Double Underscore – Surprise Performances


Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me. – Carl Sandberg

The concept of Indie Cred, to have known of a band ‘before they were cool’, is one of the more maligned aspects of hipsterism. It does, however, take its roots from the insurmountable thrill of discovery music aficionados live for. The internet is an excellent means for driving such discoveries but it can’t come close to the feeling you get when you go to a show or festival your favourite act is headlining and the opening act blows you away. You do a little research and find that act is just starting out and hasn’t even really found their legs.

A bond is formed. You’re fully in their corner and hoping for their every success. Real music fans will be promoting these surprise acts at every opportunity (instead of hoarding them and shunning them if and when they make it on their own.)

I had just such an experience this weekend. Everything about it was unexpected, in fact. On Saturday, Forest, ON hosted the Homemade Jam Festival. This was just their 4th year so the event was still relatively small. Just 11 acts performed, but even then there were only 2 I knew and 1 other I had heard of. Given the 4-hour drive to attend, I wasn’t considering it an option. That is until, less than 48-hours before the first act took the stage, I won 2 passes on Twitter from the lovely Jenn Grant, who headlined the event.

The drive turned out to be well worth the effort. The 3 acts I was familiar with (The Great Bloomers, Danny Michel and, of course, Jenn Grant) did not disappoint. But, as you may have surmised, there were a couple standouts from the list of names I hadn’t heard of before.

The Bettys

Image sourced from The Betty’s facebook page. Used without permission.

Describing themselves as “a burlesque revival that riffs on torch singers of the 30’s and 40’s & the golden age of swing and big band”, these ladies presented a trio of Rosie the Riveters under the gazebo. At first blush they seem to be delivering solid renditions of songs by the likes of The Andrews Sisters. While those are in their mix, listen closely and you’ll realise the main staple are classic pop and rock tunes like Eye of the Tiger re-imagined in the classic styles from the period their costumes portray. The real prize of their performance was a vocalised version of the instantly recognisable music from Super Mario Bros. World 1.

Seriously. It was awesome.

My research discovered little online presence for these ladies. Give them a like over on facebook and keep an eye out. If they’re performing anywhere near you, go.

The Hamptons

Not THOSE Hamptons.

The second underscore of the day was a rockabilly duo from Toronto going by the name of The Hamptons. I was initially planning on skipping their performance as they My friend was supremely disappointed they had t-shirts but no records available for purchase at the merch table. Unfortunately, they share their name with numerous other acts, including a group in London, England and a wedding band in Arizona. I couldn’t determine how long they’ve been around, what their plans are for an album but I do hope to hear more in the future. These guys are on my Bands to Watch list, for certain.

Just 2 weeks ago, The Hamptons held the release party for Rawkability Dance, their recent EP. You can preview the 4-track EP and purchase a digital download on their CDBaby. For a longer listen, the first track Big Bleedin’ Heart is up on bandcamp. Finally, they are on facebook so give them a like.


So that’s all for this UnderScore. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to support these 2 acts if you get the chance. So do you have any surprise performers you’d like to share with the world? Post about them in the comments or send me an email at


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