BOSJ 2008: Music & Nightlife

Best Musician ◆ Best Band ◆ Best Band to Dance to ◆ Best Loud Band ◆ Best Musician to Enjoy Quietly ◆ Best Local Rock Star ◆ Best Local Diva ◆ Best New Band ◆ Best Local Fan ◆ Best Live Show of ’08 ◆ Best Band With the Worst Name ◆ Best Music Photographer ◆ Best Jam Space ◆ Best Rapper ◆ Best DJ ◆ Best Open Mic ◆ Best Karaoke ◆ Best Live Venue ◆ Best Place for Cheap Drinks ◆ Best Bartender ◆ Best Place to Play Pool

Duane Andrews

Duane Andrews

So, here’s a secret: my guitar teacher plays with Duane Andrews. Yes, I’m one step away from famous, but that’s not the point. Point is, my lessons have a pretty heavy gypsy-jazz component. I’m not a stellar guitarist by any means, but that stuff is burn-the-hands-off-ya hot to play. Also very, very hard, and I only manage the rhythm part. Duane has been impressing audiences with his precision folk-gypsy melded music for several years now, and with his latest award-winning release, Raindrops, he continues in his own tradition of intricate homages to the greats of both genres. DC

Runner up: Mark Bragg
Other: Jody Richardson, Ron Hynes, Brad Power, Dave Whitty, Amelia Curran, Blair Harvey, Adam Baxter, Curtis Andrews, Tim Baker, and “there is way too much talent here to pick just one.”

Hey Rosetta!

The greatness of Hey Rosetta! is old news by now, as newly indicated by their upcoming Australian tour. I was at their ECMA 2008 showcase to take a few pictures for The Scope, and somehow I had never heard them live before. It took a press pass and some pointy elbows to get through the crowd to the edge of the stage, where I sat in beer, and was harassed by college kids, but then the band came on and they were so good that I swear, everyone around me disappeared. DC

Runner up: Idlers
Other: The Gramercy Riffs, Live ‘N Direct, The Pathological Lovers, and 104 other bands from Amelia Curran’s band to The Zazou.



In this town, deep love abounds for the Idlers. They are a kickin’ must-see-live band, burning up the nights with hypnotic reggae, ska and dancehall beats. They’re the best band to dance to because every song is just as groovy as the one before, and the ten (ten?!) musicians are so tight that they keep the groove flowin’ all night. Live, the Idlers blow it up loud, with the brass boomin’ out and up in ya for a change. Just back from a Canadian tour, flush with MusicNL awards, catch them on New Years at the Rock House or before then if you just can’t wait to get your lion moving to the rhythm of Zion. Love for the Idlers, love for the soul children, our hearts do better when they’re beating with the jah love, b’y. DC

Runner up: The Kremlin
Other: Mark Bragg Band, and Mercy, the Sexton.


Wuh? Even the Idlers themselves are confused by this nomination. But hey, there are a lot of people in the band, so it does get pretty loud. EL

Runner up: Swords
Other: Weapon, The Satans, Local Tough, Geinus, and “the one that’s the furthest away from me.”

Amelia Curran

Amelia Curran’s dusky voice could soothe a wakeful child as easily as it can smooth an otherwise jangled night on the town. The lyrics may be staccato cynicism, but the pulse-rhythm of her latest cd, War Brides, lulls the listener into a true listening state—which doesn’t happen that often. There are very few artists who can silence a full house at the Ship on a Saturday night, and she’s one of ’em. Whether you happen to hear her music at a friend’s home, or by stopping into one of her shows, you will want to recreate that quiet, focused scene again. DC

Runner up: Duane Andrews
Other: Maggie Meyer, Ron Hynes, Bill Brennan, and “Sheavy on low volume.”

