After having sat with Tim Hicks on a few occasions over the last 2 years its been pretty amazing watching his popularity on the Canadian country music scene flourish. I can recall sitting down with Tim 2 years ago at Boots and Hearts and talking about his contentment in just being a part of the country music scene in Ontario. Last night while standing amid a throng of eager, sweat-drenched fans who were belting out word-for-word the lyrics to nearly every song in his set I was overwhelmed by how quickly things have changed.
Tim is no longer a supporting contributor to the Canadian country music scene. He can now confidently be considered the beat and pulse of the same community he previously counted himself grateful just to be a part of. I have been to a pile of shows over the last couple years (just ask my wife who keeps a tally on a chalkboard in our kitchen) and not many have impressed me the way that Tim & His Brothers (From Another Mother) rock out on a nightly basis. Last night Tim was playing show #10 of his 14 date Get A Little Crazy Tour to a very excited SOLD OUT crowd in Guelph Ontario. It was the first and likely only one of the tour stops that I would be taking in (see tally above) so after a couple days off I was hoping there wasn’t any rust on the boys.
Things kicked off with a wicked set from Newfoundland’s own Jason Benoit. I had a chance to chat with Jason just as the tour had kicked off and he was excited to have a chance to perform to the audiences on this tour, and tonight you could tell he was pumped to be in town. Kicking his set off with a crowd pleasing Crazy Kinda Love, J.B. had the folks bouncing in the audience from the strike of the first chord.
Jason cranked a solid six songs out and the crowd must have sung along to 5 of the 6, which as a support act must feel utterly amazing, especially when its to 1,200 country-crazed folk. My personal favourite that stuck out was Gone Long Gone. Jason just seemed to have the crowd at its peak during this one and the vibe in the venue was great the entire set. Can’t wait to see Jason again on Tuesday in Hamilton.
Next up, Canada’s latest addition to the Rockabilly Country world Cold Creek County I also had a chance to chat with these boys on the day they released their debut album so it was nice to see a good solid 45 min set. From the moment they hit the stage it was full throttle. Watching how Travis hammered away on his guitar during Till The Wheels Come Off and Beer Weather it totally didn’t feel like I was at a country concert (and if I wasn’t standing in a sea of plaid-clad, beer drinkers I might have questioned where I was). But boy did these guys rock. From the bumpin’ sound of Trucker Hat to the final vocal of Good Thing We’re In The Country the boys seemed to really know how to get the ball rolling.
My highlight of this set was the current single Till The Wheels Come Off, (not “Fall Off” as per Set list). Certain parts of this one make it a real Anthem type song and in a live setting it even comes off better than the record. Well done to boys in Cold Creek and looking forward to your spot on the Boots and Hearts stage, because if these boys aren’t playing that show someone better wake up at Republic Live. You bring the type of show that audiences LOVE! (And I only use shouty capitals on very rare occasions).
Finally, the man of the hour., Mr. TIM HICKS (shouty capitals mandatory). Not really sure I can describe how I felt witnessing Tim literally bring the house down in Guelph. Canadian Country has a leading man and he may not wear a cowboy hat, but he has one hell of a pair of shit kickers. I was used to the opening song being Thunder for so long that it was cool to hear Tim crank out his single from this past summer, Young Alive and In Love, as the opening song. It gives a different vibe to the show right out of the gates. It’s also a form of “easing” into his set, because he goes on to nail you right away with the next several songs. Hell folks, I think the entire 17 song set was a sing along. Talking with a few of the patrons I honestly can’t say I know a more devoted group of fans, with some making sure they hit EVERY show on the Ontario Leg of the Get A Little Crazy tour, in addition to a Montreal-resident who came to Ontario just to see the two shows this weekend.
— Sound Check Ent. (@SoundCheckBlg) November 21, 2015
So as I sit here typing I am still trying to think of the one moment that really stood out as a favourite and I am going to have to go with Underdog. Watching the boys crank the current single out on the Live stage makes me want to ask Tim and company to cut a live version in favour of 5:01+. With a crowd that included Canadian music icon Tom Cochrane and uber-talented up and comer Jessica Mitchell there is no denying that Tim has hit it. Welcome to the big league, boy. When Tim was asked to open for Dierks last year on the Riser tour I think that set him apart from the pack in Canada and he hasn’t looked back. Thanks for bringing the Crazy to Guelph.
Still wanna catch the tour? Check this out. www.GetALittleCrazyTour.com I believe there are limited seats left for Stratford, Niagara and Oshawa. But you better hurry.
Corey Kelly / @CoreyKelly76
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