Category Archives: Live Stuff….

Well i seen a few faces at these shows and we rocked em all!

I Mother Earth/Finger 11: Live at Crocks(April 21st 2018)

Kudos to Crocks Promoter Frank Loffredo who in the matter of just  under three weeks has brought in a couple of Can Con Rock Shows. The first being Sloan back on April 4th and now just 17 days later brings in two acts touring Canada together who I have never seen live and that would be Finger 11 and I Mother Earth. 

Not only were they co headlining shows but they were also doing a joint pre show Acoustic Set as well.

So I was stoked especially to see IME as Guitarist Jag Tanna is  monster on the 6 string! (More on that later)

Back at the Sloan show I had a chat with Frank who told me tickets for the IME/Finger 11 show were well past 400 tix sold. For a Thunder Bay Bar show that’s says something in that people will come out and support live music. Helps also that neither of these two acts have been round here recently. Still though…

We arrived as the Acoustic Jam was going on. Crocks stage was stuffed with  both bands about 10 members jammed up there with acoustic guitars and percussion with IME Lead Singer Edwin and Finger 11 Lead Singer Scott Anderson handling all the vocals.

The set features cover songs like Christopher Cross’ Ride Like The Wind/Horse With No Name( America) Lola (Kinks) and Set Closer Solsbury Hill(Peter Gabriel).

A cool added feature to the ticket price I must add. Good to see camaraderie between both acts and props to whose ever idea it was to come up with the pre electric 30 minute jam.

The bands both answered fan submitted questions that were handled by a moderator from Rock 94. I get it that to keep the acoustic portion moving you need that but why this Radio Guy? Rock 94 ass kisses these acts when there coming to town  and once the Tour Bus Tail Lights are out past the Thunder Bay’s city limits you won’t hear much of these acts on radio..

(Ask me how many times I have heard Sebastian Bach/Skid Row on  Rock 94 radio for Bach’s upcoming show at Crocks in June??!)

It would have been cooler to have had a mic set up where actual paid members of the public could have waltzed up and spoke directly to the band not through some third-party Radio DJ doing the submitted questions himself! (no offence Fella you got a job to do I get it..)

Before the main acts took to the stage. A musician named JJ who has his own band The Pillars came out on stage by himself with an acoustic and played about 5 songs one of them being a pretty decent cover of Big Wrecks “That Song’  which JJ told the crowd that both Headliners told him he has to play a different cover song from those old Big Shiny Tunes compilation CD’s from back in the day!

After a quick change over Finger 11 hit the stage opening with Above and from there the 12 song  set moved at a quick rapid rate. Finger 11 is a great live act with Scott Anderson possessing a real good set of pipes. Scott also comes across as real down to earth chap when he addressed the crowd at various points through there set. Course the Biggie Single One Thing was played with the crowd firing back the words right back to Scott! I will add that Drag You Down is one ferocious live track man. So good! You knew that the big hit Paralyzer would be set closer but what I didn’t know was that Genesis’ That’s All would lead off Parlayzer  that would also feature a snippet of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall which than led into the ultimate mash-up of  Paralyzer being mixed with a ton of AC/DC’s Back In Black. 

Whoa. A great finale to Finger 11’s Set! What impressed me about these guys is how great of a live act they are and I must mention that Guitarist James Black is a show amongst himself. Great Band!

It’s amazing how quickly the Road Crew can swap out and set up a whole other bands gear in the midst of minutes.  Props to those guys! Can some one cue up Motorheads ‘We Are The Road Crew’ for these men!

I was pretty stoked to see I Mother Earth. I still recall my brother Todd seeing  IME back around 1992 just after the release of Dig at Crocks and when I asked my brother  the next morning how was the show he  said it was awesome. Four dudes up on stage with dreads and ponchos and laying down a heavy groove. I dropped the ball and missed a great show….

Damn It!

I have never seen IME live and if I’m right these guys haven’t been to TBay in about 18 years so it was time for a show!

IME took the stage and you want jamming and a band that doesn’t ‘play it like it is on the record’ philosphy than these guys fit the bill.

