Episode #200 – Tim Potocic/Supercrawl 2016

Something really cool is going down in The Hammer this weekend – something that is like steroids for the music scene in this town, something remarkable called Supercrawl. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, Supercrawl is an amazing overdose of art, music and fashion crammed into a few closed-off blocks of James Street, transforming the concrete canyons into a real-life stage like no other. 

The dude at the helm of this mighty ship is Tim Potocic, the home town visionary who has parlayed his experiences of 90’s powerhouse Tristin Psionic into a key partnership with a band-mate and longtime friend, cohorts who took everything they knew and all they believed in – and formed Sonic Unyon, a small label with big dreams and the killer work ethic that makes ideas transform into a sublime reality.  Residing in the heart of downtown, the little record company that could began to develop and promote concerts and festivals, real life stages onto which the creative visions of the artist can be delivered to a receptive audience – from the lips to the ears of the next generation of folks to whom real, original music is the crucial ingredient. The hard scrabble of James Street North began to transform and evolve due to the monthly happening on the second Friday of every month – a little thing called Art Crawl that made that mean street suddenly inviting and comforting in a bohemian fashion, cool, trendy but somehow untainted by the monetization and fiduciary concerns that exist when art and commerce collides. In 2008 the idea of a street festival took flight with the first Super Crawl and  every year since the spectacle had grown in size and impact. Hamilton has always been known as a music town. We have always had a remarkable core of steadfast artists who could invest in their world on a street, in a neighborhood, uniquely their own. Now it seems everyone wants in, a sure signal that the little idea is now the blueprint on how to take a bit of skill, a deep passion, and a whole lot of community to create the most exciting three days in all of Ontario. Yup, it’s not rocket science but it’s close – let’s call it rock science and Tim Potocic is the mad genius we get to know tonight, on Barber Shop Podcast. 



Checkerboard Floors

Just west of Steeltown lies the fertile ground of Haldimand County and the city of Brantford – a place that punches far above its weight musically speaking. In that zone of influence between there and the town of Paris (not France 😉 live the lads who comprise the makings of tonight’s guests, Checkerboard Floors. Comprised of Derek Palagano, Tyler Wilson, Matt Outerson and Rob Shorney perform in every wing shack and mall bar they can book with their cover band, gaining the precious experience and chops along the way to invest in their vehicle of original music, making compelling and legitimate art in an environment that is often barren of the nourishment that steady gigs and regular praise brings. Steady progress, absolute conviction and a faith in the results bore fruit and when it became time to retreat to the boutique studio of guitarist Wilson’s creation led to the further creation of their debut album ART PROJECT in 2014, a 10 song, full length CD that showcases the slick arrangements and crafty vocal interplay within the band, the vexing voice of Palango strong yet plaintive atop the mix with Wilson’s fretboard flourishes and Outerson’s hinge evident in his harmonies and low passes, each instrument and voice both pushing and pulling the others effortlessly, creating just the right tension to make the heartstrings sing. Yup, these lads are both nothing special and the next best thing all at once. You’d be forgiven if you overlooked Checkerboard Floors whole going about your daily tasks – but you should definitely go back for a closer look – it’s well worth the time and effort.  This fine night, the last night of August, we welcome our western neighbors with open arms, lending a hand and an ear as yet another great band you’ll likely never get to hear or see without this little glimpse – who knows, you might just fall in love all over again. 



Radio Free Universe

The guys in RFU have been on this show a couple of times before, their story and legitimate claim to groove rock supremacy well established in the years covering that time span. This time, the magical third appearance, has the honor of showcasing the band in a rare stripped down acoustic version for only the second time ever, but also heralds the release of their latest CD Casa del Diablo as a full length, full bore record of monumental riffs and big league vocals riding on a powder keg beat.
When you have the right formula, it’s only a matter of time before the world beats a path to your door and Radio Free Universe has made that secret blend of rock and roll a standard that they are willing to fight for.
This fine summer night we welcomed George, Marcus and Ashton (sans Ryan) to the studio to do what we do best. Never short on insight and opinion, George is as honest and passionate about discourse and discussion as he is about his songs. Marcus is as spot on as ever providing the ideal foil and Ashton makes with the egg shaker when he’s not showing off his guitar skills. Together they show why they are so loved and respected around here. Keeping it real and really tight with a light step of confidence provides a great soundtrack to the life and times of a little ol rock band outa Hamilton Ontario. Sure, T-dot likes em too, and we don’t mind if our neighbors get an earful of the good stuff as long as we can sup it up at home in grand style with friends and family.



