Open Mic @ Uptown Pub House starts this Sunday!!
Here is my 1st AUDBLOG - Audblog #1 (January 25 2018)
Lauren was one of the great performers who left it all on the stage at our Open Mic/Social Club. It all goes down every Tuesday at Wellesley Fox & Fiddle in downtown Toronto. Start time is always 8 PM. I am Augy G and I am your host for the evening. Come on down one time and reveal your soul. Cheers!
I can't say enough good things about Eric Arceneaux's Vocal Warmup video. I found this helpful in maintaining my voice when I have to sing for 7 or 8 hours in a day (double gigging). This also helps with power, tone and relaxing the body. Check out his other videos as well.
A Few things here. My niece Ava was born in July/2004 and she is doing great. She is an amazing dancer and artist. Our entire family is so proud of her. Also, I remember that at the time I had never watched Canadian or American Idol because I was too busy gigging....as always the adventure continues...hope you like this old blog. Cheers!
Friday, September 03, 2004
Aug The Blog Hits Boston Hard
This is my first gig posting. Last night I had a great night at Boston Pizza in Burlington. From that 7 yr. old kid playing air guitar to Donna the owner honing her skills as a party animal a good time was had by all. I am sure that Phil and Cal (from across the street) will be rock stars one day. Thanks for coming up guys. The four polite elderly people stayed for the first set but had to leave to check out Canadian Idol. Don't they know that I am the Canadian Idol. The group from Maple Leaf Foods were a party. I found out at the end of the night that it wasn't Ron's birthday after all. It was a good reason to party though. The Sambuca shots were still being consumed by Carlos at record pace. Rosemary and Ron are definitely in love. Hey Jeff eveyone thinks you look like Paul Newman. It's time to come clean. After Jeff asked if I knew "Leave Your Hat On" for the 7th time the heaters on the patio kicked in and I had no choice but to break into the Greek song to distract him. By the way, who was that young girl with the yellow dress on who snuck up and sang solo. Wow! She was great. I have photos of most of this. My digital is never too far away. By the way, did I mention Ava? She's my new niece! Parents Ernie and Joan know how to make beautiful babies that's for sure.
Aug The Blog....the adventure continues......
I miss playing at The Blue Moose in Sutton. It was a little far from where I was living back in 2004, but always worth the trip. Scott Richards used to show up and play bass with me every now and then. He was a great man and is fondly remembered. Below is a blog post from back then.
September 11, 2004
I got to Sutton at around 8:10....I saw Donna, then she told me the news.They are selling the place. I wish Suzanne, Donna, Pat and Scott a great future. They have always treated me like gold. Thank you. I had a great night. It started off slow but gained momentum as the night progressed. Buck was there with his brand new hair and Andre showed up as well. Lori's birthday was part of the celebration. I must admit that the theme of the night otherwise revolved around ZEPHYR (45 minutes north east of Toronto). I think I sang at least 3 songs about Mike (apparently he's a great mechanic as well as being the king of ZEPHYR). I suppose that would make Leanne the queen. I am sure anyone reading this must think that I've lost my focus. You are correct. Sonya was sweet (looks great and I still don't believe you have 3 kids). Her husband Jason was great except he kept on swearing at me. It was very motivational. I will consult a therapist soon. Jeff played a few tunes. Chris the cook/songwriter/nice guy sang some great blues with his harmonica buddy (I'm sorry I don't remember his name). JD and Barb showed up and just as they were about to leave, here come Paul and Fran. They just got back from Europe. Spain no less. Fran spent some time in England but they went there to attend a wedding. I just found out that Paul's handicap is 3 (at his very best). I wish someone could describe that famous patio night when i placed the guitar on Paul's lap and I played the left hand . Paul started strumming and he sang with the passion of a man half his age. I believe that was the night he became a Sutton sex symbol. There was lots of dancing with Deborah, Suzanne, and Paul leading the way. The funniest part of the evening was near night's end when those 2 young girls came in. I found out they were from Zephyr. It was at that moment I realized that the universe is truly connected. Mesopotamia is overrated. The night ended with a little trek to the street with Paul and Lori part of a human train. Click! I took the picture....
Well, in 2017 it's still true in the pub world. Once everyone agrees to a RULE it must be true and if it can be fun it becomes reality. Cheers!
