December 2006

Thomas Kovacs
December 15, 2006Kiwi KickToronto
Welcome to the Weekend
Report and photo by Tony Shivpershad

It was finally Friday, and I thanked God that the end of the week had come. More than anything else, I felt like making a bee-line back to suburbia to hibernate in the warmth of my abode until the call of Monday reared its ugly head again. Yet somehow I ended up at a pub down the street from the office partaking in a delightfully light, amber beverage and surrounded by the usual suspects who were raising similar beverages to their lips.

Just one pint, I thought, and I would be so out of there, and on my way home. Well, somehow I got side-railed and the next thing I knew we were on Bloor Street West at a great neighbourhood bar, where everybody, indeed, does know your name. Just a quick stop to have some sumptuous souvlaki and to watch the Raptors defeat the Nets, and the Leafs blow a lead.

Then two more subway stops west and we had finally reached Kiwi Kick. This place does an amazing job of being elegant, yet feeling homey and cosy. The owner Kevin bounced about spewing sass and sarcasm and a whole lot of fun.

At the front of the bar in the tiny stage area stood Thomas Kovacs, an amplified acoustic guitar strapped on, and a headset mic running across his face. He had already begun his set. Kovacs played a comfortable set of folk-rock music while interacting and bantering about with the small crowd. He noticed friends in the audience and improvised their names as well as the venue into song lyrics.

Thomas Kovacs

This night Kovacs was feeling loose, as he dusted off some of the tunes usually not in his set-list. What transpired was a great set of covers comprising everything from Cat Stevens to Coldplay. April, the beautiful blonde waitress, was impressed when Kovacs pulled out Paul Simon’s “Cathy’s Song”. “No one ever plays this song!” she exclaimed. There was a huge fan of His Royal Badness in the audience, to whom Kovacs dedicated an admiral version of “Purple Rain”.

Kovacs is at home with his set of cover songs, and seeing him play at the Kiwi Kick is like having a live juke-box in your own living room, but the highlight of the night came early on when one audience member requested “Mirage”, a Kovacs original composition. The tune is melancholic and Kovacs performs with passion, proud to have his original work requested. He follows up with another of his own creations. Introducing “Mr. Polar Bear” by telling the small crowd the story of his first Arctic cruise which he performs at annually. He came across the guns and was told that they are there in case a Polar Bear got too close to the craft. He quickly wrote the diddy beseeching the vicious carnivore not to eat him. It’s a fun song, one that kids and adults alike could enjoy. Later on, when asked to play some Gordon Lightfoot, Kovacs performed a beautiful rendition of “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald”, a song that he is not permitted to play on the cruise.

I had hoped that he would close with a recap of “Mirage”, but he said “naw”, he had already played that, and he closed with my second suggestion: The Beatles', “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. It was a fun night and I was glad that I had opted to come along with my friends rather than sit at home alone like I had all the days of the week. It was the weekend after all.
We welcome your comments and feedback
Tony Shivpershad
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