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State of our Scene- opinions??


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I'm just wondering how people feel about the state of our scene? The summer has been slow attendance wise in most clubs around Toronto, but I'm hoping that with some bigger names and exciting shows, it will pick up in the fall.

How do you feel the growth of our scene has been in the past little while? I surely hope it gets better in the fall, or putting on high priced shows is going to become something of the past.

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I think the jam scene is certainly on a slow decline. It's never had anything outside a large cult-like following anyway. I just think that a lot of the music and bands in our scene are beginning to sound similar - it's not unlike what's going on in mainstream rock, with hundreds of similar sounding nouveau-metal and pop-punk rock bands. Note: this is only a theoretical comparison. I hate generic metal/pop-punk.

I'm only getting started, but I'll have to wait until Wednesday when I'm back at work to finish my thoughts. One last note: there is an exciting return to real rock & roll creeping back into mainstream music. If jam bands and the scene is on a decline, then one ray of hope lies in the fact that real rock is creeping, ever so slowly, back into our musical consciousnesses. Go " White Stripes " go.

By-the-by, nero is not to be included in reference to my above comments because they are doing stuff now that no other band dares to do. Good for you guys.

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i don't think the scene is that bad to me it would be bad if there were no bands but are shit loads of new bands. shain man the cozo is such a tuff sell, most wont go there. its not the best place in the world but its all we have in t.o. so im there to support the the cozo at least once a week, i will be spending more time there in august/september lots of shows that i cann't wait to see.

there isn't any press or promo being done on are scene the bar's aren't doing promo and the bands aren't doing it. it isn't that hard to get the NOW mag to write a peace on jambands or even get an interveiw on much music these are things are here to be used. you don't think that we could have the show The New Music do a peace on the jambands scene they totally would.

We have Evolve and CTMF and there seems to be a fest every weekend with jambands i wouldn't jude the Canjam scene base on the people that show up at the cozo (but yes the shows are slow this summer). look at the whole eastcoast thing jsb/gtb gettting like 7-800 people out to a seamless sets show (and much music) thats fucking great there's a whole HUGE scene going on out there that not to many people now about.

as for putting on high priced shows you cann't just put them on without doing promo you also have to give the people a reson to come out. i have no info about the cozo unless i go looking for it.

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I too think the scene here in Canada is "coasting" somewhat. I have seen quite a few bands playing to the same sized or smaller audiences they were over a year ago. And a few bands have called it quits which they wouldn't be doing if they were making $$$.....

Check the most recent Scene and Heard for my thoughts. The article is in the back.



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hmmm.. I actually see the *scene* in a big trasition time. Phish is on hiatus, and it somehow has changed the scene...

A lot of people just don't know about it, but more and more people are finding out about what's going on...

Take the comfort zone for example... The entire winter, probably about 30-40 people showed up on a wednesday... and it was all the same people. It's slowly growing and people can't force it to grow.. it will on it's own.. ya know???

Also, the Fat Cats and Burt, both like *BIG* bands in Ontario/Canada have just broken up this year.. but soooooooo many new people and bands are out there.. I think we are just being overly negitive about it all and looking in the wrong places....



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Too me, the "scene" is most definately still in its infant stages (in Canada). I for one don't believe that its declining at all. If people want the scene to grow, i think the up and coming bands NEED to tour outside of Ontario and the East. Of course i may be a bit biased simply b/c i live in Calgary, but i think this is a legit arguement. I mean, does it get old playing the same places from month to month? I don't know, im seriously curious. I think the BNB did wonders for our scene b/c everyone from each coast knew who they were. They toured all over, not just in Ontario. Things need to stay fresh. For example, when Nero did their Western leg this year it seemed like it was a positive experience for them (right?). I think a combination of being in new territory and having a good booking schedule really helped of course....However, the point here is, not only did the people out West enjoy seeing them for the time(s), but the homers back in Ontario were REALLY excited to see them again, and by all accounts, they played to some raging parties. ITs all about keepin it fresh.