Maggie Meyer and Jody Richardson

Jody Richardson

Is Mr. Richardson our best local rock star hero because he could sing the pants off any one of us? No? Maybe it’s his carefully disheveled, epitome-of-rock-star style? His string (Thomas Trio, Fur Packed Action, Pathological Lovers) of highly acclaimed bands? No, not those, either. Jody Richardson is a rock star because he writes songs that make us feel stuff. Real stuff. Mainly heartbreaking pathos, and a need to dance like the crazies. But there are lots of rock stars out there, and Jody is our favorite because he’s just down on himself enough—and sometimes just unabashedly hopeful enough—that we know he’s being honest. DC

Runner up: Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta!)
Other: Blair Harvey, Luke Major, Mark Bragg, Lee Hanlon, “Daniel Banoub (his name IS on the bathroom stall of the Ship!)”

Maggie Meyer

Maggie Meyer is such a diva that, besides her music, I keep hearing about a great dress she wore at a show once. I never saw it, but I know first hand that she can dance a mean cotillion. Nevermind that. She’s got a great voice, with an R&B Joni Mitchell thing going on. Singing, dancing, songwriting, playing guitar, hot dresses—this girl’s got it all. No wonder she’s our favorite diva. DC

Runner up: Natalie Noseworthy
Other: Shelley Neville, Liz Solo, Kelly-Ann Evans, Jason Sellars, and “there are no Paris Hiltons in this town.”

The Gramercy Riffs

Self-declared heartbreak and nostalgia pop group the Gramercy Riffs have been breaking hearts and playing to big houses since early 2008. Y’know how sometimes, something is good right away? Like, you meet someone and fall in love, and there’s no adjustment period, no awkwardness? That’s what happened with these peeps: right first time. Their sweet indie guitar, Strokes-y rhythms, and fun tag-team singing makes them music to dance to while crying for the joy of it all; of great bands, and friends, and love, and how rarely it all comes together like you thought it would, and how great it is when it does. DP

Runner up: Ye-Yeti
Other: Live ‘n’ Direct, Kujo, Smiley Ralph, Dead Language, The Subtitles, and “bored, haven’t seen anything new, heard about a few though but…can’t say I like ‘em.”

Stacey Tuttle

As soon as she happened upon a link to Mercy, The Sexton’s MySpace page, Stacey Tuttle’s obsession began. “I counted down the days to their next show, post-discovery, dragged some friends to CB’s, and was blown away by their awesomeness,” she says. Soon after, she invited the entire band out to lunch at the Sprout. Tuttle has an incredible amount energy and enthusiasm. She works two jobs, is a student at MUN, and never misses a Mercy show. You can usually find her front and center on the dance floor at the beginning of the night, dancing unabashedly and shouting out requests at the top of her lungs. “Thanks to everyone for putting up with my drunken antics all year long,” she says. “I can guarantee continued antics in 2009.” BG

Runner up: Me. “I am so unappreciated I have to appreciate myself”
Other: Kevin Kelly, Darryl Bennett, “Elsa Morena (for the Idlers),” Jeff Rose, Pino Daversa, “flower guy,” and “Andrew Harvey (Best Local Fan of Newfoundland Wrestling Federation),” and “that guy, who always screams ‘Free Bird.’ Oh wait..”

Elton John

The tickets to both of Sir Elton’s shows at Mile One sold out in a matter of minutes, pushing our telephone network close to the breaking point in the process. Having attended the October 4th show myself, this win comes as no surprise. John played to a packed stadium (with additional seating opened up behind the stage for the event) and thrilled the audience from the opening note of “Your Song” to the last of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” The most precious home-grown moments were certainly the cheering from the audience whenever the video screen displayed him signing copies of the Herald. RJH

Runner up: Leonard Cohen
Other: Hey Rosetta! CD release, Trailer Camp Final Show / Mercy CD Release, Ye-Yeti at the Rock House, Backstreet Boys, “I’m still enjoying the White Stripes,” and “buddy and missus freaking out at each other at the bus stop.”


