Schomberg Fair

Schomberg Fair allows TorontoTunes to continue our exploration of the City’s return to real music.  Sure Drake is hosting the Junos, and Rebecca Black is all ‘TGIF’, but it seems like there’s a low beat pulsing through the city, one of stomping feet and glasses breaking amongst small hot groups of twenty-somethings.  Mixers are being replaced by pianos, beat pads are making way for the heavy thump of a kick pedal.


We caught up with Nathan Sidon from Schomberg Fair during their load-in time at the Bovine.  It’s interesting how much you can tell about a band by their van; if the gear is haphazardly tossed in, you know:  A diagonal guitar here, a cymbal wedged in there…then I have to wonder about what sort of dues they’ve paid.  The photo below shows Schomberg’s van after a few things have been hauled out already.  If their gear was a collection of coloured blocks, they’d be Tetris masters.

Waiting around the Bovine to see if Monster Truck is going to sound-check or if Schomberg can start loading their gear and setting up.


Cleared for setup, Pete starts assembling his drum kit.   I was disappointed to miss the 2-bodied lion (see the Bass drum above) when visiting the band’s namesake Fair last year.  Though the beer tent was lively, the fair would definitely gain some major points if they rounded up some rare and dangerous animals.  Maybe some gladiator-style events?

The Bovine.  Loud visuals at a quiet moment.


Matt checks the banjo out during the sound check.  While some bands skip the pre-show sound check, having your sound worked out prior to stepping on stage simply makes a better impression on the audience.


Schomberg manager, Simon, watches the band during sound-check.



Pete’s all-too familiar with the photographic fate of Drummers. “I’m used to never being in pictures, I just expect it now”. Drummers are usually too fast and hidden in the back to make the shots.


Nathan readies his gear for an evening of rich bass notes, both from his guitar and himself.  Sure your band might rock a banjo, but if you haven’t got someone to sing bass, then you’re a step behind Schomberg.  I’m disappointed I didn’t record Nathan’s vocal sound-check; the few souls in the Bovine who weren’t already familiar with the band all shared a raised eyebrow at Nate’s deep rumble.


A quick pre-set visit to Shanghai Cowgirl helps the group build up their energy, plenty of which will get tossed back at the Bovine’s crowd over the next hour.  Normally, for posterity’s sake, I’d have full details on the band’s meals to go here, but all I can remember is my Grilled cheese and tomato sandwich with garlic butter.  I pretended to obliterate my food so that I would be free to take photos once the band had finished eating, but, in truth, it was just awesome.


Tour stories are among the best stories.


Matt spends a few quiet moments drafting the set lists, kneeling amongst the bands promotional items.  I regret not picking up a two-bodied lion t-shirt.


The Fair’s attention to stage presence does not go unnoticed.  This isn’t a band you listen to with your head turned.  Between Nathan’s heavy sway, and Matt’s raw facial expressions and jumps, turning your head away from their set is a bit like checking your email on a rollercoaster.


Their set was fantastic.  Everything you go out to a live show for.

The music was loud, original, relevant, and they worked harder during their relatively short set, than most people do all day.  I always hate telling a band I really liked their set, it seems like I’m just trying to be nice or like I’m less callous and conditioned to the potential greatness of musical acts than I should be, given the amount of music I see / hear.

I couldn’t help myself in this case.


A post-set trip to the bar.

Schomberg tetris’d their gear back into the van and headed back into the Bovine for a genuine night of music and drinks.  Normally I have no problem pestering a band post-show.  I’ll photograph them from every angle, high and low until they tell me to get lost.  I have a feeling that, because this part of the evening is often filled with acquaintances, business associates, and random fans, I’m not too concerned with disrupting the situation with a few photographs.

Schomberg Fair had more genuine friends than I’m used to seeing.  They were all terribly happy to see each other and the number of ‘significant others’ was, simply put, kind of nice.  The end result was that I tried to just leave them be.  Why muck up the very things I respect?

Who better to celebrate an awesome set with than someone you love.


  1. Great shots of a great band!!

  2. Andie says:

    Yeah, should have got a shirt. My double-bodied lion shirt is one of my very favorites.

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