Tag Archives: Thunder Bay Blues Festival 2017

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!

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……