September 24, 2004
There are 4 separate drinking areas at Aw Shucks in Aurora. You have the lovely dining area in the back, the spacious patio which faces the parking lot and is well hidden, the bar area where many congregate, and finally you have the entertainment room. Last night you couldn't step into this room without shaking hands with Lloyd. That became the rule. This became a lot of fun. I think at least ten people had shaken hands with Lloyd. Lloyd was there with Neil (with proceding hairline "I'm jealous") , Leah (Neil's girlfriend....Lloyd's daughter)....and her mother Shirley. I found out early that they lived for some time in Larder Lake, 20 minutes north of Kirkland Lake. They were great fun. It was hilarious when Dickie (actually his real name is Michael) was the one encouraging everyone to shake hands with Lloyd. Lloyd became a superstar. I sat with the four good people on my breaks. It was great to be back at Aw Shucks again. I'll be back there soon.....and the adventure continues......
As the colder weather starts creeping in we now have a tradition that we stock up on some oak. I drove on down to a Stairs and Railing Company in Pickering where they sell their scrap wood in bulk for a very reasonable price. I find that oak throws off considerable heat so when we mix it with our other firewood and starter we are able to enjoy a nice long warm evening in our Canadian living room.
December is less than a week away. This time of year I start thinking about applying the Guitar Chord Melody knowledge I have acquired over the years and start working out some tunes that have that spirit. We all have the favourite things that we enjoy. For me, being with my loved ones and playing guitar are just a few. I will be posting some Christmas Chord Melody Arrangements in the coming days. That's why for me, it's beginning to sound a lot like....
The older I get the more I realize how much the heart softens and looks back fondly on the friendships and opportunities that have been bestowed upon me throughout the years. I am having fun putting this new website together because it allows me to reflect on the past with less judgement and more embrace. I will be putting up blog posts from the past and mix them in with the present and future.
I am thankful for all the people who stepped in and out and still remain in my life. I presently live in Oshawa with my beautiful Lilly and our child Carmen. Carmen is an aging hound dog who needs more attention these days. We happily provide it.
As I put together this website www.augy.ca the main focus is on getting new gigs, mostly in pubs and at corporate functions. The landscape always changes and it's always good to get to play new rooms which leads to new friends and new demands. Entertaining an audience never gets old for me because it's always a new opportunity, a brand new puzzle to figure out how to make the people feel good. The repertoire and my talent remains secondary to the audience. This has always been my perspective.
Best of everything to all who read this. Health is number one so I wish you GOOD HEALTH.
September 22, 2004
Observing Through The Eye Of Morning
At first thought this morning I felt I had nothing to blog about. A special friend came over and took me for a ride in a Cadillac Sedan Deville. That doesn't happen everyday to us musician folk. I am used to driving my elderly, dependable, Mazda MPV. When I got home, before working on some unfinished recordings I decided to have a look at the photos I took from the night before. The first picture i clicked onto was that of Christine and Marcos on the patio at The Moose in Woodbridge. In the picture Christine is writing her blog address as Marcos points to her. She just returned to university with English as her major. Christine tells me that she will be using her blog to write her poetry. I think that is a great idea. Marcos, her friend, plays in the band " Eye Of Morning" . I like the name and he comes across quite confident. I wish them both luck. How I got on the patio is another story. I am supposed to be playing inside. Tracy, a waitress at The Moose, came inside and introduced me to Dionne, her friend from Newfoundland. She asked that I bring my guitar on the patio and sing Dionne some Newfie tunes. I went out and Marcos even brought me a stool from inside and I sang Isa Bye and Little Boats Of Newfoundland. I love being on the patio. It's such a beautiful night. " Rat " was there and we sang RATMAN with glorious conviction. I'm feeling the love. After doing a few other pub tunes on the patio I go back inside to work with the non-smokers. Jevon Rudder is there. He's quite a talented producer/singer. He's sitting with Mirella. I do a set then take a break. On my break I go outside and meet these 4-19 year old creative types. I asked if any of them play. Three of them point to Alex. I get them back inside. Alex starts playing. He plays very steady and precise. I enjoyed it. I find out that he has a band called "Calicut Postal"....neat name....I make up a song with him on the fly then Justin goes up and sings. Andrew, the third guy plays bass. He's a lefty. He picked up my guitar and made it groove in a mucho cool way. I took pictures of all of them. At this point I can't see why I didn't think this night was bloggable. Ohhhh....I forgot.....Jay....my 19th best friend was there....and the adventure continues....
