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The Queen’s Plate Shifts Toward Live Music

2016 queen's plate

The Queen’s Plate has been a staple event in Toronto for many years. Channeling the glamour of the Calgary Stampede and the Kentucky Derby – it is the one event in Toronto that people go all out for, style wise.

Despite its long running history – this was the 157th Queen’s Plate! – this was my first time attending. While I’ve been to Woodbine once before, years back, and spent some time last summer visiting Mohawk Racetrack – I had been missing out.

That all changed this year, possibly because they changed the event up to include a live music portion after the races. Where there is music, I will go.

With this being my first year attending, I wanted to get there early and attempt to experience everything. This was probably not the smartest idea with it being such a long day, but I’m glad I now know how to plan for it in the future.

Upon arrival I explored the outdoor parties taking place, took in the outfits on display and enjoyed the local live bands that were playing the daytime portion. It can be an overwhelming site if you’ve never been before. The space is huge, and there is a lot going on before you even get inside to the racing portion.

After trying the official Queen’s Plate drink of the day (one of my favourite parts of the event), we went inside to find our seats and watch the races. While the earlier races aren’t as attended as the main event, it was interesting to watch the hardcore betters get excited about their horses.

queen's plate 2016

When the main event – the Queen’s Plate race – approached, the inside of the venue began to be packed, and the seating area filled up quickly. This is what everyone was here for, and it showed. As the race began, the cheering was like nothing I’ve experienced yet in my visits to live racing. It was absolute madness. In a good way. In an exciting way. I immediately understood the appeal.

Sadly, I didn’t end up betting on a horse this time, because, with the event as packed as it was – I didn’t want to be the one person taking an hour at the booth trying to figure out how to place a bet. Yes, I’ve done it before, but not enough to remember how a year later. With so many people lined up behind me waiting to place theirs, I instead decided to just enjoy everyone else getting excited for their winnings.

Food wise, there was a nice variety of food trucks available to change it up from the standard food court inside Woodbine. I ended up trying some “Italian Poutine” that was actually just what I needed.

matt good queens plate

Now that the races were over, the concert portion officially began. One of my favourites (they almost made it onto my Polaris Short List vote ballot), The Strumbellas, took the stage. Sadly, I mostly missed their set due to the logistics of the horses getting in and out of the venue (you have to wait a while to get from the inside area of the building to the outside every time the horses leave and enter), but what I did hear of it was as excellent as I’ve come to expect from these guys.

At this point, it had been a long 7 hours on our feet running around the huge venue, and we were getting incredibly tired, but I did want to stay for Matt Good. I ended up staying for about half the set (which was excellent) before we called it a day.

Overall it was an exciting event, the kind of event we don’t see in Toronto often. And I think the choice to make it a ticketed event with a solid lineup is a big step in the right direction in terms of bringing out the younger crowd to an event we would otherwise likely miss.

Next year, it would be nice to see the concert and the races overlapping a bit more, if only to make it less of a long day on your feet when you’re that dressed up. But I do hope they keep running with the live music idea.

I hear a new live music venue is actually being built onsite, which is exactly what the city needs.

 Lisa

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Open Roof Fest Returns For Another Summer Of Movies and Music

open roof fest toronto 2016

Open Roof Fest, the summer long festival that supports two of my favourite passions: music and film, returns to Toronto this week, providing your weekly live music and awesome movie fix.

movies

This year the films screening include Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!, Sing Street, The Lobster, TIFF darling Sleeping Giant, Off The Rails, A Bigger Splash, My Blind Brother, and Hunt For the Wilderpeople.

music

Music includes Matrox, Fresh Show, Kayla Diamond, Bruce Peninsula, Tomi Swick, Grand Analog, Chloe Charles, Sam Drysdale, Yuka and Most People.

when & where

Opening night happens on Tuesday June 21st and it runs every Tuesday at 99 Sudbury until August 24th, with doors at 7pm, bands on at 8pm and movies starting at sunset around 9pm.

As usual, Amsterdam Brewery will be on hand for beer, and food trucks such as the Food Dudes are being incorporated this year to provide the eats.

If you’re looking for a great summer date night, there is no better way to impress your beau than with the latest Linklater movie + beers under the stars. They pulled off a stellar lineup yet again this year. Be there.

 Lisa

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Learning About Bourbon Cocktails At The Yukon Blonde Concert

yukon blonde toronto

The other week, I had the chance to take part in a bourbon tasting event with Jim Beam, before heading off to the surprise Yukon Blonde show they put on at the Mod Club (if you were lucky, you might have even won a pair of tickets to it from me).

