Alongside rockers Alright Already and the highly touted Jon Epworth, Jessie Brown and her band returned from their two-week eastern Canada tour this past Friday night and killed it at Michael’s Bar and Grill.
Two weeks ago Brown and her band embarked on their first major tour, rippin’ gigs in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Having seen and shared the stage with Brown before I was well aware of the type of show I was heading into. A soulful, dynamic, grab you by the short and curlies rock show. I was not disappointed.
I arrived Friday night just as Alright Already (formerly Great Plains) was winding down their set, wailing a cover of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. I was disappointed (and embarrassed) that I missed most of their slot. Any band who has the balls to not only attempt a Darkness cover, but who can pull it off in true rock ‘n roll fashion is alright with me. Lead by Music Nova Scotia’s Sean MacGillivary on vocals and guitar, AA has a rawness about them that demands attention. A mixture of pop-punk from the 2000s and modern alt rock, these four dudes are a solid Halifax musical export. Keep an open ear for their next HRM date.
After a quick change-over, Brown and the boys were tuned, poised and amped to deliver. Every time I see this band I can’t help but sit back, shake a leg and smile. The blend of 70s classic rock with even more 70s classic rock gets me every time. Being on the road has made Brown and her band even tighter than the last time I caught their show. A feat I figured was unattainable, but once again Jessie Brown has made a fool out of me and my assuming brain. FOOL!
Their roughly 40 minute set boasted several tunes from her self-titled EP including the grindy, sassy number “Sticks and Stones,” a tune which forces you to bob your head and shake a fist. Adrian Dunn’s Jimmy Page meets Randy Rhoads guitar tones and stage presence is always a highlight of their set. The musicianship that emanates from drummer Adam Wedgewood and bassist Mike Andrews (also of We’re Doomed) is something to revel in. Being one half of The Stogies rhythm section it’s impossible for me to not take notice of any band’s dynamic duo and Brown’s a lucky Lucy to have these two thumpers keeping things in order and always tasteful behind her and Dunn’s lead work. A true Halifax treasure.
Next to take the Michael’s stage was the highly revered and adored Lunenburg turned Toronto resident, Jon Epworth. Having only heard a couple tunes by him prior to this show I was excited but skeptical at the same time. I gotta say, I don’t get the hype. Epworth and his band mates put on an electrically charged performance which the crowd went nuts for, however, this reporter didn’t. I can appreciate the tunes. And I can appreciate the performance and caliber of songs and playing. They all played with vigor, talent and conviction. That said, it wasn’t my cup of musical tea. I found MacGillivary’s tambourine/back-up vocals a little overdone and at times cheesy. I also found Epworth’s style and presence too much like that of Joel Plaskett (another local hero I’ve grown weary of in recent months). I did enjoy the song “Happening” though, and I did nod with approval for a couple more ditties. Still, I left the show a little disappointed. It might be a case of having such high expectations from the build up prior to the fact, so I’ll have to check them out again; maybe I missed something the rest of the audience caught. In any case, Friday night was a pleasure for all involved, another successful show at Michael’s.
For more information on all three bands put the mouse over the name ‘n click!