by cheryl santa maria

The bar was really, really smoky.

It was 2006 and I was sitting at the back because I had arrived late – as usual. I could hear the opening act but from where I was sitting the stage looked distorted. Will, my boyfriend, was not impressed. He was annoyed because I had taken a little too long to do my hair that night, resulting in our last row seats. He also wasn’t thrilled about the cigarette smoke.


“I can’t breathe.” He said. “I have a headache.”

He can be a tad melodramatic.

No Stone took the stage and for the entire time they were on, Will was silent. I imagined he was having a horrible time and that he was mentally preparing a lecture on the dangers of second-hand smoke. I started to dread the car ride home.

After the set, Will turned to me. Here it comes, I think.

But Will threw me for a curve. He had completely forgotten about the smoke. His bad mood had evaporated.

“These guys are amazing,” he said. “Like, incredible.”


Now that I think about it, No Stone’s ability to make people forget their surroundings and just have a good time is one of the many things I admire about them. I’d describe their performances as more than a show because when you see them live, you will become engaged. You’ll get excited when they do covers (they’re great at covers), and their music will speak to you – regardless of your musical preferences. Although based in soul and funk, No Stone has an eclectic sound: you will find subtle references to their influences (Ivana Santilli, Jamorquai and Stevie Wonder are a few), but you will also hear hints of indie rock and pop.

Although they formed in 2002, this seven piece ensemble of trained jazz musicians didn’t gain serious momentum until 2006 when they were upgraded from the seedy bar scene into more reputable venues, like the Rivoli, the Opera House, and a headlining act at Revival Nightclub for Canadian Music Week ’08. No Stone has also opened for KC Roberts, Toronto’s premier indie funk act, on several occasions.


No Stone’s first independent album dropped in 2007. It’s an impressive debut and an excellent representation of the band’s ever-evolving sound.

No Stone has taken a performing hiatus to concentrate on their writing, but they have big things planned for the winter. Check their website for upcoming concert dates and song samples.

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