I would really like to read some of the muscians feelings on this matter. You folks are out there every night night GIVIN' 'ER and i want to know what you think. Are you content staying out east or do ya'll have intentions of doing bigger things and going to different places?

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I think in the last 2 years, the scene (in ottawa--i really don't have an opinion on the GTA scene or eastern/western scenes for obvious reasons) has grown in leaps and bounds with regards to both attendance and sophistication....in my opinion, this is largely a result of NERO, and the growing online community, which has been headed up by this very site, and specifically Mike Bouchard and his cronies -- you all know who you are --. (I'd list all the names but if i missed any of you, you'd whine like the little bitches you are, and this is not a post intended to boost or bust any ego's)

Everyone plays a role in this community, whether it be playing in a band, running a web-site, taping a show, promoting a show, providing a place for pholks to crash, or just going to a show, being kind and making it fun and exciting--spending your hard-earned cash so the bands are welcomed back with open arms the next time.

Now that said, I have noticed (and i'm sure i'm not alone here), that the Ottawa scene has become saturated...we see the same people show in and show out pretty much. This is disconcerting, but seems to be a fact of life---it's a small city, and we (yeah us phreaks) are a very small percentage of the general population. Every now and again someone new comes to a show and gets nailed hard, and that's wonderful to see, but it's definitely not happening on a large enough scale these days. I guess all we can do is what we have been doing: have fun at shows, tell your friends, and try to contribute whatever you can to promoting our scene. I'm not sure if getting bigger names is the answer to the somewhat stagnant growth of the scene, but it wouldn't hurt it IMO.

I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would like to see the bands/scene get some recognition in the conventional media, and for our favorite music to become more popular and an economically viable endeaver for the people putting on these shows.

My 2 peso's.


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the scene is in a tuff spot right now im thinking that it blow up over the next two summers there are alot of good people putting time in to make sure that the scene will grow in magzine and web pages this must mean that the scene is on the up not down. remember that most of us are a little older and might not go to as many shows as we used to, not me but there are some people that only go big jam shows no real jam fans. the kids will get into it in a year or two the will bring to more life to the scene over the next year or two i thinking the the scene will grow alot bigger. with 4 new jamband albums coming out thats 4 new tours and if the albums are coming out then the music scene must be strong.

Sarahbelle the Fat Cats are back and are playing gigs evey tuesday night at the Casbah and are playing two gigs at the cozo as well as bob's bash and the Zooz fest.

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hey whore--so you wouldn't like to see NERO or whoever on the local tv station, or in the local newspapers?? you think phish never had any support that way from burlington? ya.

bonnaroo was huge, but was possible because of the bands that are already established successes with large followings. what we're talking about here is a small scene, with few bands who are trying to BUILD a following/scene.

thing is though, for any canadian jamband to get anywhere, they have to be aiming on conquering the american market.

canada has very few heads, and all of the cities are so far apart from eachother. it must suck for the bands with the driving, the gas, vehicle amortization, and the lousy turnouts.

you need energy to play well, and driving for 8 hrs, to play to 6 people would bite. in the states, at least you have the chance of a packed crowd, and the next large city on your tour is an hour or two away.

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it isn't that hard to get the NOW mag to write a peace on jambands or even get an interveiw on much music these are things are here to be used. you don't think that we could have the show The New Music do a peace on the jambands scene they totally would.


dude i know how hard it is to make it in canads man im just pointing the fact that one of the biggest jam fest whent unheard becuase mainstream media didn't cover it.

we could have local media cover the bigger shows its there just no ones using it. the show coming up at the horseshoe Downime, Nero and Jomomma no it would be hard to have media at this jomomma just released there cd so maybe Now Mag out to reveiw the cd and the show and getting Much Music out wouldn't be that hard at giving the fact that Nero has beed touring very hard and is starting to build a following outside of Ottawa. the people in are scene just need to use the media.

