Surfing on a Blues Wave

Surfing on a Blues Wave

Something interesting recently happened at Grossman’s Tavern. Rob Hiemstra put together a show with two different bands. The first band he organized was your traditional blues band and played a lot of the great standards. We’re talking Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Willie Dixon amongst other Blues Giants. His approach was laid back and cool, as he handled his guitar with a surgical precision and delicacy. He was smooth and flawless and kept the room warm on a very frigid night.

In fact, he is hard not to notice. He is very tall and slim, as he wore a very shiny mauve coloured shirt. His cool cat look was built on his slick backed hair that gave him a Chris Isaak look, only blonde in nature and his sideburns even welcomed you like a like a front door mat.

His blues band consisted of the super chilled Terry Wilkins on Bass. This man can hold down the entire sound and laid the foundation to all the other musicians to shine in their own way. Aaron Knight who sat at the front of the stage as he played with various percussion instruments and added all the delicate spices that each song needed to give it the right flavour. Glenn Milchem was on drums keeping everything moving forward in his straight forward manner, until he can find some space to add some fast and furious fills that would send some of the songs just over the top in a great way.

The second set is Rob’s surf band that he is very proud of and couldn’t wait to share that with Toronto. His band is called Chairmen of the Boards and to add some fun to his name, the Bass player is a woman named Maryann Mitchell who was so stoked to be on that stage wearing her corporate suit and ready to prove she would make an excellent Chairman.

I think this band is onto to something. By the time they got to the second song which was Del Shannon’s, Runaway, the dance floor began to fill up with some pretty happy hipsters and hippies. It was clear that surf music was a big hit and the Grossman’s crowd was totally digging it. He even dedicated a song to one of my childhood cartoons, Battle of the Planets. It seemed each song was just as much fun as the last. The momentum was in a perfect swing. His song titles were quirky and fit each of his beach themes, like, Beach Bang, Board Whacks and Sand between your toes. He even wondered, “What about BOB”. As the crowd grew tighter Rob walked into the crowd like a lounge lizard looking for a happy meal. He rocked out to the ultimate classic from Link Wray, “Rumble”.  Near the end of his set he mashed up a song that was a cross between surf and a spaghetti western. It was like, the man with no name firing his six shooters from a surf board as it plunged through a treacherous pipe.

I was totally satisfied at that point and could have gone home, but Rob brought his blues band back on to do a third set. The crowd got back on the floor and continued the party with a bunch of Rocking blues tunes like “Walking the Dog” to Cream’s, “Spoonful”. It was almost a panic as he was coming into the final song and the bar was yelling for last call. It was a reaction like “What do you mean the night is over”?

If this the kind of night you would have love to have been to, don’t fret, this is going to happen again this Thursday night at Sauce on the Danforth, located at 1376 Danforth Ave and starts at 8pm. If you miss this opportunity, then too bad for you ,for missing a great night out in Toronto.

Here are some images of Chairman of the Board:

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