I have always dug the fact that these guys added a second percussionist as well they have a keyboardist in tow with them. Make no mistake though the keyboards do not drown out Guitarist Jag Tanna in the least. From opener Not Quite Sonic I Mother Earth played to the capacity crowd like there was no tomorrow. There sound emulating from the stage was huge. Jag’s live guitar tone is awesome. Not to be outdone brother Christian Tanna keeps the band driving forward with the drums.

Good to see Edwin back at the mic handling the vocals. The guy has a good voice that is made for this band so I hope in all earnest they keep this version of the band going! It was cool to hear Edwin  and band play Summertime In The Void a song that did not feature Edwin but he vocally makes it his own tune.

9 songs played and more could have been added I’m sure but as I mentioned earlier this band does not go the play it safe live route. Earth Sky & C was phenomenal as Jag put on a guitar clinic and basically a lot off his playing reminds me of Carlos Santana delivered to your senses with a sledgehammer . His use of tapping the strings is wicked as well. Earth Sky & C defines his playing to a T.

The big album seller in the IME catalogue was Scenery and Fish with the poppy Raspberry with its slick catchy chorus in what you would call “Ear Candy”. Used To Be Alright is another great IME track that has some real catchy playing and than just shoots into another level come chorus time!

The biggie track One More Astronaut had the crowd jumping and it features some great use of percussion mixed in with everything  going around it sonically! Rain Will Fall from the debut album Dig was end of the set closer!

Just like how they started acoustically it ended electrically with both bands taking the stage and delivering a 3 pack of hits.  Levitate/Good Times a cool cover of Supertramps ‘Bloody Well Right’ended the show!

Wowzer’s! This was a killer night. Two bands! One packed out facility and a lot of music was played….

Photo’s taken by dEke’s Budget Photography Skills.INC

 

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Rock The Fort-2006(Concert Review)

 

All the  awesome photos posted here in this review  were taken by  Paul Jokelainen who has graciously shared them with me.  Please clink the link below and take a moment to check out Paul’s photo’s from various Thunder Bay Concerts throughout the years!

http://performancephotography.ca/piwigo/

Back in 2005 Rock The Fort was launched at Old Fort William here in Tbay which was a great thing. The first year featured a whole Can Con Lineup featuring bands that fellow Blog  reader (from across the Ocean)  Mr 1537 has never heard of like Trooper/Nick Gilder/Glass Tiger/Headpins/Prism and others. He will think I’m once again making these bands up!!

In 2006 when the festival returned we went World Wide with the Acts! The Lineup is posted below… June 16th-18th!

Friday
6:00 – 6:45 Katrina Chester
7:30 – 9:00 Lee Aaron
9:45 – 11:00 Heart

Saturday
12:00 – 12:45 The Ryde
1:15 – 2:30 Alannah Myles
3:15 – 4:30 Helix
5:15 – 6:30 Foreigner with Lou Gramm
7:15 – 8:30 The Sweet
9:30 – 11:00 Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe

Sunday
12:00 – 12:45 To be Announced
1:15 – 2:15 The Northern Pikes
3:00 – 4:30 Quiet Riot
5:15 – 6:30 The Stampeders
7:30 – 9:00 Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings
2005 the lineup did not interest me as these acts have been through many a time and I have seen them  at various bars even when some still could sell out the 4000 seat Fort William “DUMP’ Gardens back in the day! Plus Tbone was getting married that weekend as well and I was busy practising the harmonica for my speech at his wedding!
2006 and this lineup intrigued me. Heart had never been here before and is  anyone up for a little Vince Neil karaoke?
This show I’m going on total memory so bear with me folks! Along for the shows were of course The Boss and her bestie friend Dawn.
Lee Aaron came out and it was like 1984 all over again when I had  her pictures on my bedroom wall  of the  Metal Queen album where she is swinging the sword and looking METAL!  After doing who knows what with her career from 1991 to 2006 she looked and sounded pretty damn good if I don’t say so myself. It was like I was 16 years old again back  in 1984  when Lee and her band  played the hits like Whacha Do To My Body/Hands Off and of course Metal Queen. Than I snapped back into reality!
Heart the Friday Night Headliner came out and played all there mega hits. Especially when those Wilson sisters were bad ass in the 70’s  and tonight they cranked out those  tunes like Crazy On You/Barracuda/Kick It Out/Magic Man and also some Zep tracks were tossed in. Course the 80’s tunes that propelled em back to the top were played and were talking about songs like What About Love/These Dreams/Alone.  Nancy Wilson is beast on guitar especially doing that crazy ass picking on Crazy On You. Her sister  Ann can still belt it out as well… Good Live Act to end Night 1!
By the time we rolled into the Grounds for Day 2 Alannah Myles was playing all those tunes from that debut album of her’s from 1990 that sold mega units along with the video for Black Velvet. Plus opening for Robert Plant at the time didn’t hurt her  any. Sixteen years later Alannah is still plying her trade singing for her supper. People liked her….I liked the Metal Queen Better!
 
