The 24th Street Wailers have a dirty little secret.
On the surface, they may appear to be fresh-faced college kids – but don’t let that, or the title of their recent release, Dirty Little Young’uns fool you. The 24th Street Wailers are a group of experienced, driven and academically trained musicians full of piss and vinegar with energy to spare.
Known for their funky, danceable and often hilarious live performances the band has played most of the joints in their home town of Toronto: Grossman’s, the Silver Dollar Room, the Rex, Hugh’s Room and assorted pubs and bars. In 2010, after only one year together as a band, The 24th Street Wailers made waves in the tight-knit blues community by winning the Toronto Blues Society talent search, and performing at festivals such as The South Side Shuffle, The Barrie Jazz and Blues Festival, The Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival, the Toronto Blues Society’s 25th anniversary party.
The 2011 release of their first full-length CD Dirty Little Young’uns brought them to more prestigious festival stages including the Frankford Island Blues festival, Lighthouse Blues Festival, Summerfolk Festival , and the Dutch Mason Blues Festival. Most notably, however is that The 24th Street Wailers were the only English band to be a part of and win both prizes of the Festiblues International du Montreal and Prize of the Bourse Air Transat /Blues Sur Seine, the prize being a coveted headline spot at the Blues-Sur-Seine Festival in France in 2011. Shortly after its release, Dirty Little Young’uns debuted at number three in Canada and number eight over all on the Roots Music Report, was number 16 on the DAWG FM top twenty charts where it stayed for several months and was the featured “Blues Breaker of the Week” on Dan Aykroyd’s House of Blues Radio Hour.
Driven by Halifax born lead singer and powerhouse drummer Lindsay Beaver, whose tough exterior is matched by even tougher drumming and original innuendo filled lyrics, the quartet features Beaver’s husband Mike Archer on bass, songwriter Emily Burgess, who writes half of the material, on guitar and Jon Wong on saxophone. Their music is innovative; Dirty Little Young’uns is 13 tracks comprised of original material from each member — a record that begins with a raunchy shuffle in the title track, and ends with a stunning emotional and soulful acoustic song, “Turn To You”.
Living together in a little house on 24th Street in Etobicoke, near where they all met while pursuing bachelor degrees in music, the 24th Street Wailers are a band in every sense of the word – a team who eat, sleep and breathe for their craft. They are friends first – a trait that is obvious during their live performances as they appear to be having as much, if not more fun playing together as the audience has while watching and listening to them.