September 8, 2004
EH CUMPARI Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari Chi si sona? U friscalettu. E comu si sona u friscalettu? u friscalette, tipiti tipiti tam. E cumpari, ci vo sunari. ... Yes I know this is Canada but my background is Italian and I played in Woodbrige at the Moose yesterday.......I like to play Eh Cumpari (an old Italian folk song) to break the ice. If you are Italian it makes you laugh, if not you probably want to hit the entertainer. I think it was a hit in the early 50's. It was a modest crowd in numbers but Tanya the bartender was helping me work the room. I took a picture of the crowd waving to me, and of course I played Eh Compari. Calendar Boy was the "on the spot written song" inspired by Jay (hope you sell the boat). I had much time for reflection, whether it was the times when the place was packed because of Paul, Christian, Chris and Ray (Woodbridge equivalent of THE BEATLES ), or Anthony The Actor, the poet who would recite his poetry rants with me playing background unscripted guitar, The Scenes, or Stiltdrown, or Marcello singin' Dylan..... I can go on and on but I will save it for another post. I suspect that Bobby Hamilton will one day show up. He is somewhat of a folk hero in "Aug The Blog" history. I got a call today to play Boston Pizza tomorrow.........Oh...I almost forgot.....Congratulations to Mario! He has been playing guitar for only 3 months and he is truly quite good....I have never seen anyone progress that quickly....He showed me the proper way to play Stairway To Heaven....I showed him the improper way to play Eh Compari.....so the adventure continues.........
September 19, 2004
Augstock Music and Good Fun Fair in 2004 drew more than 50 people to a backyard in Toronto, Ontario. For four and a half hours, the site became a mini-nation in which minds were open, and love was "freedom". The music began Friday evening at 8:30pm September 18 and continued until early-morning Sunday September 19. The festival inspired a slew of local and state laws to ensure that nothing like it would ever happen again. The police appeared to shut the concert down at 12:30 AM.
Okay so I'm glorifying a great night. I'm allowed. Actually it was a birthday party (I am withholding his name.....i will refer to him as B). I was greeted at the front of the house by Toby the dog. When I got to the backyard I was surrounded by people and a huge space within very tall trees. There was a fire burning in the distance. Rumours were everywhere that Sh and An were going to be there. I would say there was between 50 and 75 people there. 1000 could have easily fit in this well layed out large backyard. I set up and did my soundcheck by letting my drum machine (my 67th best friend) play a light shuffle. I walked around and decided that the sound was working for me. I picked up the guitar and started improvising D minor riffs ala never ending then I went into Eric Clapton's Layla. I played a few tunes and I introduced myself to 4 very friendly Romanian people who were standing in front of me. They were Co, Li, Ca, Da (again I'm protecting identities here). They were the first to take me in. Na then started doing her dance. The catered affair was to my liking. I turn away for a second then An's voice startled me a little. They arrived. Sh and An look as great as usual. An is more tanned than normal. He denies any recent sun exposure. I was starting to question my judgement of not bringing another musician to make the sound fuller. I thought maybe I was over thinking since B (birthday boy) who hired me already knew what it was that I do. Al paid tribute to Bill (ooops...no full names please) with his tongue twisting spectacular bbb bb bb oral gymnastics (my microphone is currently not accepting anymore B's). Lots of dancing followed along with a trek or two to the fire burning brightly in the back. A human train was also led to the fire. I have 2 great pics of that (I had my camera in my pocket...handy for incoming trains).
Another lingering highlight was when we played the CALL GAME. This is where a dance groove is playing and one person is centered out....who's next???? another name is called and then maybe a song with their name is chanted ar they are put in the middle of a circle. This works best for shy people. Watching them come out of their shell is fun. The star was definately SOL (I wish I could reveal real names). This guy looked embarassed when centered out but when he hit the dance area he showed off like a Jackson. This kind of selection process continues with the idea that everyone will eventually be called. The game ends when no one new is being called, or everyone has been called. Thanks B....Apparently I will be seeing them the first week of December at Spezzo in Richmond Hill........until then.....the adventure continues........P.S. the police did really shut me down at 12:30....anywhere else I would have been shut down at 11.....
