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L.A. Beat

MOONRiiVR brings together Toronto music scene veterans to create during the pandemic

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The Geomatic Attic opens  the year with a super group of sorts playing Friday Feb. 16. Toronto based MOONRiiVR reference doo wop, 50s rock and roll and a touch of traditional country music. They will also be playing with July Talk’s Peter Dreams.


 Gavin Gardiner, who played with Juno nominated roots band Wooden Sky for 15 years,  is excited about the new project he formed during the pandemic with neighbours bassist Ben Whitely who has played with The Weather Station, Basia Bulat, Julia Jacklin;  Champagne James Robertson who usually plays lead guitar with Lindi Ortega and Dwayne Gretzky and percussionist Kyle Molzan  who has played with Kathleen Edwards and  Corb Lund.

MOONRiiVR play the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 16. Photo submitted


“ We all live in the same neighbourhood but have never worked together before, so James and I decided to get together and write some songs,” Gardiner said.


“ It was definitely a productive time,” he said.


He visited his friend “Champagne” James Robertson at his family farm north of Toronto and got to work.

“ I’ve been recording a lot of other artists in my studio like Fiver, Jason Collett, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson,” he said, adding the pandemic was a productive time for them creatively, coming up with a song a session.

 They recruited Whitely and Molzan to fill out the sound.

“We didn’t know what to expect working together. But we all enjoy ’50s rock and roll and doo wop,” he said adding they just released  their debut CD Volume 1at the end of November and are already working on the follow up.

“ Maybe we’ll be like the Travelling Wilburies and go right to Volume 3,” he said adding their Lethbridge set will include the new album and  some from ‘Volume 3’


 MOONRiiVR will also be backing Peter Dreams is the solo moniker of Peter Dreimanis, from July Talk.


“Peter sometimes plays songs  from July Talk, but he also has a lot of songs that don’t fit in with them,” Gardiner said.


 It has been a while since Gardiner has been to Lethbridge.

“I played there with Wooden Sky and  I was also there with Elliott Brood,” he said, adding he is looking forward to the show.

“ We only have a half hour  set, so we’ll be playing some new music,” he said.

 It’s going to be a great time,” he said.


 MOONRiiVR and Peter Dreams play the Geomatic Attic, at 8 p.m., Feb. 16.

 Tickets are $45 non-members, $42.50 for members

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor 

Last Updated ( Friday, 02 February 2024 12:04 )  
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