Thursdays in April at The Local

I have played in some pretty sprawling bands, and made records with more instruments playing than you can actually listen to at one time. But next month, for Hopeful Monster's Thursday night residency at The Local on Roncesvalles Avenue, I'm taking a different approach. Instead of all at once, I'm bringing out the sections one at a time — that is, Hopeful Monster will consist of new people, playing new instruments, every week!

Well OK, I, JBall, will be there for all the shows — for the month of April, Hopeful Monster is me plus guests. (Awesome guests, I might add!) I suppose, if I am being honest, what's happening here is that I am slowly turning into...a singer/songwriter! Or maybe I'm just starting to accept that it has already happened — either way, there are some advantages: I can tour as a solo act (and only lose hundreds of dollars, not thousands); I can still play dates when band members have other commitments; and I can play free shows at intimate venues where, let's face it, the rock set Hopeful Monster has been doing lately would be just too loud.

I have seen some really magical shows in my time, where two or three musicians have mesmerized a room with their tiny & shiny sounds. You don't need a jackhammer to break that kind of spell, and the subtlest crescendo can wield a world of power. That's the end of the dynamic spectrum I want to exploit next month, and these are the talented artists who are going to help me do it:

Thursday, April 2
Meet ze irreducible monster: the JBall solo experience

Thursday, April 9
Chamber pop with string duo Randy Lee and Monica Gunter

Thursday, April 16
Country standards and originals with pedal steel guru Larry Thomas (aka Big Larry 58)

Thursday, April 23
Gospel and psychedelia with Jon Epworth

Thursday, April 30
Finale with original monster Paul Aucoin and surprise guests

Each week's program will begin at 10 pm with a short solo set, followed by the main set, with featured guests, at 11 pm.
colour photo by Matthew Cook
black and white photos by Sami Siva