A dark and wet Saturday created the perfect backdrop for CJAY 92’s Halloween Howler at the Grey Eagle Report & Casino in Calgary. On the ticket were a trio of Canadian heavy hitters: One Bad Son, Big Wreck, and the Headstones.
As soon as we walked into the venue, we knew we were in for a hell of a night. The Calgary crowd took Halloween to the next level with their costumes. From a terrifyingly realistic Pennywise, to superheroes, to those who felt that questionable “adult” accessories constituted a costume, no one was taking the task lightly.
Hailing from good ‘ol Saskatoon, One Bad Son is currently touring our great country bringing their brand of Canadiana rock and roll to a town near you. Making us love them more as they continue to make their name known in the Canadian music scene. Their new single “Scream for Me” is out and I’d recommend putting it on the top of your Halloween playlist, and then your day after Halloween playlist and so on and so forth.
Once OBS had successfully aped the crowd up, Big Wreck took to the stage to keep the party going. They’ve just announced a “In Loving Memory” 20th Anniversary Tour and their North Americans fans are already buzzing! This tour certainly speaks to the lasting impact their music has had on fans, but also to their adaptability; 20 years later, still making new music, still touring and continuing to increase their fan base one show at a time.
The crowd jumped, swayed and sang along to each and every tune. Ian Thornley has a particular way to sweeping you off your feet with just a few plucks of his guitar strings, or maybe that’s just the effect he has on me. Regardless, I feel like every time I’ve had the pleasure of being in the crowd at one of their shows, there is always a serene moment where Thornley plays the crowds right into an epic guitar-laced trance. Music is a beautiful thing, and Big Wreck has been making their brand of art for over two decades, and look forward to hearing what they come up with next! Every time we’ve seen them over the past couple of year, I’ve heard more and more blues influence in what they’re playing. Little bit more jamming, little bit more looseness, and a whole lot more soul. Ian Fletcher, you keep doing you, and we’ll keep standing in awe every time you do it.
The Vidos, an up and coming band out of Vancouver put on a quick 3 song set on a secondary stage in between the Headliners. This was the first time I’d heard of this trio, and I was glad we got to catch their set. The energy and personality oozed off the stage during their short set. These kids are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
The Headstones hit the stage like bats out of hell! Hugh Dillon channelled his best Alice Cooper-esque look as he and the band threw down some of the hardest rock-and-roll I’ve experienced in a while. Opening with a medley of older tunes, including a mash-up of Tweeter & the Monkey Man, and the song whose lyrics adorn Dave’s arms, When Something Stands for nothing. It always amazes me when a band can play songs that are brand new and 20 years old back to back and they all have that same characteristic vibe.
Mixing old favourites with new tunes from their latest album Little Army had the crowd begging for more. True to his style, Hugh wasted no time in getting up close and personal with his adoring fans. Diving into the crowd a number of times during the first three while Dave was still in the pit, he reported back after that he almost got hit in the head by the flying mic stand that has become a trade mark of their shows. Maybe you’ll get luckier next time Dave.
In the room that night, you could find rockers in their 60’s hand-banging with the new generation of rockers, screaming out the same lyrics which seem to melt away all generational gaps. This classic example of gritty, unapologetic rock and roll is what we love about the Headstones, and they’ve remained true to this core since day one which keeps us always clawing at them for more.