Hey! Look its our favourite Can Rock Fella Brian Vollmer and his Helix home boys showing up doing what they do best and that s giving everyone an “R!” Back in 2006 it was just Vollmer and some dudes bashing out the catalogue of Helix tunes. Even though Vollmer is the only original cat left at that  time in Helix. He takes his craft seriously and for that  you have to hand it to him…
 
Foreigner with Lou Gramm. Well Lou was here but that was not Foreigner with him.  Most people here wouldn’t care but  get the billing right people. Lou was good, played the good rocking stuff from his days from his  old band and also blasted out Midnight Blue which I thought was a great track from his solo album back in 1987 or so….
Than it started to Rain…and Rain …and Rain….
That didn’t dampen The Sweet with Andy Scott leading the charge and playing basically the Greatest Hits album that we all own. Fox On The Run/The 6 Teens/Little Wily/Ballroom Blitz/Wig Wam Bam. Some dude with frizzy hair like Dee Snider was slamming the bass and was show upon himself. Well ,If I didn’t spot with my little eye seeing the soon to the stage Headliner Vince Neil watching  from the side during Sweets set.
More Rain…Rain ….Rain….
It was getting dark. We were soaked/cold and waiting for Vince and his backup band which is basically Slaughter to get there asses out on stage and let’s get this show going.
Nope..whatever the problem was we waited and it was fucking annoying….
Finally there’s Vince and his Hired Crue  opening with Live Wire (I think) and  Vince was  making the crowd sing basically every second or third word. By The sixth song I told the Boss and Dawn we could split as I had enough. Vince was on fire when I seen the Crue back in 1990.  16 years later though it was brutal. Vince’s band was ok. The dude on Guitar was overplaying  and hot dogging .  Between him and Vince and well lets face it bass player(Dana Strum) still plays that goofy bass that he used back in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. By this point that Bass Guitar was even  irking me! haha…
 I Had Enough…
Kudos to The Sweet who I thought were the band of the day!
Back on Sunday and hey Here Comes The Sun! Rain was gone….
 Missed the band called “To Be Announced’ Haha… Northern Pikes were good this day. Never seen em before but had one cassette and one disc of theres and they started off with a lot of songs us Canucks have heard. Hopes Go Astray/She Ain’t Pretty/ Teenland/Believe.  Good band and down to a 3 piece unit that day.
Well here’s   Kevin Dubrow along with sidekick Frankie Banali kicking off with a few open bars of Metal Health (good attention grabber as everyone knows that opening ) than ripping into Put Up or Shut Up from the maligned QR 3 album. Always dug this track and it came across live real good as it wasn’t glossed over with keys like the studio version.  Quiet Riot showed up man. They played what they were supposed to play(Cum On Feel The Noise/Mama Were All Crazee Now/Metal Health) and dug deep into the back catalogue with tracks like ThunderBird/Lets Get Crazy/Sign of the Times/Party All Night/Slick Black Cadalliac .  This being the third time I have seen them here in Tbay this was the best show I seen from them. Dubrow was in a great mood as the crowd was big (12000 I believe) and yeah man…Metal Health will drive ya mad! Sadly Dubrow passed away less than a year later in 2007.
More Cancon in the form of The Stampeders came out and played there hits and they were ok on a different level. The songs were good but their energy level was nil especially when comparing them to Quiet Riot….
Randy Bachman/Burton Cummings headlined the Sunday night and it was a show featuring many of the hits they did together in the Guess Who(American Woman/Undun/These Eyes) and it was cool to see each other guy jam the other guy’s solo catalogue. They were a good headliner but once again a different vibe….
 
