Show Recap: Broadview Espresso with Anna Atkinson & Our New Ukulele

Dog Is Blue live at Broadview Espresso with Anna Atkinson

  • When: Jan. 7, 2012
  • Where: Broadview Espresso, Toronto ON
  • Who with: Anna Atkinson
    Set List:

  • Dusty Bones
  • She Said
  • People w/Anna Atkinson
  • Young Enough (Ukulele)*
  • Till the End of the Day (Kinks cover)
  • Southern Ontario (Ukulele)*
  • Alligator Song
  • Raise Your Dead (Ukulele)*
  • Laura’s Song (Ukulele)*
  • *First time

This recap has been a long time coming. I held off a bit to get our favourite albums of 2011 and gallery of pedals I built last year posted first before we were too deep into 2012!

When this poster went up around our neighbourhood people thought Laura was leaving the band*. I suppose we should have clarified that it was her farewell to Broadview Espresso (we live across the street though, so take “farewell” very loosely…). Suffice to say she sold her soul to Dog Is Blue a looooong time ago…

Speaking of posters, I always try to save the ones we tape to the counter at the coffee shop, as after a few weeks they look wonderfully grizzled and abused by all the drips and spills. Sadly, I’ve only actually been able to rescue one of them, but a vigilant friend took the photo above before it got tossed.

As for the show itself, what more can you say about Anna Atkinson than she’s awesome? This time around she had accompaniment in the form of stand-up bass and vocals, which only made the experience more ethereal and charming in the intimate setting.

We kept the atmosphere light by debuting 4 songs newly arranged for the concert ukulele (we’re working on recording these for fun, so stay tuned). Speaking of which, Laura completely one-upped me by running the uke through one of my fuzz pedals during “Laura’s Song” —I can jealously admit that the sonic destruction was magnificent!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dog Is Blue show if the audio/video equipment didn’t malfunction. We were set to record the whole shebang through multiple mics, but somehow only ended up with Anna’s set. The nerdy A/V gods are still mad at us apparently. We’ll sacrifice a VCR for them before the next show.

*They also thought someone drew that moustache on her, but that’s actually one of Laura’s self-portraits as is.

Art: Batman Drawings On Display

Batman on the toilet - Paul WatsonRight before we left for our show in Manhattan/San Francisco honeymoon (updates from that trip to come soon) I was invited to hang a handful of the most popular Batman drawings from my previously mentioned 100 Days of Batman blog at Broadview Espresso. The show runs for the month of November and includes 8×10″ prints of 16 drawings, including Batman on the toilet to the left, which was actually a request by kid who hangs out at the shop.

The framed prints are going cheap and I’ve heard from folks back home that they are moving like hotcakes, so go grab a coffee at Broadview Espresso and check them out before they’re gone. In the meantime, the 100 drawing challenge is still going strong—I’m well into the 80s now!

Speaking of art, Laura’s much more impressive portraits are on display at Rouge Concept Gallery in Leslieville right now, so show her some love and stop by. Don’t you want a photorealistic drawing of my face?

Show Recap: Broadview Espresso with Bernice

Dog Is Blue & Bernice Live At Broadview Espresso 08-09-11

  • When: Sept. 8, 2011
  • Where: Broadview Espresso, Toronto ON
  • Who with: Bernice
    Set List:

  • Dusty Bones
  • Southern Ontario
  • Thirteen (Big Star cover)
  • This Will Be Our Year (Zombies cover)
  • She Said
  • Tortoise
  • Song Written Upon Getting Cut By The Argos (CFL Sessions cover)
  • Slow Boat To China
  • Raise Your Dead
  • Laura’s Song

A week before this show, when the poster to the right was still in pristine condition (I love taping one to the counter and watching it deteriorate over time…), one of Broadview Espresso‘s regular customers said to me “aren’t you worried about playing with Robin (front-woman for Bernice)? What if she blows you out of the water…you’re not going after her, are you?

Funnily enough, we did play after her and I was a little worried that her phenomenal voice might be a tough act to follow. Thankfully, we’re nothing if not foolishly brazen.

These Broadview Espresso shows are often really intimate and not as crowded as others, so I thought it was a good idea to bring out my trusty little homemade tube amp, but when there are suddenly close to 50 people crammed in there 5 watts just doesn’t cut it. Laura’s Microkorg got rave reviews after the set though.

Oddly enough, of all the songs we played that night “Slow Boat to China,” a tune we usually avoid or butcher entirely, was the crowd pleaser (this happened when we played in Montreal as well, actually). We also debuted our version of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” a tune we may or may not be recording very soon (re: it’s 90% done).

All told it was another one of those wonderful shows that reaffirms why we do this in the first place…

…for the drugs, money and babes, obviously.

Food Art: Laura’s Drawings On Display

Laura Heaney - Pringles, coloured pencil on paperWe played a really fun show at the Central this weekend that saw me screwing up lyrics and zapping people in the eye with a laser bubble gun, but more on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, Laura’s art has been ramping up more and more lately and her latest series is on display at our favourite hang-out, Broadview Espresso. This time around she’s calling out the majestic standing we’ve given to processed food by meticulously rendering various types of junky snacks in hyper-realistic coloured pencil drawings reminiscent of old dutch still-lives. That’s a mouthful (zing!), so just take a look at the amazing image to the left for a better idea…

Teaming up with Katrina Atkinson, the sister-in-law of our good friend/viola player extraordinaire, Anna Atkinson, the two are having an opening reception at Broadview Espresso in the evening on Thursday, August 11.

