PtboCanada Review: The Bands At The Hootenanny On Hunter Put On A Show To Remember

It was a sight to behold, the downtown streets of Peterborough filled with fans out for a great line-up of live music. Hootenanny took over Hunter Street West for the better part of Saturday. It was a free concert featuring a who's who of indie Canadian rock darlings. The patios of the Hunter Street restaurant district were filled to capacity with music fans and revelers.

The day began with sets from a number of locals including Bear Trees, Levon, Rikers and Union City. Others on the bill included Elvyn and Express & Co., with the show taking a strange turn thanks to the musical shenanigans of Hamilton, Ontario's B.A. Johnston. It's clear after hearing and seeing B.A. both in clubs and now on an outdoor stage, his banter and original music work under any circumstance. He was at his hilarious best accompanied by his own electronic samples and acoustic guitar work. I am sure B.A. likely found some new fans on this day.

Cuff The Duke, Oshawa's alt/country/pop darlings, played a warmly received set, which was matched by TheWooden Sky performing Wooden Sky (see picture at right) who played right after—the later benefitting from a sun, sinking past the horizon, creating lovely light as a backdrop.

Next up were local darlings The Spades, who played a shortened set of favorites including an explosive cover of Fred Eaglesmith's "49 Tons Of Diesel Locomotive" as well as  their rollicking track "The Revenge of Johnny Laundry".

As the night drew to a close, just past 10 p.m., the sounds of Hollerado belting out Neil Young's "Rockin' In the Free Word" seemed to epitomize the day. This was a show to remember. Thanks to the Peterborough Downtown Business Association and the organizing committee for creating a reason to brings throngs of folks to the downtown on a lovely summer Saturday.

There was a lot of love passed out by the performers throughout the day, but the best moment was when Gavin Gardiner of the Wooden Sky called out local scenester Mike Duguay, calling him the unofficial Mayor of Peterborough. Organizers Ryan Kemp and Jonathan Hall both deserve kudos for the inspired curatorial and organizational work that went behind this show. Looking forward to more of the same in coming years.

[Text and pics by PtboCanada's Jeffrey Macklin]

[PtboPics: The Hootenanny]

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Peterborough's Music & Arts Scene Rocks (Exhibit A: Bear Trees)

Bear Trees are a new local pop band, spreading their collective wings across the local music scene. The band is lead by Mike Duguay, a multifaceted scenester who seems to display an unending energy to explore all facets of his creativity. On any given night, you might find him and his band opening for any number of touring musical acts passing through town. Then again, you might find him taking the stage for a play or performance piece as part of a local, improvised theatre troop.

It’s people like Mike Duguay, and projects like Bear Trees, which are forever springing out of the local arts scene. The lush arts community we are blessed to witness here in Peterborough on a daily basis would be nothing without people like Duguay and dozens just like him.

This town is ripe with folks wanting to collaborate, organize, promote and spread the gospel of the talented folks who create here. Peterborough's vibrant arts scene is a known calling card across this country. This town has long been a draw for artists of all disciplines, bringing great music, leading edge visuals and dynamic performance to venues across the city.

Renowned painter David Bierk and a team of like minds put Peterborough on the visual arts map when they initiated Artspace in the mid-seventies. Artspace was and remains a cutting edge nest of creativity where local and touring visual ideas brew. Recently, the much lauded debut album by roots-centric band Evening Hymns was born from a series of recording sessions within those same art covered walls.

You needn’t look very hard to discover music in this town. The Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, choral groups, and singer-songwriters alongside punk and metal bands carry on a thriving existence here. Welcoming venues are peppered throughout the city, hosting live music on a nightly basis.

It’s this tangible, communal, supportive nature which benefits both the artists and performers as well as the audiences who have witnessed the spoils of this for decades.

--Jeffrey Macklin, PtboCanada contributor

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