Toronto Through the Eyes of the Great Bloomers
When the Great Bloomers signed a record deal with Maple Music last year, singer/songwriter Lowell Sostomi was so hyped he failed a couple of classes in his last semester at Ryerson. The five-piece band's inventive, accomplished album, Speak of Trouble, released in April has the city's indie music media swooning.
Originally from Fort Erie Lowell and guitarist Nate Hindle are nostalgic for the small town life but Toronto is home. To see the city through their eyes we had a pint at their favourite Toronto Bar, the Victory Cafe, and then went to see their favourite city band, The Sadies, backing punk legend John Doe at their favourite city store Sonic Boom.
Nate came to Toronto six years ago to work in television production (Lowell brags about his band mate's knowledge of Keith Urban songs thanks to Nate's gig at Country Music Television). While Lowell, who grew to love Toronto after his parents dragged him for two years in high school, chose the city for university because "there were people here I wanted to play music with."
Nate and Lowell's fathers were best friends, so the two musicians have jammed together since they were kids. They made a pact after a late night jam session following a St. Catharines's
St. Catherine's show where they were each playing in different bands to form " Roboto Roberto Alomar" when Lowell moved to the city. That joke project evolved into the five-piece Great Bloomers.
What's so great about the Vic?
LS: I really just like the vibe here, it's nice and quaint.
NH: It's local to us both, like it's our meeting point between both of our houses, it's exactly in the middle. They play good music too, late at night there's some good tunes.
How does Fort Erie compare to Toronto?
NH: It's awesome. Actually there's a lot of talent coming out of that small town. It's really spread out. If you ride a bike it's either because you have a DUI or you're a kid.
LS: It's completely and utterly different. But it's in the middle of Niagara Falls, St. Catherine's, Buffalo--all these places are ten or fifteen minutes drive away.
NH: Yeah Buffalo's our city. It's a really cool place to go.
LS: I grew up going to Home of the Hits on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, I remember going there to get some of my early Animal Collective records.
So what was it like coming to Toronto?
NH: When I first moved here from Hamilton, it was kind of an adjustment. I was like, wow, people are kind of snotty here. You're so anonymous in the city. But now it's a part of me. I feel like, you know, I am Toronto now.
LS: That's a quote!
NH: No. That's not a quote. Don't use that.
LS: After high school I couldn't wait to come back. And like, I love Toronto so much. I like the fast-paced lifestyle. I like being out and about all of the time.
What's your ideal day in Toronto?
LS: Going to the Toronto Islands around midday, hanging out, having some beers, building a fire.
NH: You feel like you're in Fort Erie. Seriously. Seriously!
LS: There's a few little secluded spots that we always go to, hang out, listen to music and walk around in bare feet. At the end of the night you can come back home by midnight feeling like totally refreshed.
What's once place everyone should know about?
LS: The Christie Pits swimming pool at night. It's always warm and easy to sneak in. Bring empty two-litre pop bottles, fill them with water and go up to the top and squirt it down, and by the end you've got yourself a fully functional water slide.
NH: And you're in your underwear and you're almost falling off the side of the slide because it's so fast.
LS: But I wouldn't recommend it. If it's the pool staff they're cool but when the cops come they have to climb the fence because they don't have the keys, and by that time they're already so much more mad at you. Last time we were there, this cop told us we could go but only if this poor young Irish girl, who was here for the summer, sang a song in Gaelic. She did it but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. I haven't been back since.
What bothers you about Toronto?
LS: I'll speak up for the youngsters--all the music shows are 19-plus and you can't go see the shows you want to see. I remember being 13 and loving music so much and just wanting to go see the bands I liked. It's a bummer.
Do you guys have a lot of younger listeners?
LS: We honestly don't know because they can't come to our shows.
NH: Well there was that group of girls who left their high school prom early to come see our show in Waterloo, remember? They were still wearing their pretty dresses.
What about architecture?
LS: It's stereotypical, but I love cruising through U of T.
NH: It's pretty classy.
LS: You feel like you're in some college movie or something. I went to Ryerson, but the architecture there is so boring, you just go to class and then you go home. But maybe if I went to U of T I would have felt more like I had the university experience.
So what about your music? Could you have written your album in any city?
LS: The songs that I wrote aren't so much based on my surroundings as stuff that's going on in my life. But I'm still so immersed in it, it's tough to say.
The Sadies are your favourite Toronto band, why?
NH: Their musicianship. It inspires you to play well.
LS: They're the sons of The Good Brothers, they were born into it, they're classy and their tasteful and they're great songwriters as well. We don't sound like them, we just love them for who they are.
The Great Bloomers are opening for Flotilla and Jon-Rae Fletcher as part of the Wavelength Music Series.
Sunday July 26th, 10:00 p.m.
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