In the meantime, check out more of Laura’s amazing work at her site as well as her newly created Facebook page.

Show Recap: Earth Hour at Broadview Espresso with Anna Atkinson


  • When: Mar. 26, 2011
  • Where: Broadview Espresso, Toronto ON
  • Who with: Anna Atkinson
    Set List

  • Southern Ontario*
  • Laura’s Song – First Time!
  • Tortoise
  • Record Body Count (Rheostatics)
  • Slow Boat to China
  • Dusty Bones*
  • People*
  • The Way It Goes*
  • Stan & Georgie
  • Song Written Upon Getting Cut By the Argos (CFL Sessions)
  • Hot Air Balloons (and Submarines)
  • Raise Your Dead
  • Young Enough*
  • This Will Our Year (The Zombies)
  • * w/Anna Atkinson

I have to admit, we had no idea Saturday’s show was to coincide with Earth Hour until that morning. Anna emailed asking if we should light some candles and play acoustic. Selfishly, my initial thought was “crap! I’ve been itching to try this great new electric guitar I just bought…” In the end, the earthly sentiment prevailed and the first half of the show was played in acoustic intimacy of a candlelit Broadview Espresso.

As usual, Anna Atkinson commanded the crowd with her unique brand of quirky charm and undeniable talent. We’ve tried backing her up before, but she doesn’t need it at all. Laura and I, on the other hand, benefit greatly from her viola and backing vocals, so she joined us for a good chunk of our set.

In the end, the unplugged immediacy of Earth Hour left it’s mark, as we switched back and fourth between full-on electric and microphone free. I was just giddy to be trying my brand new Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II guitar (sounds great through an amp or acoustic and looks real perrrtty).

This show also gave us the opportunity to test a few of our more recent tunes to an audience of friends before the new album comes out. “Laura’s Song,” for instance, was played live for the first time and went over well even without my waltzing with a small Casio in the background. Of course, no show of ours would be complete without forgetting to play a song we were excited about. In this case it was “She Said,” but we’ll rectify that at The Central this weekend!

Speaking of songs we forgot to play, here’s a live clip from this show of the one we forgot to play last time, “Young Enough.”

Oh, and this was our first show with band t-shirts! More on those to come very soon…

Painted Dog Is Blue!

Dog Is Blue by Tom YeoWe received this small painting recently as a gift from our good friend Tom. A fervent supporter of the band, he comes to most of our shows in Toronto and is a trusted ear when it comes to new songs or demo recordings. He based this piece on one of our recent intimate sets at our local hangout, Broadview Espresso. you can see Laura’s colourful dress and the weird shape of my old Japanese Saturn electric guitar (he also perfectly captured my current Teen Wolf look).

He’ll probably kill me for posting this, as he mentioned it was a quick sketch done while testing out some new art materials, but we love it so much I couldnt’ resist.

Thanks Tom!*

*We also have an awesome painting in our apartment by Tom of a colourful cat with a massive outstretched tongue. He’s a great artist and I really should build him a website…seriously, Tom, if you’re reading this, let’s get your art online for all to see!

Show Recap: Broadview Espresso with Anna Atkinson

Dog Is Blue Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise Andre

  • When: Jan. 8, 2011
  • Where: Broadview Espresso, Toronto ON
  • Who with: Anna Atkinson
    Set 1:

  • Hot Air Balloons (and Submarines)
  • Wish
  • Seacaptain
  • Happy Hallowe’en
  • Stan & Georgie
  • People
    Set 2 (with Anna Atkinson):

  • Colours (Donovan cover)
  • Dusty Bones
  • Tortoise
  • Southern Ontario
  • Raise Your Dead
  • It Happens in Florida (Burning Hell cover)

A stark contrast to our set the night before in Kingston, this was the sort of show you could only get away with in an intimate setting amongst friends and fervent supporters.

The idea was simple: pare down the excess (re: no light rings or huge pedal board) and collaborate with our good friend and ultra-talented multi-instrumentalist Anna Atkinson. The result consisted of a quick set by each act before joining forces for what Anna called “the mega set.” “Mega” in this case meaning unrehearsed and haphazard—something that in the wrong atmosphere would have crashed and burned, but in the dimmed lights of Broadview Espresso, amongst an attentive and interactive audience of familiar faces, was welcomed with an air of mischief and fun.

It wasn’t fun and games at first though, as our trusty Korg Polysix seemed to have a mind of its own, bending notes all over the place (turns out it was just cold from having spent the night in the trunk). Thankfully, one of the many perks of living across the street from the venue was being able to run back and grab our Roland Juno 106 as a stand in*. Also, just like the previous show, we didn’t write a set list and forgot to play “Young Enough,” a song we had actually rehearsed with Anna prior (look for a new version of that tune at some point).

Thankfully, the slap-dash set seemed to still go over well (our new Twitter friend Matt, who also helped us name “Little Dragon Slayer,” tweeted: it was probably one of the coolest musical experience I’ve had. follow him–he’s clearly a smart dude).

Speaking of Twitter…one of our favourite online personalities, Louise Andre, took some great photos:

Anna Atkinson Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise AndreDog Is Blue Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise Andre

Dog Is Blue Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise AndreDog Is Blue Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise AndreDog Is Blue Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise AndreDog Is Blue and Anna Atkinson Live at Broadview Espresso in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2011, by Louise Andre
*Laura doesn’t like the Juno 106.