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im going to say the touring. its gota be the touring we'll see the next time Nero heads out that way see if they've start to build a fans base out there. the touring did it for the fat cats as well and a soild album aways helps. i also think the tapers really really helped BNB get to were there were.

the TAPERS are such a huge put of the scene there so import thats how this scene lives and dies it on the recorded shows. you can always tell how much of a fellowing a bands has by the number of tapers at the show i was taping the bnb show at the church in t.o. last year in think there was like 10-12 people taping thats the most i've ever seen out for a canjam show. we did at one point have 8 tapers out at ctmf may 24 this last year that was cool.

GTB seams to get 3-4 tapers out at there t.o. shows in thinking that there going to are next big Canjam band.

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i agree with you then sho-ho---the people in this scene should try some other avenues...even conventional media to promote these shows if we want the scene to get bigger, and more profitable for our bands, and fun for us phreaks. we have no problem keeping track of the people in the know---we have a problem attracting newbies into the scene.

jaimoe....you work at much music--can you get a piece aired onthat nero/jomomma/downtime show? anyone know anyone in the toronto star? sun?

anyone interested in spamming their sites? (haha--i know a few of you who have had some practice...) or wait that's not productive--it's counter productive...hmmm...how about a bunch of us writing the newspapers/tv stations letters looking for some recognition....anyone think that shit might work?

i dunno...just throwing out ideas here...

and BNB? i think it was the touring that made them successful right?

i wonder why they're broke? is that even true?that's the rumour at least...tough to tour canada IMO. if our bands have any brains, they'd get rolling, and hone their talents here in canada for a bit, then head to the US where they can do something. and then be stand up and come back to canada with their fans etc., and treat us to killer shows whenever possible.

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I agree, whore. I also think that in addition to the tapers, the trading of shns made a HUGE difference to BNB.

When Nero com back West, Im not sure if there will be a sizeable increase in the number of people that come out. Although, the colder months tend to bring more folks out b/c there are more people here that are from out of province (working the ski towns and such). Time will tell.

I saw Blue Quarter last night after the Folk Fest. Wasn't a packed house at all. I mean, there were people there, but not packed. Id say there were around 25 people there to see the band.

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I agree with you Treyter. In my opinion, "our" bands should be trying to play in the U.S. I don't know how hard it is or how much it costs just to get down there but I think its very important that they do. Imagine the possibilities.....A canjam band gets recognized in the States...gives them a MUCH larger selection of venues/tours/cities to play.

I wonder how hard it is to invite a good band up to Canada to do a mini tour with, then get reciprocal treatment by that band and tour their area of the U.S with them??

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Wow, love this thread...

What do I think of the jamband scene in Canada? I think it's remarkably healthy, and it's constantly growing. As mentioned before, Evolve, ComeTogether, CanAmJam, and other festivals are well attended (the attendance at Evolve freaks me out - where are these people coming from?) and ongoing, which is a healthy sign. There are lots of bands out there doing it, at a variety of levels, and for those who lament all the bands that have broken up recently, well, all those musicians still exist, and they are/will be playing in other bands.

People are excited about the music, and they seem to make an effort to go see music when they know about it, and they are quick to trade cd's. Look at all the tapers doing their thing! There's more tapers at bar shows now than there ever was.

As for what Canadian jambands should be doing...I can only tell you what nero is doing, and that is to play as often and as widely as possible, with an emphasis on getting south of the border. Yep, it's a big pain in the butt and really expensive to go down south, but we think it's important. By the end of the summer, nero will have played seven shows in the US, with more planned for the fall. A humble start, but we're learning. As for the media, yeah, nothing wrong with fishing in the mainstream, but the problem is, almost nobody will write a thing about you, let alone open the package, and we're talking $10-15 a package here. So yeah, if you got $300 extra you can hit the commercial media for a Toronto show and hope against hope that someone will give you some space, and if they do you gotta hope that it'll bring out at least 60 extra people so it'll pay for itself. It's a tough juggling act, 'cuz you only have so much money. It's best when there's some kind of link in the first place. Anybody got any links? A link can get your package at least guaranteed to be opened, and that's all I really ask.

