Cover photo by Brian Berneker
Nathan Fleet, director of the Hamilton Film Festival taking place this week of November 4 through 12, has come back to the stage after a 17 year hiatus. Fleet last performed in public during his time at Delta Collegiate in 2000. In the years following he continued developing himself as a popular music teacher, guitarist and songwriter/composer. His continued expansion of ideas took him into film production. In 2009 he attained a degree of success as a film maker with Tim Dashwood when he produced, directed, performed and composed the music for the hilarious movie “Air Knob” in which two neighbourhood dudes enter into an epic air-guitar battle.
In more recent years Fleet has ramped up his support for the independent film industry by developing and expanding the Hamilton Film Festival. Keeping in sync with his philosophy of making sure Hamilton is in the Hamilton Film Festival, Fleet has started this year’s music-themed festival with a full helping of true Hamilton-City-of-Music-brand music – his own.
Fleet also directed the Hamilton Film Festival to use Hamilton’s local ticket solution Brüha.com, an innovative company that is changing the way people interact with their local community, discover events and purchase tickets. Kristian Borghesan, the company’s co-founder, remarked, “… damn can Nathan Fleet ever sing and put on one hell of a show!”
CD sales were brisk after the concert at Concession Street’s Zoetic Theatre, which focused entirely on the recording Love Hate City. Ten years in the making, the album is a collection of diverse themes which touch on local history, people, places and general human experiences. The stylish Zoetic theatre held a large, supportive crowd. They embraced the music and the musicians completely. Fleet casually fronted his very capable band and joked at his own expense, “This is our first and last show of our world tour,” or “This is actually our fourth rehearsal tonight…” but there was no mistake about talent or ability when he started to sing.
Fleet’s range, timbre and power reminded me instantly of Styx’s Dennis DeYoung. And without disappointment the band was able to back up the power and didn’t let up for a second. They were plugged in, for real.
After half-a-dozen rockers, the audience was treated to a couple of gentler solo acoustic tunes, revealing a glimpse of Fleet’s more sensitive side. By this point in the show it was obvious that Fleet is a multi-talented, inspired artist who can reach in any direction to be musically expressive. I think that making movie soundtracks is a fitting place for this type of human. And in Hamilton we are fortunate to have him holding the reins for our own international film festival. Lucky us.
By the end of the show Fleet had invited two more backup singers on stage as well as of his young guitar students to join him. A pleasant surprise was to hear the powerful and heartfelt song Turn It On. It was one of the entries into a song contest that the City organized to promote the Hamilton JUNOs back in 2015. The contest had many entries, and while this song did not win the prize, it definitely has the passion and delivery that speaks to Hamilton’s personality and spirit when it comes to music and humanity in general. I’m glad Turn It On is on the CD. It will be on auto-repeat.
Love Hate City was recorded at Blue Pick Media Media, and mastered in L.A. by John Rodd. Vocals were recorded by Dave Beatty at Q.E.D. Media. Guest performers are Tomi Swick, Lisa Winn, Kevin Tarlton and Norm Quesnel. CD photography by Alex Zafer.
You can pick up a copy of Love Hate City by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org