When all was said and done I thought Sweet/Heart and Quiet Riot were the winners. They showed up did there deal.Collected there loot and split unlike Vince Neil who showed up/collected his pay and I split after 6 tracks!
For the record I have zero interest in ever seeing Vince again not even if Neil showed up with Sixx/Lee/Mars.  Gah! Must thank my Brother in Law Lenny who got us Backstage for the Sunday portion of the show. Some day I will write about it but for now…. Adios!

 

 

#616: None of My Exes Live in Texas (But One Lives in Thunder Bay) — mikeladano.com

Hey Folk’s Check out my pal Mikey Ladano’s post about the place Deke’s call home…….

GETTING MORE TALE #616: None of My Exes Live in Texas (But One Lives in Thunder Bay) “You’re going to meet a lot of girls here.” — The Boss, at The Record Store, summer 1994. Here’s the sad fact of the matter. Even though it was promised to me like some kind of perk, I […]

via #616: None of My Exes Live in Texas (But One Lives in Thunder Bay) — mikeladano.com

T.B.B.F 2017..Day 3/Bachman-Big Sugar/July 9th 2017

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

BIG SUGAR-10/10

RANDY BACHMAN-8.5/10

Holeee Crap the wifey digs loud guitar Rock!

I’m outta here for a bit ! Thanks for reading!

T.B.B.F 2017…Day 2/Saturday July 8th 2017

So Day 2 of the Thunder Bay Blues Festival comes and goes so let’s get to it ok!

Word on the street is that 8000 people showed up to check out the acts that played down at the local waterfront festival on Saturday and you ask how do I know? Well simple! It was announced about 8000 Fuckin times that a new attendance record had been set in  the 16th year of the Festival! Ok that’s awesome lets move on from the continuous verbal ego boosting as I still find stuff wrong with this festival and a few decent things but I will gripe after..

The weather today was on/off light rain which was no biggie it would rain stop for a bit start but as the day progressed it got clearer out!

Let The Music Do The Talking….

Myself,Suzi and my pal Chuck D and his girlfriend Jennifer arrived at around 3:30 in the afternoon just as Vancouver’s Barney Bentall And The Legendary Hearts took the stage.

(pic below L-R ..Jennifer/Suzi and a Lunatic!)

Barney’s music on this day was basically John Mellancamp Lite. This is mid tempo rock kinda one beat and pace throughout. Nothing to write home about. Barney needs to crank the amp up in my estimation but the cat has been at it for so long(since 1988) as I don’t think that will change.  Basically I recognised one tune and that was from his 88 album debut which was Something To Live For.

So I was cruising to get us Beer tickets when I stumbled upon this fellow Rival Sons fan!( He was sporting the Son’s colours as well) He called me over and his girlfriend snapped a pic(I don’t have a iPhone) and I moved on. Later in the day he came by where we were sitting and Suzi snapped a shot of us on her phone. Never even got the fellow’s name. Seemed like a real chill dude and frigg he dig’s Rival Son’s so how about we call him Rando!

 

Lighthouse another Canadian radio staple for close to 50 years took the stage. This 9 piece act had a 4 piece horn section with them, Nothing like hearing live horns not some silly willy plonk of the ivories from a keyboard. Good act and the first real signs of life from the  audience this weekend as people got up off their asses and started jiving to the classic am rock of Lighthouse’s big radio hits like Summer Nights and One Fine Morning.  Lighthouse was good and entertaining and the second ever band I have heard with live horns ever! (Kool & The Gang Being the first) Dan Clancy  the lead singer was all over the place and should be commended as he worked the crowd hard man and was rewarded!

Another Canadian Blues N Brass band that has been going for about 40 years now is The Powder Blues Band. Led by founding member Tom Lavin Powder Blues featured 6 fella’s even featuring a local fellow on keyboards. (Sorry fella can’t remember your name) But these guys can play and Lavin told a great story about the late Jeff Healy as well. Powder Blues were good and of course big hit Doin It Right On The Wrong Side Of Town had people hopping.

