection of best-selling albums, all developed around the show initially conceptualized by Browne: Celtic Thunder, Act Two, Take Me Home, It’s Entertainment, Christmas, Heritage, Storm, Voyage, Mythology, Holiday Symphony and Very Best of Celtic Thunder, plus multiple live performances on DVD and live touring shows.
Having well surpassed sales of two million units combined, Celtic Thunder has regularly topped the Billboard World Music Charts since 2008 and was named Billboard’s Top World Music Artist in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Celtic Thunder X is a brand new show—with 27 new songs—that’ll celebrate 10 years of Celtic Thunder. The show comes to the Centre In The Square on Thursday, October 4th @ 8PM. Get your tickets now for a night of Celtic fun that’ll be an entertaining mix of traditional and contemporary Irish songs, classic hits, love songs, nostalgic songs, and fun retro songs from the soundtracks of viewers’ lives.
Syml is OnStage with songs about love and being adopted.
“Whoever is near one of the few live performances shouldn’t miss the chance to see one,” writes German online music reviewer Wolfgang Bastian about Syml, the stage name for… indie pop musician Brian Fennel.
Just last month, Syml’s song “Where’s My Love” peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart, and many TV viewers will recognize it from the series Teen Wolf, season 5, episode 14, “The Sword and the Spirit.”
The YouTube video has garnered over 10 million views, and the song, according to WGBH.org, over 60 million streams. Moreover, as of this writing, the song has spent 20 weeks on the Billboard charts.
Syml studied music at university and is a classically trained pianist. It wasn’t until a professor suggested he write music that centered on more personal themes did he begin exploring his experiences as an adoptive child.
Syml’s website says, “Adopted and not knowing his history or connection to his Welsh roots, many of these songs were influenced by the complex feelings that come from unknown lineage.”
He discovered his roots first in his 20s and describes his son as the first person he knew he was related to.
Chris Rattey of WGBH writes, “Now 34, he draws inspiration from investigating and embracing his heritage. But it was the birth of his first child that brought a clearer perspective to these complex feelings of identity and unknown lineage.”
Syml, Welsh for “simple,” chose the word as a reminder: “‘Simple’ serves as a reminder both in production and in life,” he told Rattey. “It wasn’t just music that I wanted that reminder to be. It’s everything around me. This is my total mantra right now, and communicating best when things are simple.”
You can expect some new songs at the concert, including “Where Do We Go,” whose teaser video has already garnered almost 9,500 views in just 11 days.
Syml performs in Kitchener as part of our OnStage* series on Saturday, September 15, @ 8PM. Order your tickets now for an intimate evening of music that is beautiful and humble, soulful and moving.
* Why not book dinner with your OnStage show? Enjoy a delicious three-course meal in our CentreStage Lounge, hosted by our sponsor Borealis Grille & Bar. Borealis serves the highest quality of fresh products from Ontario farmers.
What songs will Mike and Micky be singing here in Kitchener?
Rehearsals have already begun for the upcoming concert with Monkees members Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, and all the rage online right now is photos and short videos… from rehearsal, including the set they’re rehearsing.
Circe Link, a singer with the show, posted a photo on Instagram that shows a list of part of the music set. The Monkees Live Almanac, a fan website supported by Dolenz, typed it out:
Good Clean Fun
The Door Into Summer
The Girl I Knew Somewhere
Love Is Only Sleeping
Birth of an Accidental Hipster
Me & Magdalena
Papa Gene’s Blues
Randy Scouse Git
Nine Times Blue
I’ll Spend My Life With You
Take a Giant Step
Auntie’s Municipal Court
You Told Me
What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?
The Almanac is quick to point out that more songs are included besides just what’s listed on that one sheet. But you’ll notice that this set already includes a non-Monkees song, “Different Drum,” first recorded by the Greenbriar Boys and which Nesmith wrote pre-Monkees, in 1965.
If you search the song on YouTube, you’ll find versions sung by Linda Ronstadt, Kelly Underwood, and a scene from The Monkees, where Nesmith got it squeezed in as part of a devious plot to sabotage a talent act Davy got involved in (complete with starry eyes). Remember this?
@themonkeestour, a Twitter account about the show, asked for requests for the Mike and Micky Show. Followers suggested “Listen to the Band,” “Tapioca Tundra,” “While I Cry,” “Mommy and Daddy,” and “Sometime in the Morning.” What do you hope they’ll rehearse for the concert?
Whatever the final set list ends up being, it’ll be a delight for die-hard Monkees fans and lovers of American music. The Monkees have been around since the show first aired in 1966, and Mike Nesmith’s music career began even earlier. Get your tickets now for what’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance: Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz in Kitchener.