Here's what all of you can do to help: 1) VERY IMPORTANT - Call your local college station and request a song by your favourite band, and do it often. Dj's look at reach other's playlist, and before you know it... 2) If you know a media person tell them (repeatedly) that they should be aware of your favourite band. Ask the band to give you a cd to give to the person, or direct them to the website. 3) Go see shows, buy product (don't haggle), burn live shows, love it 4) take a close look at the band. Have they been getting enough to eat? Have they slept in the van for four days straight? Do they look like they need a bath and an hour on the internet? Yes friends, adopt-a-band, it's been going on for years, and it's the only way this thing works.

Now, screw off, I'm busy writing press releases!

Ps For the record, nero came [ ] that close to opening for Oysterhead at Massey Hall.

Pps I would just like to re-emphasise point #1, that people should call and request their favourite music on campus/commercial stations. I sent copies of 'is it morning?' to every campus station in the country. When we tour around we often come to stations that don't have the disc, or if they do, it's still in the cellephane. Then they open it (because we're there) and they say, Wow I love this I'm gonna play it again next week. Now if somebody had called that dj and requested a song two months ago there might have been a half dozen more interested people at the show. It's really important, and it works. Thank you, Good night!

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Awesome, Velvet. Just the person i was hoping would put in a couple pesos to this thread...

SO, im curioius, whats your take my theory of bands coming to the West to keep things fresh for everyone, as well as exposure. I know you guys recently did it and was wondering the impression it left on you. How and/or what would you like to see in the West to make your trips more worth while (of course, people in the club)??

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This is a great thread!

Let's see...

circa 1989 - 1 band - Days of You

circa 1994 - 3 bands -

Freedom Rains, Caution Jam, Fat Cats

circa 2002 - GTB, JSB, Fat Cats, BnB, CJAm, Downtime, Nero (Just look at Evolve->)

(this list is not meant to be exhausive but to serve as examples, Sorry if I left your favorite out..)

I would probably think that the scene had grown at least musically. We have our canjam bands doing really well in the States as well (i.e. The New Deal). So what's really going on?

Your bands are dirt poor. They play in difficult environments with poorly maintained sound systems and virtually no existant lighting. They get sucked into the idea that THEY (the band) is responsible for the turnout and are given piss poor contracts (i.e money from the door), no food, no living quarters. A bad night for any reason and you may end up with an empty gas tank in the middle of the 401. Your bands go out and do it because they love to play! for you!

I might add that the eastcoast of Canada may be a bit of a different animal. Better guarantees and deals

They are generally not making any money!

They have to maintain vehicules, equipment, and a plethora of other expenses.

They have to invent investment to put together an album (generally down in discount studios) which seems to sell at $10 but are hard-pressed to get sales if it's $16.99.

The good news is...look how many bands are out there being courageous.

And they're making great music.

There is a limited pool of live music lovers in Canada. But they make the rocking world go 'round!

What can be done?

1 - Get these bands into colleges and universities!

Those institutions have large enough budgets to really give bands a fair shake.

They will get to play in front of new people who will probably will love it if they hear it. And they'll tell two friends...and so on and so on...

That would be great way to start!

2- Keep the scene keen

Every once of energy that we give to the scene propels it even furthur. Thank goodness for Evolve and CTMF. And ZOOZ...Zen Tricksters for the price of admission, that's F**ken unbelievable. THey get $12 american at the door in California! Phil Lesh at Molson's was cheaper than eating breakfast at the Cracker Barrel! [big Grin]

3 - Think about where you put your money!

Make sure that your local establishments are interested in being a LIVE music venue and not just ripping you and your favorite band off!

People often went to the Horseshoe or the El Mocambo because they are/were live music sanctuaries.

A bit long...but it felt great!

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