Dunno what was going on as well, some kind of delay perhaps but 4 dudes hit the stage for a bit and played cover tunes? Killing time I would call it as the festival was about close to 90 minutes behind schedule and if you work early Sunday am this sucks. This festival is notorious for running late. Supposed to end at 11 pm but when the main act doesn’t hit the stage til 10:40 pm your shooting way over…

Alan Doyle And The Beautiful Gypsies hailing from Newfoundland rocked the Festival with a rocked up Irish Jig super fuel charged set! Alan was here with his previous band Great Big Sea four years ago and put on a great show. So now Al’s back with a new band and I can tell you there is no dip in this fella’s stage presence. Ton’s of energy and the real ace in the hole in Doyle s band is guitarist Cory Tetford  who wailed on the six string not showing off but playing slick like leads and at other times playing some nifty slide guitar as well.  Doyle has just released a new single Summer Summer Night which for a new track went over well and thorough out his 12 song set he kept working the crowd switching between his acoustic and electric guitar. He also dipped into his back catalogue and played Great Big Sea’s Ordinary Day and closed his set with 1,2,3,4 a song that had headliners Barenaked Ladies Frontman/Guitarist Ed Roberston jam on..

Barenaked Ladies came out and thanks to the energy put forth by Doyle was kinda lost when BNL opened with a track called Boomerang. Kinda mellow rock to open but the crowd was revived when the second track It’s All Been Done had the crowd moving. BNL are a quirky rock act to say the least ( did a jam out about a local Tbay pancake joint)and thats what I kinda dig about em. Not a huge fan per se but they are a tight live act and l will give them that. Tons of their hits were played and I like the guitar driven rock of tracks like Old Apartment. Even the theme of Big Bang Theory(TV show) was played. Big old-time jam out with Doyle and his band along with Bentall who joined BNL for IF I Had A $1000,0000 had the crowd moving as well….Good Act..

Day 2 was better act wise than Day 1. Doyle for my moneys worth should have headlined Day 2 over BNL’S as Doyle’s beer driven celtic rock cannot be beaten at this kind of festival. Even though I only know Doyle by his radio tunes and don’t own any of his music it speaks volumes that he can show up here to Tbay and make an old Metalhead like me take notice not once but twice!

SUZI’S DAY 2 BOXSCORE..

Barney Bentall- 5/10

Lighthouse-7/10

Powder Blues Band-7/10

Alan Doyle-10/10 (Suzi sez knew how to entertain a crowd. Did not let the crowd flatline)

BNL-  7/10

Thunder Bay Bluesfest 2017….Day 1/Friday July 7th 2017

 

I know I know I said yesterday I was out of here for a few weeks but I thought I had better review this weekends shows and strike while the iron’s hot! Once these 3 Day/ Nights are reviewed I will be on holidaze….

Pics done by D.S.P.S (Deke’s Shitty Photography Skills)

You have to hand it to the press in this town as the Headline’s read this morning”New Attendance Records Set” Well how about a whoop D who F’in cares. The organisers of this Festival go through this song and dance all the time with the amount of people  strolling through their gates.

Hey man do you think for a moment the press has to pay to get in? (Grease more palms please) . We paid and after my last post or should I say rant let’s see whats happening down at the old waterfront where the Festival takes place! Birch Tree’s included!

Now as I make my return to this festival after a 4 year sabbatical will it be a better experience for myself and Suzi or will it be “Meh!”

A few acts had already played by the time we got there which  was pretty much when Kim Mitchell  was about to take the stage and Akimbo still at around or over the age of 60 can bend those six  strings and when the sun is shining and you open your set with Lager & Ale followed by Rocklandwonderland you know you are gonna have the crowd on your side.

Kim over the years has built up an impressive solo catalogue of material as well as from his 70’s act Max Webster to which if I’m correct Kim and crew went 4 songs in this set with Webster material! (I can hear Mikey Ladano saying “WHAT!” ) High Class In Borrowed Shoes/Check/Diamonds Diamonds/Paradise Skies.  Props to Kim for shaking up the set list as he could have totally played it safe but choose to dig deep in the rock vault.