Celtic Thunder is back with a fantastic, mesmerizing concert of new ensemble numbers, like “Sons of Light,” “Toora, Loora, Lay,” “The Wild Rover,” and “Right All Right,” and nostalgic favourites, like “Celebration,” “I’m a Believer,” “Seasons… in the Sun,” and “Rise Again.” And, of course, you’ll hear their rousing anthem, “Ireland’s Call.”
Last month, we gave away a pair of tickets to hear the music of David Bowie and Prince, performed by Jeans ‘n Classics as part of our Electric Thursdays series, on Thursday, May 24 @ 8PM. This month, you could win a pair of tickets to a fun, musical night with Celtic Thunder. All you have to do is email us by Thursday, May 31 @ 11.59 PM and tell us your favourite Irish song. It’s that easy!
The Monkees have been together—in various iterations—for over 50 years now, since their TV show debuted in 1966. Back then, it was Monkees, mayhem, music, and now it’s a plethora of music styles that have blended… and been expressed through the decades under one banner: Peter’s folk and blues, Davy’s rock, Micky’s soul and pop, and Mike’s country. And everything in between, often mixed up like a sped-up Monkees video clip from the show.
If anyone is looking for an introduction into American music (including streaks of the British Invasion), you needn’t look much further.
Now, in their upcoming summer tour, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz will bring decades of music history to Kitchener. But don’t expect “The Monkees.” As Mike explains in a Rolling Stone article, “It’ll be Monkees music, but there’s no pretense there about Micky and I being the Monkees. We’re not. We’re the remnants.”
Expect a night of songs from all 50 years of the Monkees catalogue and many of Mike’s compositions, some of which have never been played live before.
Mike’s compositions “Sweet Young Thing” (written with Carole King and Gerry Goffin) and “Papa Gene’s Blues” appeared already on the group’s eponymous first album, whose Boyce & Hart song “Last Train to Clarksville” helped sky-rocket the group to chart stardom. Mike, though, also wrote “Listen to the Band,” “Circle Sky,” “While I Cry,” “The Girl That I Knew Somewhere,” “You Just May Be the One,” and so many more. Apart from his Monkees work, he started his own group, First National Band, and has also released solo albums.
Micky is perhaps best known for “Randy Scouse Git,” which appeared on the group’s not-so-successful Headquarters album. A lesser known song Micky wrote is “Mommy and Daddy,” which appeared as a Colgems single in 1969. In it, Micky asks kids to ask their parents some tough questions, and the song was re-recorded because producers felt it was too harsh for the Monkees image. (For example, the original version ends with, “If it was my blood spilling on the kitchen floor, if it was my blood, Mommy, would you care a little more?” It was re-written as “Do you think I’m too young to know, to see, to feel, or hear? My questions need an answer or a vacuum will appear.”)
“Where’s Peter?” you may be asking. According to Rolling Stone, he’s working on another project at the moment with his band, Shoe Suede Blues.
The Centre In The Square is one of only 16 venues for this monumental tour. Mark Tuesday, June 19 @ 8PM on your calendar and order your tickets now before they go, walking down the street, and get the funniest looks from anyone they meet…
Daniel O’Donnell didn’t have it easy at first: he wanted to succeed in singing but got little encouragement in those early days. “People thought that my music was from a bygone era and had no relevance… or place in the world today,” he writes on his website. (He had loads of fan information there. Visit it if you haven’t yet.)
He began performing in his sister’s band in 1982, playing an electric guitar he didn’t actually know how to play. But each time he was allowed to sing out front, he loved the applause: “It was like a drug and I was getting hooked.”
However, it wasn’t until 1985, after a few fits and starts, that he finally met his current manager, Sean Reilly. O’Donnell became so popular that his schedule filled up, exhausting him to the point where he could no longer perform. He approached his manager on New Years’ Day in 1992 and said he needed a break. “At the time, I was near to cracking up from doing too much work,” he writes. “It was literally too much. I kept saying ‘yes, yes, yes,’ to everything. Apart from the shows, I was visiting people who were sick or disabled, calling here, there and everywhere.”
Despite his health, O’Donnell returned to the stage in just three months. Although he admitted he didn’t feel that much better, he could at least sing again. It would, in the end, take him two years to fully recover. However, his return started on an upswing: a show at The Point in Dublin. Now renovated and called the O2, The Point back then could seat 8,500. O’Donnell remembers: “Now, I never imagined that I would ever perform there. It’s a venue that just didn’t seem to be within my reach.” But he sang at The Point on July 11, 1992, and his fame kept growing.
O’Donnell writes that he doesn’t sing to make money. Eternally humble, he says, “If it all ended tomorrow, I couldn’t say there is anything the world could have offered me that is better than what I have.” He believes he’s been able to stay normal despite the fame, and he enjoys his family life and being part of his local community when he’s not working.