Cory Mercer

Like it or not, music is art. Some is fine art, some street, but in the end it is absolutely the product of the fertile mind and busy hands of an artist. Cory Mercer is the kind of guest we dig at the Barber Shop, possessing both the steady eye, deep thoughts and properly good songs. Throw in a solid, soulful voice and a bonafide degree in chops, Mercer stands comfortably in the genre, just hip enough to not be hip but cool, comfortable in his own shoes – if he’s even wearing them. 

This show in particular came about because our scheduled guest had to back out and Cory was totally into it. – and he got the slot. Undeterred that he had no current recorded material, the short-notice impetus had him book studio time and record three beauties just for our viewers and listeners.  Making it happen on a Wednesday night Gary takes control of the show for the first time while Ryan oversees the great hour of music and talk on this edition of Barber Shop Podcast.




The Kat Kings

When it comes to music, the Golden Horseshoe is more than adequate to describe the vast riches that fill the land along Lake Ontario from Oshawa to Niagara. Sure, we here in Hamilton can clearly see that geographically speaking, we are the gem in the middle, it is our big, shiny sister city of Toronto that has always been the rich pretty one. Many Canadian artists move to the Big Smoke, and many homegrown sons and daughters cut their teeth and thrive in that hottest of markets.

The Kat Kings are one of these wonderful groups, a veteran crew of positive energy who play a form of dance friendly roots called jump blues. The infectious riffology and period pageantry hark to an era of early freedoms and lyrical entendre that somehow never really goes out of style.

Kevin McQuade lays down the sound of Memphis ghosts and belts out some great snappy numbers that swell and ride to a big finish like sweaty teenagers going to town at the drive in. The rhythm section of Rob Clark on bass and Adam David on bass keep things incredibly tight and the addition of Wayne Dagenais on keys make the live performances tonight hi-test testimony to something truly awesome.

The Kat Kings are for real, and their new CD Swingin’ in the Swamp is a full-bore party front to back, the brash bravado and the subtle nods all working in sync – an album in the truest of senses.

The boys have the chops, the ease and the stories to warrant the coveted “ghetto pass” to our studio, transcending any and all barriers of time and distance to hang with us at Barber Shop Podcast and the results are here for your entertainment pleasure.

We push fun here at BOXO and business is good….very good indeed.




We are all the sum of our parts, a product of genetics and environment. Nobody gets here alone, and the brief time we shine on this earth is finite, the marks we leave are testament to our worldly influences. Brian Andreas is such a wonderful amalgamation such heady influences born of his era, his fathers era and the random happen-chances that dot our collective landscapes. The music seemed at once familiar, giving voice to the words that would follow. Exploring possibilities and opportunities saw a few good mates and a few more lessons about the life in music he was now seeing appear. Being blessed with a voice that can carry a note to the mountaintop and soar above the electric cacophony was his ticket – the rare bird whose words become instrumental music in its own right. Sewing these seeds lead to the band ANDREAS, a five piece that were as big and bold as the space would allow, the pageantry served accordingly. 

Today ANDREAS consists of Brian and the sweet keys of fellow alum Jenny Lockwood, providing the masterful orchestration of the piano with his guitar, their voices playing just as well together in a unit that can play any room. Brian Andreas has the writing partner and the songs to make their new record a resounding message – delivered wonderfully and authentically, never straying near the hazardous ground of mimicry.

This is the kind of show we love around here, a lot of great music, great stories and brand new memories. 

Come and get it at Barber Shop Podcast.






Paul Sage

Paul “Sammy” Sage can’t quit music even if he tried. Something deep inside the man knew that music was more powerful than almost anything – and most of the anythings were often the demons that haunt us all. It’s important to step back and remember that this show, although on the surface about music, is really about souls. Your soul, my soul, our souls are both the grist and the mill for every memory and emotion that become forged weapons of enlightenment in song. To carry such a weight of bring, to feel and emote so readily is both a gift that rewards and a burden that overwhelms the beautiful ones. Being vulnerable   and brave in the face of afflictions and addictions means not only facing your fears, but settling in for a long protracted engagement with the darkness.

Music and words provide the personal universal truths and Paul Sage is no liar. Once the realization that music was the bridge that would carry both he and his message to those in need, the process of music became that of an agent of change. Many school auditoriums and church basements bore testament to the tenets of truth, perseverance, integrity and above all love. Intent on making a difference in this world, Pail shouldered the wheel and took the message far and wide, months and years bearing fruit with effect and change. 

