Open Stage show­cases orig­i­nal mu­sic

The Southwest Booster - - ENTERTAINMENT - > By Denise Wall

Our city has a se­cret, both in its pool of tal­ent and in the Lyric The­atre. The high­light of the May 14th Open Stage evening was the num­ber of per­form­ers who had orig­i­nal songs.

Res­i­dent mu­si­cian, Dave Lang al­ways starts the evening with some of his light-hearted orig­i­nals. His mu­sic has fun lyrics with an edge that leave you think­ing, “Can he say that on stage?” This is not your main­stream air­play. Lang is a sea­soned en­ter­tainer with a great sense of hu­mour.

Neville Ni­col is a very tal­ented song­writer. He per­formed two orig­i­nals, “Ru­ral Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Blues” and “Paris Café”, with a sound a lit­tle rem­i­nis­cent of Hal Ketchum. Ni­col is multi-tal­ented on the har­mon­ica and rhythm gui­tar and as a sto­ry­teller.

Jeff Potts per­formed an orig­i­nal he had just writ­ten called “Baby Blue”-his best per­for­mance yet. The song has a mi­nor sound that re­ally car­ries you away.

Boyd Lines was a new­comer to the Open Stage. Ac­com­pa­nied by Lang, his true coun­try vo­cals on “Streets Of Bal­ti­more” were easy to lis­ten to.

Jackie Clifton’s strong voice boomed through­out the the­atre in “An­gel From Mont­gomery”. Her vo­cals are ef­fort­less and were right on the mark in her cover of “Re­al­ize”. Her orig­i­nal, “Barely Hang­ing On” cap­ti­vated the crowd.

Stu Don­ald­son is a very strong rhythm gui­tar player and al­ways has a great tune se­lec­tion. His cover of Guns & Roses, “I Used To Love Her” was very unique. He al­ways puts an orig­i­nal twist on the songs he per­forms.

Me­lanie Hankewich from Regina played three orig­i­nals with deep, sexy tones. Her abil­ity to make one gui­tar sound like the beat, bass & gui­tar all in one is in­cred­i­ble.

Stephen Guppy is “1985”. His mu­sic is dif­fer­ent than the cur­rent dance mu­sic genre. His strong beats make you want to move, with techno riffs that make the hairs on your arms stand at at­ten­tion. 1985’s ac­co­lades in­clude a guest DJ spot on Bos­ton MIT ra­dio.

Boy Lis­ten al­ways pro­vides comedic di­a­logue. He bridges re-mix snip­pets of songs we all rec­og­nize, blur­ring two songs to­gether at the same time, throw­ing some good al­ter­na­tive rock melodies in with his techno sound.

A spon­ta­neous per­for­mance by Don­ald­son and Cody Hurl, a for­mer Swift Cur­rent res­i­dent vis­it­ing from Van­cou­ver Is­land, had them pulling to­gether, “Knockin’ On Heav­ens Door” just min­utes be­fore go­ing on stage. Hurl is a very strong gui­tar player and works well with Don­ald­son.

Time Warp who blew every­one’s socks off are three in­cred­i­bly strong play­ers with Dana Rem­pel on key­board/bass/vo­cals, Eric Hayes on drums and Ethan An­der­son on gui­tar/vo­cals. Their White Stripes cover dis­played strong vo­cals from Rem­pel. Not many singers could at­tempt Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” but An­der­son has a very sur­pris­ing vo­cal range.

Abdy Nganzo’s tunes are sung in Swahili. His beau­ti­ful orig­i­nal about love could be un­der­stood in any lan­guage. He got the funk out joined by Guppy, Lang and Dar­nell Ste­wart on a fan­tas­tic hiphop song.

It was a proper good-bye for Lions & Cas­tles as they gave their last per­for­mance to­gether with even higher en­ergy than usual. Their fully rounded sound builds you up then pulls you back with cym­bal crashes that blow the au­di­ence away. Their songs are full of en­ergy and emo­tion.

Noc­tur­nal Sun per­formed the last spot of the night. They are tech­ni­cally dead on. You may have a sore neck in the morn­ing from bang­ing your head to their fast and heavy sound!

Denise Wall re­view by Scott Schroeder: Won­der­ful vo­cals that cut through the air on “An­gel” by Sarah McLach­lan. Tough to pull off but Wall did it beau­ti­fully. Pick­ing an artist to cover such as Ala­nis Moris­sette, Wall had her work cut out for her on “Head Over Feet”. With good tempo, and the de­tail to hit the high notes, it was a plea­sure to hear.

Li­ons & Cas­tles give a pas­sion­ate farewell per­for­mance at the May 14 Open Stage at the Lyric Theatre. (Photo by Barb Parch­man)

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