Kim also told the story of “technical issues” when he opened for Boston (Which I reviewed a ways back) and saying that Boston guitarist Tom Scholz had issues with his equipment that he monkeyed around with for about 4 hours! Quirky…comes to mind…..

Course some great Kim solo tracks were played like That’s A Man a real stripped down borderline acoustic country like  rendition of Easy To Tame.  The band than  rock’s  it up with I Am A Wild Party. 

All We Are featuring long time sidekick Bassist Peter Fredette was a standout as I have always loved the vocal trade off between the Pete and Kim on this song.

To top it off comes more blazing Rock Guitar in the form of Rock N Roll Duty and final tune Go For Soda! Just some good ol fashioned hard  rock nuggets with a ton of excellent axemanship on the six string left the crowd wanting more.

To which Kim and the boys headed back to the stage and ended there set with the mega hit Patio Lanterns.

Kim at this stage showed up and rocked it out as well as not playing it safe with his set list!

Atta Boy Akimbo!

This fella below needs to Go For Soda!

Next up was the Sam Roberts Band. These cats I have heard tons of on the local radio and in Canada they sell a ton of albums.  First things first I do not own any of these guy’s music so I will tread carefully with this one.

For starters there all clean-cut dudes from my vantage point who can play their instruments but the first three songs played to me sounded like one big tune that just floated about in the air down at the festival. Kinda U2’ey in spots. Fair enough as a lot of folks here are into them.

Sam did say that by being in Tbay it would be a great time to play   the tune  An American Draft Dodger In Thunder Bay.  I will give him a ton of props for really making a move to make me notice!

Course the biggie rock radio tracks like Were All In This Together  and  Brother Down did totally resonate with me and they are well crafted rock tracks.

To end the set Kim Mitchell joined the Roberts band and they from which I suppose did some collaborating and Kim once again laid down some guitar law. Pretty cool end of the set jam out!

Sam Roberts was good and perhaps I should give this dude some listens. But as I stated earlier he sells a ton of music and has his own Beer Line… Lets put it this way my good pal CHUCK D at one point asked “Who are we clapping For?” Haha…

Amanda Marshall was the closer for  night one of the Festival.  She showed up with a pretty decent light show and a real good 5 piece backing band but for some reason her pacing of the concert was left to be desired. Amazing that she has not put out any new recorded material since 2001 yet her 3 albums all sold well in Canada so I assume its comeback time.

Her set started off pretty rockin and no doubt the lady can still sing and she has a ton of airplay here in Thunder Bay.

Everybodys Got A Story is a pretty cool tune about Tattoos and Booze and well its  a song about when  shit happens.  But for some reason the set kinda limped along a little on the light side of things for my liking. Amp it up Amanda as you do have the vocals and the stage presence….

So Day 1 is in the books…

So shall we do a rating system like I did last year when me and Suzi went to Rock The Fort? 

Ok let’s do this…

Suzi’s Score –

Kim Mitchell ..7/10 ( Suzi deducted One point for Guitar Wanking…hahaha… but she did add that was  personal preference)

Sam Roberts Band- 5/10 ( no comment)

Amanda Marshall-5/10 ( Sound had too much bass)

dEkE’s Two Cents…

I agree with the Boss’s score on this show. The Festival Organisers would call this a diverse bill. I call it that yes but Kim Mitchell should have headlined this night as Kim has that driving loud guitar rock along with a mix of good ol fashioned Beer Drinking Tune’s that spike Beer sales! I can’t really say that about the other two acts. Albeit good acts in regards to musicianship and vocals but lacking in the  pace department!

Up Next Day 2……

 

 

Iron Maiden/Ghost-June 16th 2017/St Paul Mn.

 

So my Brother Todd back in January of this year received an email saying that Iron Maiden  would be playing the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St Paul Minnesota on June 16th.

Todd was working up in the area of Hudson’s Bay(Manitoba) back in January when the pre sale happened so with crappy WiFi where he was working he drove 60 miles to get a decent signal and viola grabbed us two tickets which was good as all 15,000 tickets sold out in less than a few hours!

