Michael Louis Johnson

A self-taught street musician, Michael Louis Johnson has always been more connected to the world of indie-rock than jazz. A twenty-six-year veteran of the Toronto scene, he spent most of the 90’s touring North America as sideman and manager of indie Swing-Punk sensation Big Rude Jake & his Gentlemen Players. He left that band in `98 to focus on his acting, (most notable would be his role in cult classic the Bride Of Chucky) Keeping his music alive, he formed is own jazz trio the Dimestore Orchestra and enjoyed a three-year residency at the Cameron House. The music video for his song Reverie, which Johnson also directed, enjoyed 18 weeks on the BRAVO top ten list. Around the time of the bombing of Bagdad, Johnson became too angry to sing jazz, and his music morphed into a blistering protest rock band called the New Kings. From 2004 to 2008 the New Kings performed in parking spots, street construction closures and any other public space they could reclaim, they also did one Canadian tour and had the honour of opening for bands such as the Fleshtones, New Model Army and Rancid.

In those years Johnson was also very busy with artist/activist group Streets are for People! creating events to reclaim public space: Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market, the annual Blackout Anniversary, and World Carfree Day Parades to name but a few.

Currently Johnson is working in four different bands: Rambunctious is a 12-piece party band, all horns and percussion improvising dance music under Johnson's direction, and A Little Rambunctious, a 5-piece cabaret version of the band focusing more on lyrical content. “You make up a title – We make up a song” is the Rambunctious motto. His trad-jazz quintet, Red Rhythm has held a Saturday residency at the Communist’s Daughter since November 2003. The show is quite unique as Johnson sings and plays his mix of old standards and original compositions, all while also tending the bar. It has garnered international acclaim and is considered by many to be Toronto’s hidden gem. (Johnson also won the 2013 Now Magazine Readers Poll as “Toronto's Best Bartender”)

In 2007 Michael visited the trumpet festival in Guca, Serbia, where he traded his silver King for a beat-up old rotary flugelhorn; his love of Balkan music was born. A few years later Lemon Bucket Orkestra founder, Mark Marczyk wandered into the Commie for a drink, and the rest as they say, is Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk history.

$10.00 - $12.00

Tickets Available at the Door

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