You develop a thick skin if you grow up in Hamilton, Ontario. You exist in the shadow of Canada's most notable focal point 45 mins up the road in Toronto, you've seen the decline and fall of the steel industry, and you're confronted with the realities of social issues facing newcomers and Hamiltonian lifers alike. But out of this post-industrial mess emerges an ambitious cultural community hellbent on the DIY ethos, ever-driven to make "Art The New Steel".
There is a long lineage of Hamiltonian music success stories - from Crowbar to Teenage Head, to cult status notables like Christmas and Simply Saucer (whose album 'Cyborgs' is quite possibly the greatest Canadian rock album of all time), and over the last decade the development of an unstoppable slew of electronic artists, led by Junior Boys, Jessy Lanza, and Orphx.
Much of the activity in Hamilton is centered around the once-debilitated downtown core and a small group of people who stood committed to making Hamilton a city to fuck with. You can do anything in Hamilton - literally - and for cheap. Individual people, working with very little initial capital, made shit happen: Want a cool bar to go to? Open one (The Brain). There's nowhere to grab coffee on James St... Then start a cafe (Mulberry St Cafe). We're in need of a DIY venue space... In comes HAVN.
Hamilton is a city where you can in many ways live beyond your means. Gentrification is real but it happens at a "Hamilton pace": neighbourhoods take longer than usual to 'turn over', which though not perfect, is in many ways a healthier, more inclusive alternative to the hyper-gentrification we see in other Canadian cities (read: Toronto).
Hamiltonians needed and wanted a new experience from their city, and they worked to make it happen. The same work ethic that went into building the steel that frames our city still manifests itself in the creatives looking to start something anew. It's refreshing and it's working, come see what all the fuss is about.