Todd was pumped that not only Maiden was showing up but they were bringing Ghost as an opener. Todd vouched for them but I was on the fence with Ghost as I tried watching some of their live stuff on YouTube but for some reason I could not grasp the concept of the whole Ghost shtick! Would they convert me?

Keep Reading…

So the day of the show we took off bright n early and headed to St Paul Minnesota which is right next door to Minneapolis Minnesota(Twin Cities the locals call it) and Todd was on the ball and got us a hotel within a 10 minute walk to the Xcel Center.

So about 3 hours before show time we headed towards the Xcel Center (where there was a bunch of Maiden fanatics hanging out by the doors a good 3 hours before door’s would open. We realised later why as the floor was general admission)which has a bunch of Burger N Booze establishments so we picked one and had a few beers and you knew Maiden was in town as there were a ton of Maiden shirts everywhere. Let me clarify that. A ton of dudes wearing Maiden T’s with a handful of woman wearing some as well…Kinda like being at a Rush show!

It was funny as once as we headed back to the Xcel Center on  the entrance side of the building that  we were going to enter into I  counted 7 poh poh cars and one K-9 Unit sitting right beside the Arena. Ha! Guess they were calling in extra’s for the Maiden show thinking there was going to be trouble! Strong Arm Of The Law!

Once inside and tickets scanned it was off for me to the Merchandise tables and there must have been about 12-14 different Maiden T’s (One T was an Xcel exclusive in which we snagged a few of those stat) There was another table set up that was selling a bunch of silk screen covers of albums. All the bases were covered! Todd was talking to a guy who drove in from Des Moines Iowa for the show and he bought a couple of these Maiden only Minneapolis T’s and told Todd that he puts a couple up on eBay and gets about $150 U.S per shirt as Maiden fanatics will pay for rare shirts!

At 730 pm sharp Ghost hit the stage opening with Square Hammer and I was hooked! What a great opening song and let’s for a second talk about these guys.

Ghost consists of 6 members with the  Lead Singer going by the name of Papa Emeritus while the 5 other fella’s names or well they call em Nameless Ghouls. Papa looks like during the first three numbers an anti Pope. Seriously but I will say he has a wickedly good voice that with an excellent band of musicians around him whoever the Ghouls in real life are. Opening number Square Hammer is a great track but it was the tune Absolution  that made me really take notice. This tune blends heavy and melodic rock with a smattering of Alice Cooper vocally mashed with the Keys of Deep Purple. The two Ghouls on guitars are a show upon themselves getting the crowd into it with their demonic like silver masks. Papa after awhile ditches the Anti Pope deal and goes for Think Andrew Loyd Weber with a mix of  Phantom Of The Opera. He even has quite a bit of humour at times between songs when addressing the crowd. Good to see these guys don’t take themselves that seriously except when it comes to the music its taken very seriously! I posted a clip of Ghost from St Paul playing the track Cirice. You can see how they have that edge throughout but can snap into a real melodic bit and snap right out of it. Great stuff.

I don’t think I have ever seen an opening act get this much stage space and a real good use of lights(purple and green dominated the set ) from a headliner. Than again it’s Maiden!

The crowd was stoked as this was Maidens first appearance in the St Paul/Minneapolis area in 17 years!

At 8:55 pm the opening keys of  UFO’s Doctor Doctor filled the arena and you knew once this song was over it was time for Maiden.

I have to say the whole Mayan like themed stage is very slick-looking and as it filled with smoke out appears Lead Singer Bruce Dickinson perched  above Drummer Nicko McBrain’s Drums and does his Capella opening to the first song of the night If Eternity Should Fail for a few minutes than   the rest of the Maidens hit the stage amidst a blast of pyro it is definitely show time.

It’s official I lose my shit!

Speed Of Light is up second and everyone is at the front of the  stage with Bruce handling his mic stand like a Fencer swinging his sword. Guitarist Janick Gers is a show upon himself.  Doing a bunch  of wind mill’s on his guitar like Townsend. The dude is a throwback to the late 70’s early 80s look complete with the bullet belt around his waist. Flinging his guitar around his neck/back,legs stretched out over the PA and at times tossing in a solo for good measure. Must mention I dig Bruce’s stage attire for this show. Cargo pants/Hoodie and Boots. The dude is hanging with Mayan’s!