There are few things that go together better than a good bourbon and live music, so this was the perfect night for me.

I arrived early at the venue, where a handful of bloggers were on hand to learn all about the different varieties of bourbon Jim Beam makes. Each bottle had various levels of aging involved, and there was even a Honey and Apple variety that I was proceeded to happily drink the rest of the night. Who knew flavoured bourbon was a thing? Turns out it’s a really, really great thing.

jim beam mixologist

Their fabulously bearded mixologist taught us all about what goes into aging the perfect bottle of bourbon, and I found it interesting that whiskey barrels can never be reused for whiskey because, high standards (they do get recycled for aging other kinds of liqour though).

Also, there is a minimum rule that (I might be remembering this wrong) whiskey in Canada must be aged at least 2 years, and all Jim Beam bourbon is aged at least 3 years. So this might be why I find bourbon so much stronger than any other hard liquor I indulge in.

jim beam canada

We each had the chance to create our own drink for the evening, and because I was so into the Apple bourbon during the tasting, he suggested I try this combo:

1 ounce regular Jim Beam

1 ounce apple Jim Beam

1 part simple cinnamon syrup

Top with ginger beer

No lie – it ended up tasting like apple pie. It is going to become my new go to staple at my home bar. So simple, so yummy.

After we had our new cocktails in hand, we headed downstairs to see the Luke Austin Band open, and then Yukon Blonde took the stage. As per usual they brought their uplifting, carefree west coast pop rock to Toronto and the packed venue was singing along to every song. While On Blonde hasn’t pulled me in quite as much as Tiger Talk did back in 2012, I still always have a blast seeing these guys live. Jeff and co. always give their all onstage, and the crowd of diehards that won their way into this event were definitely happy to see them again.

Overall, it was an excellent night of live music and great tunes, and I will be incorporating more bourbon cocktails into my bartending repertoire immediately.

 Lisa

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Julien Baker – Ballad of Big Nothing (Cover)

 

julien baker ballad big nothing

While things are in the process of changing around here, I came upon this incredible cover of an Elliott Smith song, and had to share. Obviously, the image for this series has always been a picture from the Elliott Smith memorial wall, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared one of his songs as a part of this, because I’d already wrote about him¬†way back when I started the blog, and because I tend to hate it when people cover artists like Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan as they are on the untouchable list.

But – “Ballad of Big Nothing” was always one of Elliott’s songs that I never loved quite as much as the rest for some reason. And when I heard this version, I realized it is the kind of cover that brings something great to the song, rather than just replacing his vocals with vocals I’ll usually care less about.

The way Baker – who was literally only 8 years old when he died – slowed the melody down and stripped away some of the extra elements Elliott had brought into his work in the last couple albums really, really works – and allows the brilliance of his lyrics to shine through even more. I think she managed to make it sound almost uplifting in its declarations, whereas Elliott sounded somewhere between angry and not giving a shit on this one.

Apparently this tribute album will be released on October 14th 2016, and also features covers from J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Amanda Palmer, Juliana Hatfield and Yuck, so I’m putting away my hatred of people messing with his work because these are the right artists to take on such a challenge.

Lisa

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Giveaway – VIP Tickets To Yukon Blonde At The Mod Club

Win VIP Tix To Yukon Blonde At Mod Club

Hi guys! Some of you may have noticed that the blog has been quiet lately, and that is because I am nearing the final stages of a rebrand and redesign – but TTRO will be back and completely revamped this summer, so I am grateful for your patience.

In the meantime, I have an awesome giveaway to share with those of you in Toronto. Yukon Blonde are playing a special show on Thursday June 2nd at the Mod Club, and thanks to Jim Beam, I have a pair of VIP tickets to giveaway to it.

VIP tickets include special seating in the Jim Beam VIP lounge, a meet and greet with the band, some free drinks, and a bourbon tasting – so they’re something you’ll probably want to get in on.

To enter, just email me at lisa at turntherecordover.com with the subject line “Yukon Blonde.”

I’ll give bonus points to anyone who mentions they are signed up for the upcoming TTRO newsletter, so be sure to mention that you are signed up for it (and use the email you signed up with) when you enter.

The winner will be notified on Wednesday June 1st by 5pm.

Good luck!

 Lisa

p.s. when you share, it makes my day...
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