Article by: Lee Fraser
Crazy Wednesday nights at The Silver Dollar Room with Crazy Strings.
Silver Dollar Room in Toronto, ON
Show starts at 10 pm, 19+, $3 cover
The outside of the Silver Dollar hasn't changed in about a hundred years. You climb the stairs to pay the three dollar cover and you get a warm smile with your change. You walk into a dark, cozy space and take in the tiny stage on the right and the crowded bar stretching all the way down the left side. The musicians on stage deftly shift towards and away from the mics, engaged in a smooth choreography to transmit the all-accoustic arrangements to ears of the listeners. Immediately, you feel like you've discovered a best kept secret of the city.
I'm not knowledgable or fanatic about bluegrass music. Yet I've found myself at The Silver Dollar Room on a Wednesday night more than a few times. Despite being a mid-week gig and despite being a regular gig for more than a decade, Crazy Strings draws a sizeable crowd, week after week.
Crazy Strings is more of a theme than a band. In its early days, this band was the alter-ego of the Foggy Hogtown Boys. Despite the fact that the movie, "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" was released in 2000, and members of the band have come and gone, this night at the Silver Dollar continues to be successful.
Crazy Strings is an appropriate name. The composition of the band almost always includes accoustic guitar, banjo, stand-up bass and fiddle. I was lucky enough to catch a very talented mandolin player one night, since great Toronto musicians sub-in on occasion here. All of the players on stage have lightning fast picking solos and all members contribute to the vocal harmonies of the choruses. Every time I have seen Crazy Strings, at least one member of the audience, with or without their own instrument, has joined the band for a tune or two.
Besides the muscians looking to sit in, there's a mix of business suits and tattoo-covered artists, providing plenty of opportunity to strike up a wide range of conversations. With $3.50 pints of Buzz beer and a three dollar cover for hours of toe-tapping entertainment, Crazy Strings is one of the best deals in the city. Go discover it for yourself.