Published Sep 22, 2015Since its inception in 2007, Steam Whistle Unsigned — the Canada-wide concert series that promotes up-and-coming artists from across our country — has focused part of its efforts on raising funds for charities in need. That's why Steam Whistle has partnered with Toronto-based philanthropic party-starters Dudebox for their next show at the Roundhouse on September 25 with Prince Innocence, bizZarh and Marlon James.
Read on to learn about the local non-profit organization's beginnings and one of the artists playing the event, as well as which Steam Whistle Unsigned alumni will be touring across Canada this fall. Don't forget to visit steamwhistle.ca/unsigned to find more great concerts in your area.
"With an absentee landlord and a bunch of young guys, it was a recipe for house parties."
That's how Daniel Tal, co-founder of Toronto non-profit party promoters Dudebox, describes the charity-supporting collective's humble beginnings.
Started in a dilapidated, loft-style Chinatown rental unit with some of his buddies in 2007, the dudes in Dudebox (named after a small enclave used to house a rotating cast of homies in their old apartment's hallway) quickly became known in Toronto for their eclectic and creative shindigs.
Their time at the space would be short-lived (Tal says they decided to move out once the middle of his bedroom floor sunk a foot below the original crown moulding), but their love of promoting parties would live on, and after an attempt at going professional, the crew decided to become a fully philanthropic organization.
Since then they've become known citywide not only for their high-energy events, but the local charities they've helped with their parties along the way, including the Manifesto Festival of Community & Culture, Wellspring Cancer Support Network, Skate4Cancer, the SickKids Foundation and many more. Their show with Steam Whistle Unsigned on September 25 will raise funds for the Artists' Health Alliance, which helps promote the health and well-being of all professional performing and creative artists in Ontario, and provides health care for artists in need.
Tal credits their success in part to the inclusivity they bring to any and all events, a rarity in the financially lucrative world of event management.
"We don't want people feeling left out," he says. "What we do want is people feeling special that they're there."
To keep up to date on all of Dudebox's events, click here.
Since he was just a teenager, singer-songwriter, producer and bandleader extraordinaire Marlon James (photo above) has had a hand in Toronto's hip-hop and R&B communities.
While still in high school, he did a co-op at Wellesley Sound Studio Inc., helping to record renowned Canadian jazz saxophonist Jane Bunnett's Juno Award-winning 2006 album Radio Guantanamo: Guantanamo Blues Project Vol. 1 in the process.
After a short stint in Montreal, he returned to his hometown and graduated with honours from the Harris Institute ("It just goes to show you that it obviously matters what you're studying," he jokes).
From there, he began working in studios under the guiding hand of local legend Fresh Kils and performing bass with Tanika Charles and the Wonderfuls, as well as his own band, the Juice Money Collective (who recently backed Junia-T onstage while opening for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at their first-ever Canadian concert).
Now, he's ready to step into the spotlight. Last year, after experimenting with hip-hop production under the guise of Guzo Lou, James decided to step away from his moniker and go by his given name. His soulful, R&B-infused covers of modern cuts by the likes of Mac DeMarco and Jai Paul, as well as a string of solo singles, quickly caught people's attention.
His debut, self-titled album is now slated for release in mid-October. Until then, hear the soothing sounds of the up-and-coming solo artist as he opens ahead of bizZarh and their neo-Soulquarian sounds, as well as the synth stylings of Prince Innocence, live at the Roundhouse at Steam Whistle Brewing on Friday, September 25.
Toronto punk unit Teenanger are no strangers to Steam Whistle Unsigned. The group played the Roundhouse with Most People and Dilly Dally last April, and since then have taken the raucous, fuzz-laden sounds of last year's EPLP to festivals across Canada and Europe. In case you couldn't catch them at the Roundhouse last spring, now's your chance to see them again. The band will be playing a select number of shows around Southern Ontario and out west this fall. Visit steamwhistle.ca/unsigned, as well as exclaim.ca/Music/Concerts, throughout the fall to see if they're playing a show near you and find out what other Canadian acts are on the bill.