Canadian bands bring rock storm to Spectra
By David Willberg
The concert was hyped as a "rock storm," and it certainly lived up to the billing.
Canadian hard rock bands Big Wreck and Theory of a Deadman rolled into Spectra Place in Estevan on December 9, and delivered one of the biggest rock concerts in the city's history. Nearly 2,000 spectators cheered and screamed, and sang along with their favourite songs for each band.
The two bands are in the midst of a cross-country, co-headlining tour that will end just before Christmas in Vancouver. They each had a 75-minute set.
Big Wreck took to the stage first. Lead singer Ian Thornley was hampered by the lingering effects of an illness that he said has been dogging him for a few days, but his vocals still roared through Spectra Place during such songs as "Blown Wide Open," which was one of the band's hits in the late 1990s.
"Estevan, for a man who's under the weather, you help out a lot," said Thornley. "It's only 22 below outside. Last night it was 40 below out."
Thornley encouraged the audience to help the band out by singing along with their favourite Big Wreck songs.
"I've done a lot of press for this show, so I'm kind of pumped," said Thornley. "It's been really great since we've been here. If you know it, sing it."
The band also played songs such as "That Song" and "Under the Lighthouse" from early in their career, and "Albatross" and "Wolves" from their most recent album. "Albatross" was their first-ever No. 1 hit.
They concluded their set with their first hit song, "The Oaf (My Luck is Wasted)." Drummer Brad Park was able to showcase his skills with a drum solo late in the song.
Big Wreck enjoyed success in both Canada and the U.S. in the late 1990s. They parted ways about a decade ago, but reunited in 2010 and released "Albatross" earlier this year.
After a 30-minute intermission that gave time for crews to change the stage backdrop from one band to the other, Theory of a Deadman took to the stage, and wasted no time in getting the crowd into a frenzy by playing their most recently-released single, "Gentleman."
Lead singer Tyler Connolly also set the tone early by trying to determine who was louder: the male or the female audience members. After encouraging each gender to cheer, he reminded the men in the crowd that the women always win that contest. His statement generated a lot of applause from the female audience members.
Prior to playing "All or Nothing," Connolly said that the song was for all the beautiful women in attendance.
Connolly also spoke to the audience about the band's albums, the changes that they have observed in the music industry and the impact of technology. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have altered the music industry since they released their first single, "Nothing Could Come Between Us," in 2002.
"Music has changed so much due to technology and the internet," said Connolly. "Just about everything I want to do is on my little cell phone or iPhone right here."
They receive a lot requests to play songs at concerts through their social media sites, Connolly said. Then they played one of their most requested tunes, "Santa Monica."
Theory of a Deadman played several other hit songs, including "It's Never Enough," "Out of my Head," "I hate my Life" and their first No. 1 hit, "Lowlife."
Prior to playing their final song, the No. 1 hit "Bad Girlfriend," Connolly said they enjoyed performing in Estevan, and noted that Theory of a Deadman would be releasing another album in 2013.
The Big Wreck/Theory of a Deadman concert was the last to happen at Spectra Place this year. Other concerts were pop group Hedley in February, country group Paul Brandt in March, Canadian classic rock singer Burton Cummings in June and pop/punk band Simple Plan in August.
The next special event at Spectra Place will be a visit from the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters on Sunday, January 6. The event will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are still available.