If you’ve already read Part 1, you know I have been a Big Sugar fan for a long time. You also will know that I had never been to see them live in concert, but for my 40th birthday, my boys got me tickets to see the band live at Maxwell’s in Waterloo.
My friend Annik and I arrived shortly after the doors opened, and we were fairly early. We realized pretty quickly that the there were open spots at the front left of the stage and decided to settle in for the night.
The Standstills opened, and while they were not a band I was familiar with, I was very impressed. The two-person band with a female drummer obviously had me drawing parallels to the White Stripes.
Next up was Daylight For Deadeyes, which is another 2 person band that I was unfamiliar with. The drummer is Big Sugar’s drummer, and also Daylight’s lead singer. Guitar is played by his brother, who in addition to wearing a lot of denim during their set, doubled as a Big Sugar roadie and tended to Gordie’s needs during the show.
The highlight of their performance for me was the cover of Girl Watcher.
Finally, Big Sugar came on stage. There were microphones set up on either side of the stage. As I said before, Annik and I settled in right in front of the one on the left, figuring it would be a good spot. Little did we know, it was one of the best spots. We were RIGHT in front of Gordie Johnson.
Pretty awesome for my first Big Sugar concert, and 40th Birthday!
Big Sugar played an incredible show. It was a very loud show that made me grateful I had picked up earplugs ahead of time. Being right in front of Gordie really made me appreciate how incredibly talented he is. During one song, he pulled the guitar across his leg for the slidinging sound, then again across his chest, and once more across his microphone stand. His guitar playing was truly mesmerizing.
They played many well known songs including The Scene, All Hell For A Basement and Turn The Lights On. I was a little disappointed Nicotina, which is my personal favorite was not on the set list though.
I think the very best moment of the show was O Canada, and watching Gordie’s incredible and passionate performance during their incredible rock version of the national anthem. It ended with him flipping his guitar to reveal the Canadian Flag and hoisting it above his head. (I really had never seen this before as I had never seen them live.)
All in all, it was a pretty incredible show. Gordie isn’t quite the same badass he used to be, but I suppose age, marriage and having your wife in the band, playing the the tambourine while watching over you, will do that to a guy. Or maybe it is just the short hair.