Gladstone’s Saturday Swan Sessions wrap for summer today
Reprinted from Toronto Moon Magazine
Although it’s still a very new event, the weekly Saturday Sessions at the Swan 2 p.m. acoustic open mic/jam at Black Swan (not to be confused with the Saturday Sessions hosted for many moons by Bill Heffernan at Gate 403) is getting ready to hold a wrap party “season finale” today in the club at 154 Danforth Ave. near Broadview. Attendance for the past couple of weeks has been a little thin, an issue that plagued the event in its early weeks but seemed to get resolved for a while by early spring after host/organizer Brian Gladstone solicited suggestions from participants as to how to make it better. But with the weather nicer now it’s a little more difficult to convince people to hang out on a sunny day inside an upstairs lounge with no real natural lighting and no food on offer, prompting the decision to break for the summer months. Gladstone, who’s not averse to tweaking the details of the show, says it will resume in the fall but that he may consider changing the time to a little later in the day. Heffernan’s event, which also takes a summer break in July and August, runs 5-8, for example, but it’s also in a club, on Roncesvalles Ave. south of Howard Park, that has a very attractive menu. That event isn’t an open stage but includes weekly special guests —this afternoon that’d be killer acoustic Blues duo Alec Fraser and Mike Daley— which also helps attract more audience members.Perhaps more spectators might be inclined to forgo the pleasures of the outdoors to visit the Swan if they realized how absolutely excellent is the talent level of the participating players, at least from what I’ve seen in my visits there. Dwight Peters (of Sue & Dwight), Boris Buhot, Steve Raiken, Roger Zuraw, Tony Quarrington, Glen Hornblast and of course, Gladstone himself, are some of the songwriters I’ve seen there and quite often there’s impromptu jamming, such as the day when Quarrington casually demonstrated, without any intention of showing off, just why Gladstone raves about him so enthusiastically as a guitar accompanist. Backing Hornblast on originals that he’d never heard nor played before, he added a dimension of sound and feeling that transported the songs to a new realm. I wrote last week about how Glen’s songs get a super boost when he’s backed by his band –but in Quarrington’s case he’s a one-man orchestra employing only six strings! I’d expect today’s wrap party show —providentially taking place on an afternoon predicted to be damp and quite chilly— to be jammed with many of those who’ve come out in past weeks. Gladstone has announced that he’s taking advance bookings for people who want to be sure they can be part of what is very likely to be an afternoon to remember but I know he’ll do his utmost to fit in any players who arrive at a reasonable time (i.e. not 5 p.m. expecting to play immediately).