The snow fell gently down on Toronto last Wednesday, carpeting the streets with a soft fluffy coating. Of course, NIK BEAT, the late humble, modest artist, musician, poet and media personality for whom we were all gathering would have thought it funny that the first major snowstorm of the year happened on the one night we all needed to travel to The Supermarket club in Kensington Mkt with musical equipment and instruments to pay tribute to him!!!
Although we got off to a late start – some artists and friends travelled great distances thru the storm to participate – the memorial concert AND THE BEAT GOES ON…. started off with an almost full house of friends, fellow artists, family and a very special opening guest – piper Rory Sinclair (below) who played a haunting lament for our fallen brother.
Rory was one of the last guests on Nik’s radio show, “Howl!” (CIUT-FM) in early September to promote the Beach Celtic Festival. Rory was followed by readings from Valentino Assenza and Tom Fischer (below)
then poet/musician Michael Oesch, who was joined by his wife Saskia ….
…and musician Michael Marian and Valentino, as Michael O played his “Theramini” – Nik would have loved the weird spacey sound
and Pat Kelly (the hardest working man in Toronto showbiz, as you will soon see) played drums for the trio up front!
Performing some of Nik’s original poetry and songs, Michael Marian then took over front man duties and was joined by Michael Heyoka Ratt on bass and…Pat Kelly, again on drums
Jennifer Hosein read a couple of very emotional and evocative poems for Nik and left few dry eyes in the audience as we went to intermission.
Joani Paige traveled in all the way from London, ON, during the storm and we all cheered when she finally walked in the room. Here she is singing one of Nik’s favourite songs….bravo, Joani!
Then Pat Kelly returned to the stage for a rousing and inspiring set of Nik’s original tunes (with a little help from Michael HR and Michael O) that had the audience cheering, clapping and singing along
Pat even convinced Michael Marian and Laura Rock to join him for his final song (below)
Brenda Clews, artist, poet and performance artist, then took the audience on an emotional ride through several poems that offered insights into the poetic soul of Nik Beat
And to close the night out, Nik’s friend and musical colleague, Laura L. Rock…or as Nik used to call her Laura L’Rock … took the stage and with the help of guitarist friend Richard and Pat on drums backing her, Laura bared her heart and soul with two perfectly chosen songs.
….and the crowd went wild!
It’s hard to say goodbye to those who have done so much for us, and Nik supported Toronto’s indie music, poetry and arts scene for many years, offering radio interviews and promotions on his show when no other media would give the time to this city’s emerging or indie artists. Tonight we celebrated Nik Beat’s life and work in our own words and music, and as the host of the show, I would like to thank all those who schlepped thru the snow to perform on stage, sit in the audience or help me (thank you, Tom F. for working the door for me). The $5 cover was donated to Penelope Smith who adopted Nik’s beloved cat Hank (below) who was left behind when Nik passed suddenly 2 months ago. Cat food donations were also accepted so now dear old Hank can eat his way thru the winter, thanks to everyone’s generosity.
First arrivals were performers Michael & Saskia Oesch (below)
..followed by Michael Heyoka Ratt (below) who looked like Dr. Zhivago as he came thru the door, covered in snow!
And here’s Jennifer Hosein warming up with poet friend
And Tom Fischer enjoys a glass of wine with poetry fan Dwight
Big thank-you, too, to our venue The Supermarket (and sound guy, Al) as well as CIUT-FM for all the promos
There’s a posthumous Nik Beat CD release party (Famous For Falling) happening Dec. 6th at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.
Details on Facebook events page: http://on.fb.me/1F9sFEA
God speed, my dear friend. I’ll see you soon.