Before I head out to TONIGHT'S Biipiigwan show, we have a review of last night's Amy Ellis benefit concert at The Canadian Nightclub, but of course, check out our most recent news post below this one! Despite the cold evening on our hands, there was a solid crowd at the benefit already (there was a preceding dinner at 6:00 PM by ticket admission), and The Canadian (now with a new horseshoe "Welcome" sign above the stage) was decked out for the occasion with plenty of tables for patrons! Now, how about the bands?
Fingerbone singer John Barber, ex-Scary Uncles guitarist Matt Sibilo, North West's Clint Wilson (on bass), and Matt's ex-Groove Commitee bandmate Anthony Gagnon on drums. Fans from the early 2000s may recognize John & Matt from the former local hard rock band Redefined, but did Late Shift sound similar? While not quite as heavy (and with no originals), Late Shift did skew towards a hard/alternative rock sound, with covers of everyone from Pearl Jam, The Stone Temple Pilots, and Led Zeppelin to The Black Keys, Imagine Dragons, and The Pixies. I will applaud them for effectively adding extra punch to some songs that I wasn't a fan of going in (their version of "Radioactive" comes to mind), and they put a fun and often heavy energy on their songs, with John's solid singing voice really impressing, but he needs work on his crowd banter. Very solid debut set from some familiar faces, and hopefully we hear more from Late Shift soon!
Second on the bill was Rockstar Bar Battle winners The Suicide Kings in just their second concert since opening for Airbourne at The Canadian in August, and they were back in form with a fun and crowd-engaged set! If there was a difference from their mid-2013 gigs, it was in the setlist, which eschewed many original songs (only "Into The Fray", "King of the World", and the intros made it), with them tackling many of their more general rock covers (everything from The Killers & Jet to newly learned Lit and Jimmy Eat World renditions), though I'll note that their setlist credited an encore song named "Two More Jag" (possibly an original?) that didn't get played. Musically, everyone was on form from past gigs, and while I know Mike Gaetano's been through a lot to help Amy lately, he was in full frontman mode and delivered strong vocal performances throughout their set! Steven Flint was on fire on guitar too, and it was nice to see The Suicide Kings back, even if their set was a bit more varied then I'm used to!
Havadder, playing just their second show since the end of their Turner Up-infused 2012 incarnation, and I have to admit, this was the first time I've seen Havadder live in any form. Their set was honestly a bit more varied than I would have predicted, with their song choices ranging from The Travelling Wiburys, Jason Aldean, and Tom Petty to Godsmack, Ugly Kid Joe, and Green Day, but it fit with the previous bands shaking things up! Frontman Jason Roy shared lead vocal duties with new guitarist Jamie July throughout the night, with both handling their songs pretty well (albeit with the occasional lyric flub), and I appreciate that their set wasn't predictable (I can't name other bands in town who cover Better Than Ezra), so that all worked! It was also nice seeing Lucas Bugyra playing live again, and their talents were clear overall (Jason has a nice command of the crowd), so if you see Havadder's full show, be prepared for a nice mix of rock covers!
Overall, the musical portion of the Amy Ellis benefit went really well, and though I don't know Amy personally, I hope the event raised a lot of funds and support for her cancer battle, so best of luck to her, Mike, and her family going forward! As we've learned with Luke LeBlanc & the late Ray Brown this year, cancer sucks, so any help is much appreciated! Photos and videos from the show can be seen at this link or at our Facebook page, and in terms of videos, here's Late Shift covering Pearl Jam's "Corduroy", The Suicide Kings covering Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch", and Havadder covering The Beastie Boys' "Havadder - (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)"
That's all for today,but I'll see you guys TONIGHT at The Moose Lodge for Biipiigwan, The Bear Hunters, and Bad Back, which is ALL AGES and just $5! Thanks everyone!