Outside Spezzo with the Anniversary couples
Over the past year I have taken over 4,000 pictures. I save them all. The reason I took all those pictures was because I was trying to quit smoking, and I needed something to do on my breaks. I didn't have a blog back then so if anyone reading this remembers a certain special night, feel free to let me know and I will post the picture of that memory...this picture was from Saturday night with the Anniversary couples at Spezzo....the adventure continues....
posted by AUGBLOG @ 10:39 PM |
I will be performing in downtown Toronto this Friday (8-12)....and this Saturday (9-1) at the Wolf and Firkin....at Yonge and Elm St. just west of Yonge on Elm...across from the Delta Chelsea....Hope to see you there....Cheers...Aug
posted by AUGBLOG @ 9:07 PM |
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Happy Anniversaries at Spezzo
Do you remember when we met
That's the day I knew you were my pet
I want to tell you how much I love you
Come with me, my love
To the sea, the sea of love
I want to tell you how much I love you
This was the song I was singing at Spezzo last night for more than a few couples. Frank and Maria (19 years)....Dan and Restitutta (16 years)....Charlie and Carmelita (15 years).....Jamie and Sherry (13 years).
I had a great time last night at Spezzo. Charlie had shaken hands with pretty much the whole place by the time the night had ended. I can't believe this hand shaking experience repeated itself within one week. Charlie is no relation to Lloyd (see my prior posting). The difference here was that Charlie was sent to shake hands with other tables as opposed to the people coming to him. I like the way he brought the room together. Dan and his suave looks had been the subject of much of my commentary. Perhaps one day he will have a statue
put up in his honour. Frank was the smooth, fast talking, good hearted, guy (no wonder his marriage to Maria lasted 19 years....and counting) who broke the ice by sending an early thumbs up my way. This allowed me to feel comfortable entertaining them. The anniversaries were real. Charlie's hand shaking resulted in Sherry and Jamie from Uxbridge coming over and joining the other couples at there table. We could see new people coming in from the outside. The thought was that they deserve a standing ovation when they were visable to us all. The tables also followed me outside (actually the people at the tables did as well) of Spezzo ( sometimes I wander with my guitar hoping others will follow). I have a few nice pictures of this. Thanks to everyone (including Kareem, Mike the bartender, Carlos, the new manager, Peter the excellent waiter, Manny the Philosopher, the Armenian folk....etc.) for making my stay at Spezzo a memory worth blogging. I just wanted to wish Kara a Happy Birthday (she was unable to attend). I also wanted to say hello to Jay from Edmonton. It was good to meet him the night before. The night ended with me singing "Tears In Heaven" to a few people in the back who claimed they loved the song. Shannon sat at this particular table, and when the song was over she asked me if I was Augy's brother (she had seen Augy perform at the Moose several times)....I replied "No I am not"......and the adventure continues........
Turning what appears to be an uneventful night into an entertaining event is something always worth striving for.
Imagine Fire & Beer & Lilly, The Orange Hat Cowgirl
Friday, September 17, 2004
Just got into Bronte. Ladies and gentlemen will you please welcome...no applause....that's alright. I set up in a small area facing a fireplace. To the right is the bar which I can't really see from here. To the left is the packed patio. The patio doors are closed though so here I am stuck in the middle with whomever walks by. I started off playing some tunes and I noticed the first trend. People are really friendly. One at a time they pass by and wave or one at a time they will come up and speak with me (while I am singing). Brian, the 33 year old hippy (interesting phenomenon) is requesting Motorhead and Supertramp. Sorry I don't know any. He remains my friend. Jay passes by and says hello. He has a good voice but claims that he isn't singing tonight. The night's okay but this is nothing to blog about. In the middle of the first set, Sarah the manager, opens the patio doors. She needs some help with the lock so she asks one of the stronger patrons to help (she could've asked me....I have the strength of 12 men). Linda and Liz were there and bless their souls they danced to "Brown Eyed Girl". They warn me...."No pictures". I'll do anything they ask because they are participating. Looks like a tough night ahead. Introducing the catalyst. She walks in happy and I thought we could get along. She's wearing this orange cowgirl style party hat. I comment on the orange hat on the the microphone. She gives me the finger. Alert! I am misreading the audience. I move on and then I hear someone call her Lilly. LILLY!!!!!!!! That's my girlfriend's name. Suddenly all the nouns in the song I was singing were substituted with Lilly. I plug out my guitar and head fearlessly for the patio and sit beside her singing Lilly....Lilly...Lilly on the river. The audience is into it