Photos by Michael Gregory
Toronto Star reporter Robyn Doolittle (centre) and 'golden girls' perform at Newzapalooza.
By Michael Gregory
A cow bell solo, some hard-rocking classics, and a parliamentry duo who have a way with the guitar - the 7th annual Newzapalooza was the hottest ticket in town Friday night
The battle of the bands fundraiser puts Toronto media in competition to determine which musically talented newsroom reigns supreme. This year, more than $8,000 was raised or the Children's Aid Foundation through ticket and raffle sales.
A few interns happily volunteered to help at the front door for the night. Michelle Shephard and Jim Rankin graciously kept us stocked with beverages all night and insisted we take leave to see the entertainment at any time.
After a homage to Celine Dion by judge Laura Landauer, the Globe and Mail-Canadian Press and Reuters bands opened the show with a few hard-hitting rock numbers.
I thought lead singer from CP, Joe Sintzel, was one of the show's highlights. With a stage presence that would have made the Blues Brothers proud, Sintzel bounced around the stage funked out in black shades.
Making my way back and forth from the stage to my duties at the front door, I missed a lot of the hilarious bantering by judges MP Tony Clement, CTV reporter Paul Bliss, musician Jacob Hiebert, and Lander, as they playfully critiqued each performance.
Clement had a few hilarious digs at us media throughout the evening. After a great duet by former journalists,and current New Democratic Party MPs Charlie Angus and Andrew Cash, Clement had a cheeky suggestion.
"You guys would be better with John Baird as a front man."
There were eight bands including acts from the Toronto Sun, and CityTV.
The second to last act was the Star's Holy Joe & The Principles 2.0 -- an ensemble that included woodwinds, a polished dance routine, and a lot of soul.
Reporter Robyn Doolittle, backed by 'golden girls' nailed a brilliant version of Tina Turner's 'Proud Mary.' The talents of Wendy Gillis, Michael Woods, and a suit snazzy Rob Cribb then threw down an untouchable Herbie Hancock number.
The set finished with "Play That Funky Music" with Brendan Kennedy -- who took no style tips from Will Farrell - ripping into the cow bell at centre stage.
Maclean's tried to retain its title of Toronto's best media band by capping off the show with hits by The Killers and Ce Lo Green, but in the end it wasn't enough.
But the Star won over the crowd and judges, and good news, we may have found this year's Christmas party entertainment.
Holy Joe & The Principles 2.0 are all smiles after winning the 7th Annual Newzapalooza.
Michael Gregory is a Toronto Star intern who works in the radio room. You can find him on Twitter.