Review: Grady, The Spades and Sal Piamonte at Maverick’s

by Palmer on May.07, 2009, under Uncategorized

colour-grady-photo-judson-baker-resizeWednesday night, of all night, brought Mike and I to Maverick’s to catch Grady and company.  For those of you who don’t know, there was this amazing band Big Sugar whose front man, Gordie Johnson went on to form the blues-rock band Grady.  Can I also point out that Gordie Johnson is probably the best Canadian (if not…the world, dare I say?) guitar player out there and it’s a treat to see them.

When we arrived at Maverick’s we assumed we had missed the Spades as it around 9:15 but we were mistaken as the show started with Sal Piamonte at 9:30.  Sal’s band had everything going for them.  A killer lead guitarist, a bass player who moved with the groove and a great front man in the form of Sal.  I couldn’t put my finger on who they reminded me of but the closest I could come up with were the Black Crowes…but even that isn’t hitting the nail on the head in terms of comparisons.  Their melodies were catchy and I found myself singing along to the choruses after hearing them a few times.  Two thumbs up for this band from Ottawa and I’ll make sure to check them out again.  I did go to buy their album at night’s end but alas, they were all sold out.  I ended up talking with Sal himself and he assured me that if I sent him a note, they could mail one out for me.  They have gained a fan.  Check out his website at  May I also point out that there was this one guy how had a Grateful Dead Tour 1990 shirt on and he was rocking out hardcore near the end of the set.  I thoroughly enjoyed this fan and hoped that I would be this energetic when I grow that much white hair!

After a few bottles of Labatt 50, the Spades started around 10:45 and they were quite the energetic trio.  The guitarist was frantic and I loved how the drummer had the simplest yet powerful drum kit going.  Catchy tunes…indie style…frantic all over the place…they had this crazy cover of Penny Lane at the end of their set which (unfortunately) could have done without the screamo version in my opinion.  But musically it was top-notch.  If you’re looking for a good energetic band, look no further than The Spades!

Last but not least, Grady hit the stage around 11:50.  I had a good chuckle as Mike was thinking that we would be home FAIRLY early tonight but in the end, we didn’t roll into bed until 3AM.  Gordie Johnson and Big Ben (an Ottawa native) TOWERED over the crowd with their cowboy hats and their black attire.  Nina Singh is quite shorter in comparison but managed the drumset impeccably.  I found it odd to see her sit straight and appear to not be smashing the hell out of the drumkit like I see some many other drummers do, but at the same time have the kickdrum hit into my chest.  Clearly, drumkits do not need to be thrashed upon to hit you like a ton of bricks.

I know no songs of Grady so it was all new to me, but I ended up buying both of their albums at the end of the night.  What an amazing guitarist Gordie is.  I’m really loving the slide guitar and am thinking of sitting myself down for the next year to learn how to play it.  The opening tune thundered into us and really got things going and it never really stopped.  The two hours later were amazing and it’s been a long time that I’ve seen a rock show like this.  Some highlights:

  • Big Ben putting the shout out to his hometown of Ottawa and Gordie commenting that he never swore once in his speech.  Big Ben explained that his dad was in the crowd.
  • Big Ben busting a bass string.  I’ve never personally seen that happen and he said it’s the third string he’s busted in his life.
  • Covers of Sharp-Dressed Man, a little YYZ for good measure and Digging a Hole (of Big Sugar fame).  Gordie had James of the Spades come up for a tune where he held his own and then Gordie’s brother (?) from a band called Flash Lightning joined them for a few songs at the end.  I love how jam sessions just take over the event and they’re just having fun on the stage for 30 minutes.  That’s what a rock band is all about.
  • The awesomeness which is the 18 string, double neck Gibson.  I wonder how much that weighs?
  • Overall, the sheer force of the music coming out of the band.

I can’t really explain how much fun it was to see Grady but I’ll definitely make it a point to see them again.  They are based out of Austin, Texas nowadays so I’m not so sure if they make it up to Canada all that much!

After the band ended, we shook Gordie Johnson’s hand letting him know he put on a good show and we headed for the door to grab a bite to eat.

McDonald’s called our name at 2AM on a Wednesday but unfortunately for us, we didn’t realize there were two schwarma joints open on York Street AND a new Dunn’s location?!  There were also a dozen cop cars parked around the Byward Market and it wasn’t until the next morning that we found out that there a few guys involved in a shootout involving one of them perishing.  Lucky for Mike and I, we were rocking out at the time.

Grady show at Maverick’s rocked last night!

Hey guys!  I don’t know about you but I’m still trying to get the ringing out of my ears from last night’s show!..what a buzzzzz!!!

THANK YOU to all of you who came out and had a great time, bought my cd’s and merch, and who helped to make the night a real special one for me and my band.  It was such a great opportunity to connect with new fans, and it was a pleasure and privilege to meet all of you music-loving folks who come out to support and appreciate the art of music…even on a Wednesday night!

I’d also like to thank Maverick’s Bar for putting on a wicked even (as ususal), and for the other great bands that were on the bill-the Spades, and of course, Grady – Gordie you are one cool cat brother!… another huuuuge shout out goes to the very infamous, and famous, Kitty Dines from Virgin Radio for rockin’ out with us, and for buzzing up and coming director Adrian Langley who I hope to work with VERY soon!!!

More music news on the way, and for those of you who were unable to purchase a CD at the show last night (yes, can you believe we sold out?!?!…), please shoot me your mailing addresses and we will get a CD and some other goodies in your possession ASAP!!!!

Please keep checking in, I’d love to see you all again at the next show!

See you at the next one peeps!


Playing the Grady Show tonight at Maverick’s!

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to remind you all of the show tomorrow night at Maverick’s ( with Grady and the Spades!

It should be a great night of Rock N’ Roll music and it would be great to see you all there if you are able to make it! Tickets are $15 in advance (purchased at or $17 at the door!

My set starts at 9:30 PM sharp and will go for about 45 minutes!

Also, my music is now up and live on ITunes and Amazon so if you’d like to download some new tunes from my Rogue album, please feel free!

More to come but thanks and hope to see you tonight!


PS – the Rogers TV performance today is airing again at 3 PM, 5 PM, 11 PM, 5 AM and 8 AM tomorrow morning in case you missed it!