Joe Saturnino isn’t one to name drop, but…
Positioned above his head in his cramped office atop The Revival Concert Venue located at the heart of Toronto’s Little Italy district is a collection of framed photographs of major celebrities who have graced his College Street venue.
“Mick Jagger celebrated his birthday here a few years back,“ boasted Saturnino. “He even danced with my sister. He mentioned his visit to The Revival and how much he enjoyed himself in his last book. Justin Timberlake and The Black Eyed Peas came here for an after-concert party, jumped on stage and blew the place apart.”
Then there are photos of Saturnino posing with former actor/comic genius Robin Williams, Kid Rock and Sarah McLachlan. “Kid Rock came here with Pamela Anderson and spent the whole night playing every instrument we had on stage,” Saturino reflected. “Anderson didn’t want him to perform so we arranged to send her back to their hotel in a limo and she was glad to go. Sarah McLachlan enjoyed playing here so much that she has come back here twice and said the experience was better than playing at Massey Hall.”
So what is the allure of this 500-capacity venue which was a former Baptist Church, then a banquet hall for the Polish Veterans Legion? “It’s a great venue, convenient location for downtown, boasts possibly the best P.A system in the city and is big enough to cater to a major corporate event yet intimate enough that major celebrities feel comfortable about being here.”
A devout 80’s music fan, this former Chef who has operated the Revival venue since 2000, soon plans to adorn his office space with additional celebrity photos as he is announcing that he has formed an alliance with Music Express Entertainment to schedule a series of high profile concerts at his venue over the coming months. Under this agreement, Music Express has exclusive rights to book a series of concerts featuring the likes of The Spoons, The Box, Nick Gilder, Prism, Myles Goodwyn’s Blues Band, Darby Mills Project as well as top tribute bands like The Blushing Brides (The Rolling Stones), Hotel California (the Eagles) and Elton Rohn (Elton John).
Aware that there is limited access for fans of heritage bands to catch their favourites on a regular basis in a prime Toronto concert setting, Saturino is excited that The Revival Concert Venue will develop into THE place to serve that purpose.
“It’s all in the name Revival,” beamed Saturnino. “This place has such a great reputation that artists and bands will want to play here on our reputation alone. I am confident we will attract some great names to our stage.”
Music Express Entertainment President, Keith Sharp envisions The Revival having the same magnetic pull as the former Gasworks only with a wider variety of talent. “Obviously, there’s a great renaissance of heritage bands, Howard Jones, Paul Young, Simple Minds and Ultravox all came through Toronto last year, there’s no reason why we can’t draw similar bands to the Revival and we’ll be able to provide a great concert venue for Canadian heritage bands who can perform here on a regular basis.”
Sharp (along with associates Ted Van Boort and Joyce Domingo) is also planning to link up with like-minded venues in other Ontario centres like Kitchener, Hamilton, London,Barrie and Sudbury to create a two or three date itinerary for key artists which would make their appearances more cost-efficient.
“I am also looking at providing an attractive concert setting for tribute bands,” announced Sharp. “The Revival’s P.A system will allow these bands to be able to provide a top-notch concert performance.”
An additional incentive to make this Revival Nights program work is the involvement of Ed Sousa and his Ronald McDonald House charity connection. Another devout 80’s music fan, Sousa has worked tirelessly to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House via his Mississauga Classic Bowl concert events and is now thrilled to link his charity program to the Revival concert series.
“I personally witnessed the tremendous effect RMH had on my sister and her sick child and I think that it is great that this Revival Nights program is going to raise funds for such a worthwhile charity,” noted Sousa.
Although several events are currently being negotiated, Sharp has announced that the debut Revival Nights concert will feature Rolling Stones’ tribute band, The Blushing Brides on Friday, June 14th. Other shows involving Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd, Prism, The Box, The Spoons, Images In Vogue, The Darby Mills Project, The Kings and Atlanta’s Georgia Satellites will be announced shortly.
Bands wishing to participate in this program can do so by contacting Keith Sharp at (416) 294-2835, Ted Van Boort at (289) 489-6467 or Joyce Domingo at (519) 594-2354.