The Toronto Streetcar Sessions, Part 1: The Grim Preachers

We suppose that gray Sunday in October will be most often remembered as the last day of innocence before Rob Ford won the election, but we'll prefer to remember it as the first day of the super kickass awesome Toronto Streetcar Sessions. That afternoon, a few dozen people climbed up the steps of a streetcar at the corner of Church and Gould and into a makeshift recording studio and concert venue. There were tangles of wires and recording equipment where knapsacks and grumpy people usually go; in the back were the Grim Preachers and Donlands and Mortimer, along with their guitars and basses, cymbals and kazoos.  For the next two hours, the bands' mobile party rattled and clanked its way around downtown—through Queen West, along the lake, up and down Bathurst and Spadina—their songs mixing with automated stop announcements and passing traffic. 

The event was the first of three sessions produced by a little red friend of ours, Milan Schramek, and a team of students at Ryerson. They recorded it all in high definition, spent months holed up in the studio editing, and have finally emerged with a collection of uniquely Torontonian videos and six live EPs. All of which they are giving away for free.

We have seen them and we have heard them and we are crazy excited. So once a week for the next six weeks, we'll be posting all of the videos and MP3s from one of the bands who played, along with our own photos, interviews and assorted ramblings.

To kick things off, we have the Grim Preachers, a Toronto band whose playful jazz earned the ever-changing line-up of musicians a recent residency at Graffiti's in Kensington Market. You can download their live EP below, where you'll also find the videos for three of the songs they played that afternoon and our photos of the band. You can head straight to the Toronto Streetcar Sessions website if you want to download the MP3s for all of the sessions right away.

Part Two: Donlands And Mortimer is here.

Photos: Adam Bunch


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