Open Stage showcases original music
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)