When I first heard Ye-Yeti, I remember hearing about how, being underage, the three members of the band had to get signed parental admission slips just to play The Ship. How adorable is that? Once described to me as “the Beastie Boys meet Devo”, the newest and the youngest band active in St John’s is turning heads with more than just their unusual name. No, word is they’re not changing it. Not yet anyway. AC

Runner up: Mercy, the Sexton
Other: Everyone else. Apparently, if you’re in a band in St. John’s, someone out there thinks your name sucks. Sorry you had to find out this way.

Adam Penney

Adam Penney has been shooting bands for about 18 months now, and in that time has seen many changes take place. “It’s been really great, everyone’s so supportive, and competition in photography is definitely on the rise, which benefits everyone.” When asked what advice he might give to a new photographer, Adam offers a word of caution: “If you’re going to be shooting bands at shows, be careful about becoming friends with rock stars—some will take your work for granted.” AP

Runner up: Sandra-Lee Elford
Other: Chad Young, Justin Hall, Rachel Jean Harding, Mark Bennett, and Ken Holden.

Turner’s Tavern


Turner’s Tavern winning this category should come as no surprise, but it comes soon after hearing the bar is closing its doors. There are quite a few bands were relying on that room to polish their live sets. I’ve got an idea! All the bands who’ve used Turner’s space should record a charity single! It’d be like “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, but with Mopey Mumble-Mouse and The Satans in place of Boy George and Bob Geldof. We can only dream. AC

Runner up: Home (basement, living room, bedroom, or shed)
Other: Chris Dreidzic’s house, Don Ellis’s house, “Boobie’s house… you get the patter here,” and “bathroom in the music building at MUN.”

Donnie Dumphy

When I think of hip-hop I think of names like Eric Sermon, Redman, Boogie Down Productions… the ‘Ice’ people. This year, however, there came a wave from YouTube. …No, not a wave, more like a skeet Tsunami. And that Tsunami’s name is Donnie Dumphy. When I first heard Donald rap, I have to be honest, I didn’t quite get it. However, over time—and pills and booze (more pills than booze)—I began to realize, ‘hey, this isn’t crap, this is awesome!’ Donnie Dumphy has done to rap what Siegfried and Roy have done to homosexual lion-taming. One could say he’s not only revolutionized hip-hop but also the entire English language. Dumphy doesn’t rap with words, he chews them up like some hungry, tweaked-out trucker at an Irving Diner at 1AM. However, not only is he wicked awesome at his raps, but he is also a role model for children wearing jump suits and fake gold chains everywhere. DS

Runner up (and legitimate rapper who uses words): Myself Tha Large Animal (Matt Murphy)
Other: Lee Fitz, Live ‘n’ Direct, and Neil Conway.

Benjy Kean

He’s already a member of local electronic duo Sports, he’ll soon be starting a new band with two drummers, and he’s planning a film project about a depressed dentist, but you know and love him best as DJ Benjy Kean. Founder of Musique Non-Stop, St. John’s first regular indie dance night, Kean first got things rolling in mid-September, and things have been gathering speed like a crazy snowball ever since. That snowball is filled with synthesizers, guitars, sequencers, and it’s flying down the Southside hills. His strategy to get folks dancing? Simple. “Play music that makes me wanna dance.” BG

Runner up: Sina
Other: Leo Van Ulden, Steve Murray, and Kerf.

The Breezeway with Terry McDonald

My brother and I got up at the Breezeway open mic once and chirped out a couple of songs. We’re no Donny and Marie, but it’s a pretty easy-going venue to make your open mic debut (the massive $18 beer jugs may have something to do with that.) The atmosphere is what host Terry McDonald loves most about it. “I think the informal nature of it is fun. We don’t judge the best performer, and it’s in the spirit of just enjoying the music.” Check it out every Wednesday at 10pm. SB

Runner up: O’Reilly’s
Other: Hava Java with Nat Noseworthy, and Folk Night at The Ship.

