Day 3 of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival was basically a bunch of Guitar Rock with these acts..
Right in my wheelhouse you could say…
Myself and Suzi arrived at around 3:40 pm Sunday afternoon but it took us a full half hour to enter the festival grounds. Why you ask? Simple to access the Festival you have to cross train tracks and well two full CN cargo trains one right after another (with one train stopping/backing up changing tracks) held up quite a few people.
The way the tracks are laid out in this town is it will eventually cut a path right through the heart of the city basically splitting the town in two. There’s a few not so shortcuts but amazing in the year 2017 a Choo Choo train can basically halt a town at least for a few minutes or in this case a half n hour…
Once on the grounds site we dumped our lawn chairs got a couple of Adult Pops and Anthony Gomes was taking the stage. This guy did not disappoint as this is a power trio that loves to blaze hard blues rock. The tempo was set for the day. Anthony and his two other cohorts rocked and rolled and did not let the downpour of rain that blasted down from the skies for a good duration of his set bother him. Kudos to Anthony he got wet. Just kept wiping his guitar and getting on with it! This is a dude that I’m gonna have to check out. Hell he even at one point tossed a snippet of Van Halen’s Eruption in one of his solo’s so you know he means business!
By the time the Wide Mouth Mason trio of fella’s hit the stage the rain had passed(still kinda cloudy) and these guys I can tell you showed up. With Gomes setting the bar on frenzied heavy guitar rock WMM’s own guitarist Shawn Verreault showed up 10 fold. Laid down some great vocals and brilliant guitar playing including lap steel guitar and these guys the last time I saw them was when they opened for The Guess Who back in 2000. WMM has not changed one bit. It was real good to hear songs like Why,Midnight Rain,Tom Robinson. One of the coolest parts of the Mason set was when Verreault had his lap steel out and the boy’s ripped out a wicked rocked up version of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” that went right into David Bowies ‘Modern Love”. Man it was soooo good. Wide Mouth Mason took the challenge put forth by Gomes and his power trio and Mason Boy’s delivered!
BIG SUGAR. Gordie Johnson is back wearing the suits and he’s revamped Big Sugar. Gone is Mr Chill(Keyboards) and in are a few new musicians (a female backing vocalist)and I will say Sugar was unbelievable on this late afternoon. To me Big Sugar is a mashup of old school 70’s ZZ Top guitar rock mixed with a tinge at certain time’s of Bob Marley reggae thrown in. A sound that is known as BIG SUGAR. You want lots of Gibson Double Neck playing? It was here. Live his guitar tone sounds like it does on record. Red Rover was played early on and ‘Brothers and Sisters are you ready?” sang Gordie! Love the tempo these guys toss live. You know you have a decent back catalogue of material to draw from when one of Sugar’s biggest hits Diggin A Hole is played early on. If I Had My Way slinked its way around with Gordie playing some real slick slide guitar. Reggae rock of Turn The Lights On had the crowd moving while the old school ZZ sounding Better Get Used To It was brilliant. You cannot go wrong with this kind of rock. Gordie didn’t speak to much but when he did he told us that Sugar has a new album coming out later in the year and they proceeded to play two new tracks. (Sorry can’t remember the titles) But I will say they sounded like standout tracks and basically have sold me on wanting to purchase the new Sugar album. Slick move to play new tracks as you may lose the crowd but nope they were that good! One being a total rock out track . All Hell For A Basement whipped everyone in the crowd back into shape. Gordie totally slayed me with Sugar’s what I would say is my fav-o song of there’s The Scene. The Scene is a real cool vibe rock full steamer rock n sugar track. The Scene blends great percussion/guitar and vocals with some slick like lyrics. At the end of The Scene Gordie as per Protocol played O Canada on his double neck and flashed the Canadian Flag which was painted on the back of his guitar. BIG SUGAR DELIVERED!
To close out the weekend it was up to Randy Bachman to cap things off. Did he? Well let’s put it this way. Randy has a ton of material to draw from him and he did by opening up with Roll On Down The Highway. Bachman at the age of 73(!) can still play the six string. The B.T.O material that was played like the classic Four Wheel Drive,You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,Let it Ride,Hey You ( in which Randy and crew jammed some AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long, Steve Millers Rock N Me Rod Stewarts Hot Legs and WIld Thing) Now where he lost some momentum for me(not others mind you) was some of the Guess Who songs. Good songs mind you but songs like These Eyes,Undone albeit a lot of people here tonight love those tunes to me Randy rules on the BTO stuff! Now saying that when Bachman dug into American Woman which segued into Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love only to return to American Woman was pure brilliance! So some Guess Who worked some in my opinion didn’t work so good. Course The Rand-man wrapped it up with Takin Care Of Business!
Gordie and BIG SUGAR stole the weekend but they were pushed by Mitchell/Doyle/Gomes/Bachman and Wide Mouth Mason.
Sunday was a bunch of Guitar Rock which was what I wanted to hear in the first place and it was delivered upon.
Too wrap things up about the Festival. I still say the current location is crap. The setting by the lake is awesome but the place with the low stage sucks. The Food Vendors make a huge circle around the festival grounds and are right basically tucked on the sidewalk. This gets way to congested when you have people waiting for food and others just trying to back to their lawn chairs. Friday and especially Saturday were jammed. Sunday was but not as much.
For the Organisers of this Festival it’s about the buck. Too hear about broken attendance records all weekend gets nauseating after a while. With all this cash coming in fix this area up!
I think also the lineup nights could have been better but that’s due to availability of course. Bachman/Mitchell Friday Night ..Saturday Doyle should have closed with Bare Naked Ladies playing before Alan. On Sunday BIG SUGAR should have closed this out. My gripe!
JACKASS MOVE OF THE FESTIVAL GOES TO…We weren’t even 20 minutes on the Festival grounds on Friday when some ol dude(pushing 60 I would say) as Sue was about to put ice in her drink with a scoop this ol moron couldn’t wait for the scoop decided to grab the ice from the trays with his bare hands. Sue decided at that point to never use ICE in drinks at a public gathering again(haha). What a DumbFuck this fella was…..
SUZI’S DAY 3 BOXSCORE
Anthony Gomes- 10/10
WIDE MOUTH MASON-10/10
Holeee Crap the wifey digs loud guitar Rock!
I’m outta here for a bit ! Thanks for reading!