Great to hear Nicko and Bassist Steve Harris lock in at the start of  Wrathchild.  Bruce lets off his patent Air Raid Siren scream and wow man the guy is so good! Childern of The Damned is played this night and right before Children, Bruce addressed the crowd and asked how many people at the show where born after 1982.  (The year COTD was released) The response was pretty loud as this is what Maiden wants to hear. Kids getting into Maiden from their parents and plus it keeps Maiden themselves from becoming a straight nostalgia act! Case in point there was Dad sitting beside me with his two young teenage son’s.

Death or Glory and The Red And Black from the current album Book of Souls are front and centre and Death And Glory is a great track with Bruce “Climbing Like A Monkey” as he gets the crowd into it(watch the video below) and Adrian Smith plays some real slick slide guitar during the solo. The Red And The Black is epic and clocks in at over 10 minutes with spectacular lights and a boatload of guitar solo’s!

1983’s classic The Trooper complete with Bruce in a red war jacket jostling a Union Jack Flag cranked up the crowds even more as this is one of those tracks that you will always be played. My brother who plays guitar says that Dave Murray is one of the smoothest Soloists out there as you don’t hear his picking and he flawlessly goes up and down the fret board during his solo’s. Todd also mentioned on the drive home between Ghost and Maiden we heard probably over 60 guitar solo’s between the act’s. An exhibition in axemanship I would say!

Powerslave encompasses everything I love about Maiden. Ripping verse’s huge chorus/total chill out in the  midsection of the tune and the solos of Smith/Murray bring the song back up and Nicko does those crazy rolls right before the song goes back into its final verse! Told Todd that this track takes me right back to when I first bought Powerslave the day upon its release back in 1984! Must mention as well the huge wall of fire upon Bruce’s entrance…Impact!

The Great Unknown with its melodic opening and  ramps up and ends with an extended melodic jam with all three guitarists getting there shot at playing some bluesy like riffs while Bruce works the crowd( all night Bruce was pointing to the front/back/upper deck’s all sections were acknowledged throughout the show)

Bruce soars vocally on the track Book of Souls and   basically is  a 13 minute Maiden Metal Masterpiece especially when  Nicko lifts the tune off into a crazy tempo during the solo and  here comes at least a 12 foot Eddie swinging at Janick before Bruce takes Eddie’s heart out and chucks it into the crowd! Steve Harris has written many classic tracks but this tune is one my fav’s. Like Powerlsave (song) it encompasses everything I love about Maiden!

Fear of The Dark has Bruce running back and forth behind Nicko on  and not missing a line  vocally. Endurance the man has! Janick throws down a great solo on FOTD. Love the last verse as the band just rip it up and just like that it’s time for …

Iron Maiden! The classic tune from the self titled 1980 release is performed and there’s Eddie behind Nicko rising up and Bam out comes the fire/pyro off of Ed’s noggin and just like that …the show is over!

Kinda….Encore please…

The stage goes red and The Number of The Beast is dialled up and you want a ton of fire set off look no further than this track complete with another round of Bruce’s Air Raid Siren wail at the start of the track. Love Smith/Murray’s solo’s and Harris when he razzle dazzles with that bass riffing after the guitar solo’s…

Blood Brothers is next and I’m going to post the video and Bruce actually thanks Dekes and Todd for showing up(kinda thanks us..check it out it’s at the beginning of the song about the minute and half mark)

Wasted Years closes the show and it’s a great Adrian Smith track complete with A Plus solo. Maiden end things on a high!

First of thanks to Todd for making this trip happen! Maiden is still the best live act around and considering Nicko just turned 65 it’s crazy that these guys are still playing at this level! The solo’s/vocal’s it’s like its 1985 again! No dip in anything folks!

Bruce mentioned that there putting this show to bed at the end of July and they will go away for a bit but will be back. So it’s not quite the end yet.

Umm… yeah when they come back…..Myself and Todd will be there again!

Long Live Maiden!