It’s said a guitar player never stops playing, he/she just puts it down for awhile. It can be said the burdens grow heavy for the bearer of even the good news. After putting it down for awhile, the desire has returned and the faith in music is once again speaking up if not shouting from the rooftops quite yet. He is our guest on this night because the scheduled artist became ill and this friend of a friend who had every reason to say no – instead said yes. Bringing along his songs from his own lesson books, Paul Sage brought something else in studio with him tonight, a renewed faith in his place in music. 

This one is real as shit, as sweet as pie and a look into the great universal truth. 

Not bad for short notice.



Jacqui Brown

The journey from Northern Saskatchewan to the big smoke has been as interesting and enlightening as Jacqui Brown herself. Born with the spirit to perform and the unwavering support of her family, she was singing early and often with the ability that makes its case immediately when you hear it. Finding her place belting out all the great tunes of rock, metal and blues of the heroes and heroines, her star shone bright enough for her to have her pick of bands with the discipline and professionalism required to truly become schooled in rock science. Years of learning her strengths and the sage lessons required to advance in this game. Touring Western Canada meant putting the countless hours and untold miles to good use, sharpening the point on what had become a very effective weapon in the war against apathy.

There eventually came a time where the calling to create from a deeply personal place grew too strong to ignore and at the same time her senses were telling her to head east – to the musical milieux that is Southern Ontario – and Toronto in particular. Now, there is a lot of great music when you combine the transplants and the home grown down this way and it’s easy to get drowned out in all the noise. One could be forgiven in thinking that stretching your wings as a songwriter and learning an instrument would be too much to bear under the circumstances. Those people don’t know Jacqui Brown. 

This night she arrived full of the positivity and confidence she depends on – but also with the trepidation and insecurities every artist feels when showing their creations to an often indifferent world. Showing faith in us – and herself, she won us over with authenticity and charisma, her 1,000 watt smile lighting up the studio and our hearts all at once.

Kick back and relax as we get to know and get to hear the indomitable Jacqui Brown on your #1 source for new real music – Barber Shop Podcast.




Will Gillespie

It was a bittersweet Wednesday last year when yours truly was nursing a broken heart and flagging hopes when we first featured Will Gillespie on our little show. The north Ontario troubadour delivered a sage and steady presence along with some beautifully reflective sings that hinted at the artist behind them. Gently relentless in his pursuits, both that episode and the year since have seen Gillespie continue to evolve, continue to develop his craft and his fan base at the same time. 

Being an artist comfortable in many genres means you get to play with a lot of different kids and have more tools at your disposal to flesh out an idea. The shapes and colours of his thoughts and memories became the groundwork for “Kings Of Summer” a bona fide snapshot from a bygone time in history, a personal postcard from the past when youth and beauty ran the dirt roads and played all night for awhile. Eschewing the plaintive chord progressions and thought rendering word play, “Kings Of Summer” hits the nail on the head with the drive of bop rock and tight phrasing all around. 

This fine night on the eve of his CD release, Will brings the guns out in the form of David and Craig Nicoloff on guitar and bass respectively and the silky Doug Smith on the skins along for this ride as we reminisce and recount, relax and relive the golden days of The Kings Of Summer – with Will Gillespie on Barber Shop Podcast  



Jay Pollmann

You can take the boy from The Hammer but that patina never fades once it’s in your blood.

Jay Pollmann was born in Steel City to a musical family, the healing and community aspects of the arts re-enforced on a daily basis. Learning by ear and hungry for knowledge, his teen years and young adulthood featuring all the ingredients necessary to build a career in music. Joining forces with like minded fellows out Cayuga way to make original music is always a pretty heavy commitment – doubly so when rural considerations are factored in. Forming the group GRUVE with Brad Jackson and Eric Pollmann in 2014, enjoying the rocking ride the entire trip.

The writer in Jay continued to work and churn out more and more music that had its own unique voice, his voice. Dedicated to forging something solid, the wise man continued to wood-shed and play his compositions out, building a story that was destined to become his new record, destined to be the sharpest point on his favorite pencil – destined for another solid brick in his house.

Driving in this night from Haldimand County, the affable Pollmann showed up full of the pride and prejudice of a new daddy showing off his new baby. Delivering the goods via a sneak peak at his pride and joy as well as the live performances we capture so well, you too can get a good look and listen into the psyche and chops of this very talented dude.

There’s a whole wack of talent out there, and we strive to bring you a new taste – every week – on Barber Shop Podcast.