Sunday, October 10, 2010

Browbeat Concert Review, Including Three Surprise Bands!!

Hope everyone's enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend in Sault Ontario! I apologize for this review being late, I had a family gathering to attend to, but now it's time for the review of last night's Browbeat concert, which had a LOT more in store compared to what I expected going in! So here is my review!

Last night's concert at Foggy Notions was advertised to be just Browbeat as the sole scheduled act, after a bit of confusion over a possible alternate headlining band (as it turns out, it was supposed to be Sativa Rose, not WinkStinger.) And the concert started out like that, with Browbeat making their first live concert appearance under any name in almost nine months! They opened with a set full of a mix of originals and covers, including some Collective Soul and ZZ Top hits, and their own songs like 'Days Gone By" and "Narrow Mind"! Nice to hear some of these songs again, it's been too long! Frontman Dutch Vanderploeg was battling some issues with his singing voice, forcing the band to stick to songs that fit his lower vocal register, so a couple cover and original favourites didn't make the cut in their return. But the ones they did play, they played well! Dutch's guitar work was capably good as it ever was, and Rick White shown that he can definitely drum very well compared to his more familiar guitar and bass output!

Hell, they even broke out a Fitswitch cover ("I Only Wanna Be With You") with Rick pulling double duty on vocals and drums that was cool to see! Also great to finally see James White on bass at a live show, cause he's very talented, and he shown a nice stage presence as well! Their hard rocking sound was a welcome sight, but they still had a bit of rust on their sound overall. I imagine that when they get back on stage again, they'll sound at their top form, and I can't wait!

Does it seem like I wrapped up the review quickly? Well, here's why. After one set, Browbeat ceded the stage to some special guests! I was aware of said plans beforehand, but Browbeat kept this secret, and what a secret it turned out to be! Firstly, Dutch traded his guitar in for a bass as he was joined by his Caveman Morrison bandmates Tym Morrison and Johnny Belanger for a set of metal covers! Great to see Caveman Morrison back on stage again, even if was for just one set! We got to hear some very solid renditions of songs from bands like Metallica, Living Colour, Ozzy Osbourne, Journey, and more, and the crowd responded well! It was actually growing from Browbeat's set, which was nice to see! Tym was in good form, though his voice also had some weak spots at certain points. His guitar work was as great as ever though, but I missed his ventures into the crowd! Dutch kept up well on bass, and Johnny was great on drums himself, as he'd continue to be throughout the night (more on that later.) Good stuff all around, I can't wait to see a full concert set from Caveman Morrison again!

The second surprise band last night turned out to be local horror/punk quartet Frightlight, in what could be their first ever live concert appearance sans their trademark horror costumes and makeup. This almost resembled a Fitswitch show at parts (yes, this could allude to something.) J.D. Pearce, Rick White, and Mike Gingras took the stage for a set full of Frightlight's original songs, with Johnny from Caveman Morrison filling in for the absent Jeff De Rose on drums. I wasn't expecting to hear from Frightlight again this soon, but they put in a pretty good set chock full of their great punk/metal tracks like "Fright Night", "C.H.U.D.", and "Scream"! J.D.'s singing was as good as we ever see from him, with lots of aggression, while Rick and Mike kept rocking away at a high rate on their respective instruments! Rick's guitar work especially looked at top form, including on their VERY fast new original, which I'm excited to hear again soon! And though I don't know if Johnny has much familiarity with Frightlight's originals, he kept up well on drums, and if you listened quick, you probably wouldn't have noticed that anything was different! Great stuff, but take my word: You haven't seen the full Frightlight experience until you see them in full horror regalia, and you'll get your next chance in two weeks at the Zombie Walk after party!

After their set, J.D. and Mike left the stage, with Fitswitch/Scary Uncles bassist Andrew MacDonald (now sans hair, shockingly) replacing both and joining Rick and Johnny for a rendition of GG Allin's "Bite It You Scum"! Andrew has an underrated punk voice, and the crowd responded well to the song! You also may have recognized Andrew as the sound guy last night, and for jumping in on backing and lead vocals randomly during Browbeat and Frightlight's sets. Following that, J.D. returned to the stage along with (surprisingly) original Fitswitch guitarist Kevin Powe for a surprise three song set of classic Fitswitch songs! Kevin was in town this weekend and it was nice to see him back on stage with J.D., Rick, and Andrew! If only Larry Mousseau was there, we would have seen the original Fitswitch lineup reuniting again, but regardless, it was a great flashback! I regrettably couldn't get a full video of their set, but mark my words: They were good! Kevin was playing well, the rest of the band did as well, and Johnny continued to impress with his impromptu drumming! This was a real treat if I ever heard of one, and here's hoping this isn't the last time that Fitswitch reunite!

Browbeat took the stage for a couple more tunes to cap the night, including a rendition of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" with a special guest: Me? Yeah, Dutch was telling me that he wasn't sure if he could pull off that song vocally last night due to his throat problems last night, so I randomly suggested that I could sing it for him if they wanted. A few hours later, boom, I was singing on stage with Browbeat! I've heard good things, but I honestly felt like my voice was cracking near the end of the song, so I could have easily done better. Still, if you wanna hear how I sound singing "Crazy Train", click here!

Overall, this was a surprisingly fun show that exceeded all of my initial thoughts going in! What I thought would simply be Browbeat's return turned into a fun, well attended multi-band concert with a little something for everyone! You'd have to have been there, it was a great surprise and delivered well! For photos of all five bands (including the Andrew/Rick/Johnny trio), click here or visit The Sault Metal Scene's Facebook page! And I got some videos, which you can check out below! So here's Browbeat's original "Days Gone By", Caveman Morrison's version of Living Colour's "Cult Of Personality", and Frightlight's song "They All Float"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates in the next few days! Thanks everyone!

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