Music News Digest, April 1, 2019

Arkells on a serious roll, Mick Jagger's health issue forces Stones tour postponement, and rapper Nipsey Hussle is killed. Also in the news: Canadian Screen Awards, SOCAN, Radio Starmaker Fund, Justin Bieber, Radiohead, VIJF, Lenny Stoute, Tyler Hay, Joe Hall and Sina Bathaie.

Music News Digest, April 1, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Want proof that Hamilton rock band Arkells are on a seemingly unstoppable roll? How about the fact that the band (and their passionate fans) recently convinced the Canadian Football League (CFL) to change the time of a game to accommodate them? This happened when the band learned that their beloved Hamilton Tiger-Cats were set to play arch-rivals, the Toronto Argonauts, at Toronto's BMO field at 7 pm on June 22. That same night, Arkells are playing the adjacent Budweiser Stage, so, through social media, they asked their fans to pressure the CFL into changing their game time to 4 pm, and the campaign worked. A rewarding cap to a great March that included their winning two Junos and selling out that Budweiser Stage show in just 24 hours.


 – Last week SOCAN celebrated its nominated composers, as well as some early winners, in the 2019 Canadian Screen Awards, with a dinner at Sassafraz in Toronto. Attendees included nominees Adam Litovitz, Rob Carli, Amin Bhatia, Mark Korven, Laurel MacDonald and Phil Strong (Improbable Music), Derek Treffry and Greg Fisher (Fish-Fry Music and Sound), as well as early winners Darren Fung; Voodoo Highway’s James Chapple, Graeme Cornies, and Brian Pickett; and Jean-Sebastien Williams. It also presented a No. 1 Award to Andrew Lockington for his work on the 2018 hit movie Rampage.

 – The website for the Radio Starmaker Fund is back on-line and accepting applications, before a May 16 deadline. Queries direct to Jerry Leibowitz at

 – With a million pre-sale tickets sold, Mick Jagger's unspecified medical condition has led to the postponement of the Rolling Stones' 17-date North American No Filter Tour tour that was to kick off  April 20 in Miami, with a closer show on July 29 at Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Orillia, ON. In a statement, the singer allows that “I hate letting our fans down and I’m hugely disappointed to have to postpone the tour but am looking forward to getting back on stage as soon as I can.”


 The event hardest hit by the news is the New Orleans Jazz Fest.In the New Orleans Advocate, Keith Spera wrote that "a years-long, around-the-world courtship, months of planning and secret-keeping, complex negotiations, a blueprint for an entirely different day at Jazz Fest, fans camping out overnight for tickets, millions of dollars in ticket sales – all of it was rendered moot by the fragile health of a 75-year-old singer. This cancellation is the most devastating in Jazz Fest history." Sources: Celebrity Access, New Orleans Advocate

– Just a couple of weeks ago, Justin Bieber announced he was taking a break from music to take care of his mental health. Surprisingly, on an Instagram post on Saturday, he boasted "Finna dunk on the world like (sic) king James with the summer bangers," seemingly hinting at new music on the way.

 – A coroner's inquest into the fatal stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in Toronto in 2012 is still underway. On Friday, Domenic Cugliari, an engineer who approved plans for the stage, confessed that he did not check that the right materials were being used to support the platform. The accident killed Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson. Charges previously laid against Cugliari, contractor Optex Staging, and promoter Live Nation were dropped because of delays in getting to trial. Source: CP


 – Vancouver International Jazz Festival has announced its Imperial Series, running from June 21 to 30, with artists including The Comet is Coming, Jonathan Wilson, The Suffers, Thus Owls, Jo Passed, Ava Mendoza, and Haram.

 – Last Thursday, Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern presented Lenny We Got Your Back, a benefit concert for ailing local music scribe Lenny Stoute. An impressive turnout of attendees were well-entertained by short sets by house band The Essentials, Don Graham, Joanne Powell, Fergus Hambleton With Wood & Water, a reunited Look People, Big Rude Jake, Tim Bovaconti, Kim Doolittle, HOTCHA!, Danny Marks, and Laura Hubert.


Spied lending support to Stoute (who was holding court) included publicists Jane Harbury, Joanne Smale, MaryLenore Arsenault, and Bev Kreller, industry types RJ Guha, Gerry Young and Bruce Bradley, scenesters Patti Habib (The BamBoo) and Marcus O'Hara, and a press gallery full of fellow scribes, including Nick Krewen, Drew Masters, Roman Mitz, Peter Goddard, Howard Druckman, and Jonathan Gross. Check out the Samaritan feature on Stoute here, and his GoFundMe page here.

 – An all-ages memorial concert for Ottawa guitarist Tyler Hay is to be held April 14 at the Bronson Centre. Hay, 22, died March 25 of a drug overdose, suspected as fentanyl-laced cocaine, shortly before he was set to leave for a US tour with Canadian punk band Letdown (he was filling in on guitar). Hay was also an integral member of Southpaw, a local metalcore band whose other members hope the memorial concert will both celebrate Hay's life and help raise awareness about the risks associated with drug use. Source: CBC

 – On FB, Tony Quarrington reports that a musical tribute to his late longtime collaborator Joe Hall will take place at The Tranzac in Toronto on May 17. Hall passed away on  March 22. FYI obit here

Toronto-based santur player, composer and world music recording artist Sina Bathaie heads west for two concert dates with his full ensemble in support of his latest project There is Tomorrow.  He showcases at Pacific Contact in Burnaby on April 5, then the VSO School Of Music in Vancouver April 6. A hometown show at Burdock is May 3.



Nipsey Hussle, Grammy-nominated rapper, was shot and killed outside his clothing store in Los Angeles, on March 31. The news was reported by multiple law enforcement sources. He was 33.

Hussle’s debut album was nominated at this year’s Grammy for Best Rap Album.

Although he had been long associated with the Crips street gang, he had developed an interest in technology and community development and was a part of a group that developed an open-air museum honoring African-American achievement called Destination Crenshaw.

“In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers,'” he told the Los Angeles Times last year. “And that’s cool, but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, follow [Mark] Zuckerberg.’ Source: Celebrity Access


The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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