October Music Scene by: Heidi Hopf
Brantford is a town that many people have mixed feelings about. It has had its ups and downs but one thing that remains consistent is the wealth of musical talent that has stayed through it all. The musicians of this town have given us entertainment and a way to escape the trials of our daily lives, as well as help us celebrate the joys.
Our town has had such a wide variety of music scenes for people to enjoy. Even during my lifetime, I have experienced so many different waves of music that have passed through. It all began as a teenager with the punk scene. I remember friends of mine playing in punk bands and arranging shows as early as 16 years old, renting the upstairs hall at J’s Place or even utilizing a friend’s basement. They would find any way they could to get the music out there and give us all a reason to get together. Then as the years went by, we had venues such as The Turnaround or The Crown to house the high energy Crust Punk bands that would venture through, or the Ford Plant to give us that alternative style punk that the scene would gradually gravitate towards.
In my 20’s I discovered what I would call the Jam Scene. Two Doors Down became a home away from home for all of us who just wanted to dance the night away to the areas’ great talent of jam bands. It felt nearly every weekend there was a new arrangement of a select group of musicians pulling something together to keep the room moving. One of my favourite musical memories was during this time. The room was full, maybe even too full, and there wasn’t a single still body in the house. People were dancing on chairs, couches, and even a few on the bar. They just needed to find enough space to allow their bodies to sway. I’ve never seen so much joy in such a small space.
Let’s not forget ZZZ. These guys worked so hard to bring Brantford something new and succeeded. ZZZ brought our town an alternative to the norm. Filling our ears with genres most of us had never heard of and giving us wild and wacky new bands to fall in love with. All the while promoting an open and friendly vibe to the wide variety of people that would walk through the doors of either the Station Coffee House or later The Creamery. I think this was the first scene that I experienced in town that consistently brought together both the musical and visual arts.
This past year I was fortunate enough to find a home that would consistently provide me with my beloved Blues. Warmington’s Bistro became a constant for me last winter and I’m sure it will be again. The talent that is provided there seemed to be unwaveringly top notch. The Blues has always been well represented in our town through a few venues providing weekend matinees, or the odd show here and there, but I must say I am delighted to find a place that will warm up my winters with that sweet full sound on a regular basis.
That is just the few scenes that I have experienced in short. Through doing interviews for BScene I have learned of so many more that sounds as though they were nothing short of wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing George Rose of The George Rose Big Band talk of the years when The Alexander would be filled with big band and swing music. After talking with Fifth Temple my faith of good ole barebones Rock and Roll returning to Brantford was restored. Cody James Wood, Chris Strei, and Ashley LeBlanc helped me realize that Country music is still going strong. Shaun Mulrain showed me all the ways a musician can be involved in the community and become entrepreneurs.
So next time you’re feeling down or bored and worried about the town around you get out and see what Brantford has to offer you musically. For a small town, we sure do have a large variety of exceptional talent to choose from and live music in a number of small businesses nearly every night of the week. Not only is there a good chance you’ll find something new to lift your spirits you’ll be supporting the businesses that stay true to providing the raw local talent that keeps this town groovin.
Thank you, Brantford for providing me with some of my favourite bands and musicians. Life would be pretty dull without you.