The Lowest of the Low Few bands are quite as quintessentially Toronto as the Lowest of the Low. When the band released
it was unlike anything else of that era. Songs are full of cheeky and introspective lyrics that swirl around the story of a failed romance played out while the romantic hero traipses around the streets of Toronto from the Only Café to Chinatown, a tin of Guiness in one hand, a Bukowski novel in the other. So influential was the album that singer and songwriter Ron Hawkins is still quite able to pack any sized Toronto room with crooners eagerly willing to sing along to every cherished word. But the story doesn’t end there. Indeed, the band has had some serious recent success, and the new album could be Hawkins’ best work yet, culminating in a massive sevenalbum collection called Shakespeare My Box released last Big Sugar Not many bands could master the sheer sonic assault of Big Sugar and its singer and guitarist Gordie Johnson. With a 1991 self-titled debut, the band fused incredible bluesy rock with a wisp of reggae style to create something unique and fresh and utterly Canadian. Sadly, the band lost one of its cherished members recently, Garry Lowe, and is intent on sending him off to that great sound studio in the sky in style with a big show at the Danforth Music Hall on Dec. 28. Joel Plaskett Emergency In the ’90s, bands from the East Coast of Canada were some of the best. First to lead the way was Sloan, who established Murderecords and initiated a steady stream of killer acts like Eric’s Trip and the Hardship Post. One of the best on the label was Thrush Hermit. This explosive, indie rock band introduced the country to a fella by the name of Joel Plaskett, and we kinda lost it on this guy when he went solo and released his debut
He plays with his band the Emergency at the Danforth Music Hall on Dec. 21. The Tea Party Sure, we thought he might have been pushing the Jim Morrison thing a bit too far, but when he got out the violin bow and started playing guitar, there was no denying the special talent of Jeff Martin. This trio was formed in Toronto at the Cherry Beach rehearsal studios and went on to international acclaim on the heels of memorable Middle Eastern–influenced tunes such as “The River.” The Tea Party plays the Danforth Music Hall on Dec. 27 and 29.