The Gladstone Hotel.

Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to play gigs at The Gladstone Hotel’s Melody Bar in Toronto. Usually, it’s because I’m playing drums for Arlene there, as was the case tonight, and it’s always a good time. The stage is small, but it’s large enough to squeeze together a 5-piece band (or even more) and the room is a very nice room to play. It feels more like a lounge when you’re on stage, but I love the energy in there. It’s got some classy intimacy to it, not to mention a tasty taro burger.

I played a set on drums with Arlene, opening for a wonderful performer’s CD release party. It was a great set, a lot of fun as usual, and the crowd — mostly there for the main act — was large and energetic. It felt great. That room always has an unexplainable ability to make a small stage show in a small place feel bigger than it seems. It’s got a sense of warmth to it all, seemingly feeding off the architecture and the energy off of Queen street. It was fun to spot the odd passerby looking through the open window, trying to find out where that awesome sound is coming from.

And the main event herself was an amazingly soulful experience. The band, which included Arlene on backup vocals, was a lot of fun to watch and listen to as it was composed of some very talented musicians. (This was their second time playing together, technically, and it sure didn’t show.)

There’s just something about that place. It has kind of stood up to the test of time, almost closing down more than once through its decades of history, but someway, somehow, it has made its way through. And I’m glad it did, because every time I play there, it’s always a good time.

And I haven’t even told you about the raucous karaoke nights that go on there…

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– Mickey

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