Finally. A decent-sized act comes to Brooks. And this is likely the only review you'll find of it!
I've been ranting for years that we could easily accommodate large shows like this one. We have the largest highway uniting the entire country - second largest in the world, I might add - flowing through our city limits, and we can't seem to pull bands off that divided concrete on their way from Medicine Hat to Calgary? It's quite sad, really.
However, Theory of a Deadman did have their bus driver flick his turn signal and make way for the Centennial Regional Arena parking lot. Granted, a beginning of the week show, but hey - we're just happy to have the music come to town at this point! Kudos to the local promoters who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this event even happen.
First to hit the stage, well, second - Tyler and Caitie from 101.1 The One warmed up the crowd (with famous selfie stick in tow!) - was Tilley's own Faint Awakening. Now, if you're from this area and have not heard of this band of siblings, move out from under your rock. These brothers and sisters are just plain great. We've written about them before, and it's always a pleasure to hang out with the family before a show. They were the perfect choice to have open the event, setting a fairly high bar with their set. It's so interesting to watch them as they develop as a band. They sound so tight, heavy and loud....a perfect trifecta. What I like about this band is not only are they solid musicians, but their writing chops are equally impressive. Quite interesting to hear audience members refer to stuff from their earlier catalog as personal favourites - you got a nice fanbase going, guys and gals!
Up next were Renee and Jonny of The Standstills. They were not in an enviable spot - the crowd was getting restless for the main event, and they had to follow up a family band that owned the stage.
But, this duo proved their worth - especially with their cover of Ram Jam's 1977 hit Black Betty. Think I'm still amazed by Renee's drumming style, she is an unbelievable talent behind the kit! Also nice to discover they're supporters of local business, having stopped in at Full Circle Music before the show (incidentally, I think Jonny sold me on checking out Vox guitars....).
Again, another personable band, and it was a pleasure to watch them perform. Would be nice if they could put on another show on their return trip home!
Blasting onto the stage somewhere around 10 p.m. was the main event. Theory of a Deadman was in the house! They were nothing short of amazing. Thankfully, the boys didn't pull any punches - from the pit, you couldn't tell if this was the same spot with the Brooks Bandits dropped the puck, or some huge stadium south of the border. The energy level was intense.
These guys are all heart - before the show, the band met up with some VIP ticket holders. Great chance for a few lucky fans to shake the hands of the people who formerly only lived in their radio or iPod. Yeah, I know - this is the sugary stuff bands have to do to keep in touch with their fans, but Theory were genuine with the meet and greet.
In short, they gave the fans one heck of a show - all the razzle dazzle you'd expect and more.
What impressed me most was how strict everyone kept to the timeline. I know, when you're a concert-goer, the gaps between bands seems like an eternity, but the take down/set up between acts was fast. Just enough time for people to get up and stretch, check out the merch tables or grab a cold beverage.
This show was a turning point for Brooks. We proved that a big-name act can perform here. The venue of the CRA was great, and support staff did an excellent job of making sure the event ran smooth. No discernible glitches were noticed.
Now (and here I return to my soapbox), how about we keep up that level of excitement and get some more high-quality acts in. Shows like this prove the economic benefit to the area, and they are the perfect venue for our local talent to shine. We have some amazing musicians in the area, and it's time to bring these hidden gems to the spotlight.
So thanks to Cory and Mike for their hard work in making this a reality (and for having RyKie Images & Events shoot the show); thanks to the City of Brooks for the venue and awesome staff working that night; and special thanks to all who attended. Especially to those who helped sell out the items on the merch table. When you buy a CD, shirt, poster, or any other paraphernalia from a band, you are financing them. Think of the analogy of a restaurant server - they get paid lousy, but count on the tips.
Don't be a jerk, tip by buying some goodies.
By the way, bonus points to The Standstills with their innovative USB design. Very smart idea!
Keep your eyes open for more images from the show!