I arrived downtown nice and early, only to have the show-going, promoter side of me facepalm at the common knowledge that shows almost always kick off at least half an hour later than they’re supposed to, and here I was, an hour early for the whole thing. So, I did what any sane person would do, and headed over to The Night Kitchen for some of the best pizza in town.
Sitting on the patio at the café district on Hunter, I thought about how lucky Trent students were to be surrounded by such a great culture of music and food. It’s a Wednesday night, I’m having gourmet pizza, and there are venues all over town gearing up for a night of live music. For a small city, this is quite impressive.
On Wednesday October 3, Evan MacDonald kicked off his first night of residency at The Red Garnet with a night of live tunes along with Danny Taro, Jon Dowdell, Jon Mackay, and other Peterborough musicians, hailing from bands like The Token Player.
Every Wednesday of this month, MacDonald will be playing at The Garnet, and it is absolutely worth checking out. MacDonald is a fourth-year Trent student, and thrives on live music.
New and local collective, Colour Upwards, created by Danny Taro, a spoken word and hip-hop artist in Peterborough, put on the show, labeling the residency series “Free Fall.”
Not only was it the kick-off of MacDonald’s residency at The Garnet, but it was also his 23rd birthday. What better way to spend it than doing his favourite thing? Playing live music.
I asked Macdonald what it was like playing on his birthday, and he enthusiastically replied, “It’s very humbling. I get to play in front of my friends and family!”
It was a supportive crowd, with MacDonald’s dad buying all the musicians on stage a round. MacDonald hit the stage with his cousin Scott, and friend Jon Mackey, both in-town musicians. It was a night of fun covers and enticing originals.
With the Leafs game in the background, and people slowly trickling in, The Garnet soon turned into a lively, light-hearted, and positive environment. The joy that live music brings has a tendency to spread and permeate into everyone’s consciousness.
Everyone was grinning. MacDonald is a solo artist, but played with some other local musicians, and the stage soon turned into a mini orchestra of trumpet, saxophone, tambourine, guitar, bass, and bongos.
Various musicians walked on and off the stage to partake in harmonies, and add depth to the music with their unique qualities, whether it was a bit of jazz, blues, or country soul.
The night was a mixture of free-flowing jams with breaks where MacDonald would hit the acoustic and sing into the microphone, filling the small venue with his strong vocals.
While what I’ve coined as “the mini orchestra” was jamming on stage, Taro hopped up and started free-style rapping, creating a jazzy hip-hop performance. While MacDonald took a break and had some birthday drinks with friends and family, Taro performed a set of original rap songs.
Colour Upwards allowed a creative, unique combination of genres and talents to share their stuff, and it worked perfectly. Taro and I got a chance to talk about Colour Upwards after he finished his performance.
“It’s an art collective that anyone can join. We’re looking for artists of all sorts, or just creative people in general. If you have a creative outlet you don’t consider an art, like social media, we’d still be interested in working with you,” he said.
Colour Upwards is a fresh collective interested in the promotion of arts, hoping to transition into a media group. I asked Taro what inspired him to create this collective, and he answered, “After years of being a rapper and a poet, and working with bands and other poets, I realized that a lot of talent and ideas were going unnoticed. This is a way for my friends, and whoever else wants to be involved, to take art more seriously.”
For those interested, there is a membership application, and it is free to join Colour Upwards right now. Musicians like MacDonald should not go unnoticed, and with more collectives like Colour Upwards rising up, there are lots of opportunities for everyone to get creative. Evan MacDonald and Colour Upwards can both be found online with a simple Google or Facebook search.
It’s getting cold fast, folks, so make sure to head over to The Garnet on Wednesday nights this month with your friends and family, and hang out with talented local musicians over some belly-warming drinks, laughter, and music!