He’s so normal, in fact, that he doesn’t even follow any type of crazy diet: “While I stay in fairly good shape for the stage, I’m not a keep-fit fanatic and my choice of foods is not particularly healthy. I like fried onions with steak and chips. I don’t like vegetables or salads very much. I don’t drink tea or coffee but I used to love tea and I had a reputation for drinking lots of it. On a day when I’m working I would boil the kettle and have hot water and a bar of chocolate.”
For a night of relaxing, feel-good Irish music, come see Daniel O’Donnell croon the evening away on Friday, May 25th at 7.30 PM.
Jeans ‘n Classics is back with another night of great music as part of our Electric Thursdays series, this time by two artists who left us far too soon: David Bowie and Prince. How many of… these facts do you already know?
1. Bowie was born David Jones. Out of fear of being confused with Davy Jones from the Monkees, he changed his name to David Bowie. (Biography)
2. Bowie’s half-brother introduced him to jazz musicians, such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane. (The Guardian)
3. He was the first rock star to become an ISP (internet service provider) when BowieNet launched in 1998. (Hollywood Reporter)
4. His first album, which he released in 1967, didn’t chart at all in the US and only poorly in the UK. (Rolling Stone)
5. Bowie was known for his rejections. Infamous, it seems. You can read about the various ways and to whom he’s said no here. (Among the recipients of a Bowie rejection: David Grohl from Foo Fighters, and Queen Elizabeth II.)
1. The original recording for “Nothing Compares 2 U,” from 1984, was just released a couple of weeks ago. (Variety)
2. Prince released 38 studio albums between 1978 and his death in 2016. (Prince Estate)
3. Prince produced for a number of artists, including Chaka Khan, Judith hill, The New Power Generation, Mavis Staples, Madhouse, and The Family. (Prince Estate)
4. He sold over 100 million records during his lifetime. (Forbes)
5. Prince appears on Madonna’s controversial album, Like a Prayer: Both co-wrote and performed “Long Song,” and Prince played the opening guitar lick on the title track. (CNN)
Join us and hear music by two of rock’s most rebellious artists on Thursday, May 24 @ 8PM. Get your tickets now.
Canadian country singer Lindi Ortega says this album is a first for her. “I’m actually taking a bit of a step back, being softer, having more nuance in the way I’m singing, and it’s been a… welcome challenge,” she says.
During the recording sessions at Battle Tapes studio in East Nashville, Ortega and Nashville producer Skylar Wilson (Justin Townes Earle, Rayland Baxter) scaled back the boot-stomping, throwback country approach that she’s known for and instead polished a set of music that reflects her lineage: her father is Mexican, her mother Irish.
“I wanted to do something musical and cinematic. It was really important for me to expand my horizons and pave new ground for myself,” she says. “This is my first time singing in Spanish. I won’t claim to have the most perfect diction in the world with it. But I can say that I gave it my all, and that I felt very proud to be able to do that, because I’m a huge fan of Mexican culture. It’s very different than anything I’ve done before and I find that really exciting.”
As the album progresses, the listener gets the sense that the protagonist is leaving behind her past, whether it’s a crowd of unsavory characters in “You Ain’t Foolin’ Me” or perhaps a lost love from childhood in “Until My Dying Day.” Grief turns to desperation in “Nothing’s Impossible” and “The Comeback Kid.” The tides begin to turn on “Darkness Be Done.” About halfway through, with “Forever Blue,” the character makes a choice to follow the light.
“When you have experiences that are dark, you can always draw from that well. You don’t forget it. You don’t erase it – I don’t ever want to erase it because it makes me who I am,” Ortega says. “And it helps me relate to other people who have similar experiences. You can’t truly appreciate happiness in life unless you’ve understood what it’s like to feel the opposite way.”
Meanwhile, the song “Pablo” is inspired by her new husband, Daniel Huscroft. With a lilting melody and clever lyrics, “Lovers in Love” showcases Ortega’s skillful songwriting. Ortega concludes the album with “Gracia a la Vida” from the pen of Chilean composer Violetta Parra. The title translates as “Thank you to Life.”
For Liberty, Ortega composed roughly half of the songs alone. On the remaining tracks, her co-writers include Aaron Raitiere, Bruce Wallace, and John Paul White (The Civil Wars).
Throughout her career, Ortega has remained committed to putting on a good performance for her audience. Most nights, she will come out after the show to sign autographs, take photos, and just visit. Don’t miss a chance to catch this rising Canadian country superstar when she performs as part of our OnStage series on Monday, May 7 @ 8PM. Get your tickets now.