Karaoke Kops Party Bar

10 George St, 726-8202

No matter what, when you hear the words to “I Will Survive” wobble out of Karaoke Kops, there’s a part of you that wants in. Suddenly, you’re imagining yourself belting out “Sweet Caroline” amongst swirling lights and screaming fans. “Everyone wants their chance to be a rock star!” says head Kopper Jerry Skinner. And he should know. What started five years ago as an excuse for him and his wife, Elsie, to get out of the house has turned into your favorite spot for karaoke for two years in a row. It looks like they, they will survive. SS

Runner up: Georgetown Pub
Other: “Anything where Cher is involved.”

Rock House

George Street (579-6832)

The Rock House has come a long way since it opened its doors a year and a half ago. With the addition of new acoustic paneling and a new sound system in the works, the overall sound improved dramatically within a matter of weeks. Their willingness to invest in the local music scene has made a real difference so far. “Our focus was to create not just a bar, but a live music venue, and I think we are well on our way to reaching our goal,” says manager/promoter Tony Murray. “We’re giving the musicians a larger space to work with, which turns their show into a real event.” AP

Runner up: The Ship
Other: Club One, the Dock, and CBTGs.

Bar None

164 Water Street (579-2110)

On the go in its current incarnation for eight years now, Bar None really is the best of the best—the king of bars, if you will. It easily sweeps all those other unmentioned Best Of categories, like Best Background Music, Best Bathroom Graffiti, Best Dodgy Alleyway, Best Bar That Used To Have Its Own Newspaper, Best Place To Start Your Night, and Best Place To Stumble Upon When You’ve Just Arrived In Town. Even if they didn’t have the five dollar doubles, The India Special, and their own plastic beer tokens, they’d still be a key destination for bevvies in this town. SS

Runner up: Lottie’s Place
Other: The Breezeway, Distortion on Wednesday nights, “the wine vending machine at the Mount Cashel NLC.”

Josh Reid

Bar None

Joshua Reid of Bar None has returned to the top of the bartending charts after one year’s displacement. When asked to comment on the why and how of this year’s success story, Joshua had only this to say “Who knows…? But always remember, as Pottleicious says, ‘Bar-tending is a lot harder than it looks’.” Words to remember when leaving your favorite bartender a tip. With the man himself short on words I will offer my own theory: Josh is an entertaining guy, and unofficially one of the best DJs in the city—a perfect fit for the bar’s atmosphere. Cheers Joshua! RJH

Runner up: Janet at CBTGs
Other: Sandy at CBTGs, Dave and various forms of “that guy” at The Ship, and Tina Tizzard at Distortion.


354 Water Street (754-8885)

Look, I’ve spent many an evening and quite a few summer afternoons shooting some stick at Dooly’s on Water, and I’m going to level with you: Dooly’s doesn’t have the fanciest tables in town, but that doesn’t matter. They’ve got big tables, and they’ve got lots of ’em. The tables have big pockets, the house cues are good enough, there are beer specials, and as always, chalk is free. For drinking and playing pool, making some good shots, making the scene and rocking out to top forty hits on the stereo, this is your spot. DC

Runner up: Bar None
Other: “West Side Charlies on Kenmount Road. It doesn’t smell bad and they serve strawberry daiquiris.”

Photos by Mark Bennett


  1. young musician · July 27, 2011

    “Once described to me as “the Beastie Boys meet Devo”, the newest and the youngest band active in St John’s is turning heads with more than just their unusual name.”

    yo, the scope. i know it may only be a fragment of a sentence but you should be more careful how you pick your words. its already more then tough being a young musician in newfoundland, give us some recognition. ye-yeti aren’t even close to being the youngest band in newfoundland, if my memory serves me right one of those dudes is in MUN. so yeah, how about some credit to the new and upcoming musicians of our lovely province? it seems you only focus on the oldies who play in the same bar every night. i hope you know that once those fogies are gone, we inherit the music scene. and we’re putting our hearts into it. the least you could do is at least acknowledge that theres tens upon tens (haha, the number may be limited but we still exist) of us out there putting just as much energy into our song writing and performing and recording as a lot of you older guys are.
    it’d be really rad to see some focus on the new kids on the block, encourage more music and maybe more bands will poke out of the ground.

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