now and they are chanting her name. Now I have something to blog about. Finally I get her and Jay to get up and dance. Lilly's my friend now. She likes the attention. Click! I get some pictures of her. She puts the hat on me . Click! Someone takes my picture while I sit under this magical orange hat. It's the proof that all this happened. I take a break and go on the patio. Jay brings a new Imagine to my attention......he imagined me singing these words found in Jack Boland's article in the Sun. I would have tried but i needed a magnifying glass to read the print. I'll blog it instead. This is to be sung to John Lennon's Imagine (created by the staff of Mike & Mike in the morning radio show in New York )....Imagine there's no hockey....it's easy if one tries.....no dead squids a flyin'....or don cherry's ugly ties.....imagine all the hosers....sober on hockey night....ku-ru-ku-ku-kuku-koo......Imagine no bad haircuts besmirching this grand game.....no brothers hanson......no mullet hall of fame.....imagine Barry Melrose with cornrows--don't be afraid....you may think i'm a dreamer....but i'm not the only one....i hope some day you'll join us....and the world will live as one. On the patio Brian breaks into Asylum by Supertramp. I am his audience. He's quite passionate about singing. He knows all the words as well. The night went very well with Robin singing a tune, and more dancing. At the end of the evening Chris with a broken left hand and Jay turned the place into a mini concert while I was tearing down. As I'm loading my stuff in my van I hear someone wailing on the patio. It's Brian singing his version of This Flight Tonight (Starbright, starbright, you’ve got the lovin’ that I like) by Nazareth. "Look out the left the captain said...The lights down there that’s where we’ll land ...Saw a falling star burning... High above the las vegas sand....."
The evening at The Firehall was pure medicine. Thank you Lilly with the orange hat.....the adventure continues...
If you have a band and you are playing in front of 700 people then you require 1,400 watts of PA power. The rule of thumb is 2 watts per person. This is what Michael from the "soon to rule the world band" ENDORPHINS taught me last night.....the adventure continues...
March 5, 2014
Here marks the end of an era. Tuesday night open mic with Augy G at the Wolf and Firkin drew to a close on Tuesday February 18, 2014 after ten years of sharing, mentoring and entertaining and being entertained. It sure went out with a bang, not a whimper! A huge turnout of fans, friends and jammers got together for the grand finale. Jason Kirow, Lyndsie Whalen, Paul Fanone, The Dead Pixels, Corey, Pablo Mandy, Juli, Chris Li, Flights Falls, Jonny, Christopher Hollow, Brad, Tim and Norman Paprakis were just few of many who contributed to the atmosphere of the evening. The Pixel Gang was there in full force.
The piece de resistance occurred when Jason Kirow & Lyndsie Whalen took to the stage and presented me with a brand new Martin acoustic guitar. The whole Pixel Gang generously contributed, and I appreciate this beyond words. Everytime I play this guitar (I’m thinking of naming her Pixella) memories of Tuesday nights with the Pixel Gang will come back. The case was signed by so many great friends. Thanks so much for your good thoughts and kind words. It means the world to me to know how much our Tuesday nights meant to everyone. With every door that closes, however , another one opens and hopefully we will find another home to make our particular brand of magic!
Below are pictures of the guitar and the signed case. Cheers!
Last night I made the trek to Peterborough to be part of the Celebration of Stompin' Tom Connors' life.
It was a great tribute made even more special by the fact that he himself was the architect of celebration. Before the show started I noticed another Canadian celebrity, Tommy Hunter, signing autographs for any fans that approached him. I was happy to see that he attended and even from a distance I could tell that he still respected his fans, but last night was all about the other Tom.
There were many solid performances, notably, Sylvia Tyson, Cindy Church and J.P. Cormier (great guitar playing), Damnait Doyle, not to mention an incredible vocal performance of I AM THE WIND by Mark LaForme, the guitarist in Tom's band.
For me the most touching moment came from his son, Tom Jr., who looks exactly like his dad. He spoke from the heart and gave us more insight into the man, who was his father.
Tom was even there as his casket draped with the Canadian flag was rolled on to the stage and put to the side along with his trademark hat and acoustic guitar that had A PROUD CANADIAN on the headstock.
There are many reasons to love this guy whether it's his music , lyrics or lifestyle. For me it was a combination of all of the above. The main thing is that he was a true Canadian writing about every Canadian place and every Canadian person that he was interested in, so to you, Born in St. John, New Brunswick, raised in Skinner's Pond P.E.I., Stomping' Tom we salute you with the song "Tribute to Stompin' Tom", as performed by our band, Big Blue Bus, at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern in the early 90's