Every Tuesday evening, the very lively Painted Lady on Ossington Ave. in Toronto hosts the aBabe showcase. Tonight, the showcase will feature The Goatbox Rebels, The Stormalongs, Eightcubed, and Sarah Sidd.
aBabe was founded by Lisa Humber and Josh Haggarty in September 2013. As their mandate – artists for artists – suggests, the group supports emerging and established musicians in Toronto, with hopes to create a tighter knit community among artists in this city’s large and competitive music scene.
Each member of aBabe has years of experience in music, theatre, film, radio and television; skills they use to help promote the musicians through music videos, photoshoots and other platfforms. Every month, they host a podcast on their website; the last couple of podcasts have featured Alysha Brilla, who is nominated for a Juno.
Humber told Raz Mataz that she feels that musicians have been kind of fighting each other to be noticed, for lack of better words, and aBabe was founded to help artists get their names out there and bring everyone together. In regards to Tuesday evenings, Humber said they strive to introduce four to five diverse acts every week to appeal to a wide range of audience. The Painted Lady makes for the perfect venue as they host a diversity of music, seven nights a week. The last aBabe showcase on March 11 featured some reggae, country, vaudeville, and folk rock.
The highlight of the evening was the third act – Kristen Bussandri, featuring Darcy Windover. Bussandri will be releasing her debut LP this summer and Raz Mataz has an exclusive interview with her coming closer to the date! The country singer is new to Toronto, having moved here from Montreal. The National Post has already named her one of the five musicians who will break out. There is no disagreement with the Post, after hearing Bussandri with her clear, smooth, melodic vocals in songs like the upbeat ‘When We Were Young’ or the emotional and heartbreaking ‘How Could You’, off her 2011 EP, Diamonds to Dust. Windover also featured some of his music in the set, the most memorable of which was ‘As We Go Down’, featuring a very catchy riff, and ‘Caught Fire’, which showcased he and Bussandri in a beautiful, harmonious duet, both complimenting each other very well.
Another highlight was Cat and the Queen, a solo act featuring Cat Montgomery on keyboard. Her music is reminiscent of vaudeville – playful, sexy and theatrical. Montogomery is a complete nut case – in a good way! – entertaining the crowd and mixing offbeat, crazy humour with music. She did a cover of ‘Benny and the Jets’ with her own lyrics, along with some original songs like the untitled “winter, depressed, Toronto or something fucking like that” and ‘Shark’. Her lyrics explore life – heartbreak, living in the city – in a very theatrical kind of way. A lot of the lyrical content is fucked up and depressing as she would call it, but she looks at it in a sort of positive light. A fellow patron described her as a pop singer on crack, but nevertheless, she is definitely someone to watch if you want humour and good music.
The next aBabe showcase on March 18 will feature blues rock in The Goatbox Rebels, garage rock ‘n’ roll in The Stormalongs, some electronic rock with Eightcubed, and lastly the very soulful vocals of pop singer, Sarah Sidd. Be at the Painted Lady at 218 Ossington Ave. at 9 pm!