Growing up in small town Northern Ontario when a concert came to town it usually meant a cover band or a performance by a local band playing someone else’s songs. A rare exception to that rule was this one time when The Northern Pikes rolled into town, I figure I had to have been around 17 or 18 at the time and the show, to this day, was one of my favourite concerts growing up. Fast forward about 25 years to 2017 and the scene would repeat on a damp Saturday night in Renfrew, Ontario.

The Northern Pikes by Jeff Partrick

When we first heard about the show a month, or so, ago I have to admit I was intrigued but Renfrew being slightly over 90 minutes drive for me I had initially decided to sit this one out and have one of my Ottawa Valley based writers cover the show instead. Turns out that fate had other plans and my local writer came down with the flu and couldn’t make it so after a last minute scramble to find a backup photographer my son and I set off to Renfrew for what would be a night neither of us will forget for a very long time.

The Northern Pikes by Jeff Partrick

When we arrived we were met with a warm welcome by organizers who had been expecting us, we were quickly pointed upstairs to where we had the chance to meet with Don, Jay and Bryan aka The Northern Pikes. I’ve met a lot of artists over the years but there was something special about meeting the Northern Pikes, their music was a big part of my teenage years and helped develop my deep rooted love for music. It was especially cool that I was able to introduce them to my 9 year old son who is beginning his own journey of musical discovery, his eyes opened wide with amazement when I told him that I was close to his age when I first started listening to the Northern Pikes.

After the meet and greet we made our way down to the arena floor to get in position for the show. The band took to the stage and delighted us with a marathon 7 and a half minute rendition of “TeenLand”.

The Northern Pikes by Jeff Partrick

Over the next 2 and a half hours (give or take) The Northern Pikes took us through a musical journey 33 years in the making from “Teenland” and “Girl With A Problem” all the way to the grand finale of their monster hit from 1990 “She Ain’t Pretty” and it was every bit as amazing in 2017 as it was 25-30 years ago.

As we left the arena we passed by Don, Jay and Bryan who were meeting with fans and signing autographs all three stopped what they were doing for a quick chat thanking us for coming out and asking my son how he enjoyed the show. It made an incredible night even better for both of us.

The Northern Pikes by Jeff Partrick

On the trip home I asked my son what he thought of the show to which he responded, “it was awesome, you have to bring me to more rock shows. I love country but it’s too soft and I like to rock too!”

There’s still time to catch the Northern Pikes on their 33rd Anniversary Tour with two more dates in Ontario (Niagara Falls June 30 and Brantford, ON July 1) before they head west for a few dates in the mid-summer and fall.  Full details can be found at their website

I’m thrilled that, not only, I, but my son as well, was able to be part of this incredible Canadian group’s 33 year history and I look forward to being part of their future!

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