The night my wife and I attended The Dead South concert at the Bronson Centre in Ottawa, last week, Friday, November 16, was the same day that Pink Floyd was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame by Pete Townshend back in 2005.
And I thought a great way to spend an evening was to come and listen to some a good, old-fashioned hillbilly, bluegrass music. No, it wasn’t Pink Floyd, but I thought about all the small venues that they played at while they were making their mark on the world. And don’t forget, Floyd original founder Syd Barrett had a connection to blues, if not bluegrass.
The band had extreme energy with little movement on stage. That was a good thing because there were times when I thought the headstock of a cello or banjo would nick either lead vocalist Nate Hilts or guitarist Scott Pringle in the head.
The occasional wisp of smoke weaving its ways through the stage and into the crowd is always a great touch. The lighting show was good.
They did have moments on stage, in what seemed like small delays, where they looked like they were discussing what song to play next. I thought this a bit odd. Perhaps they were a bit distracted? After all, there were a few boorish, ill-mannered fans in the crowd tossing a can or two of beer. From my vantage point, it wasn’t at the band. It was enough to make anyone stop and take stock. Security did come in and deal with the situation, which was the only blemish on an otherwise good show.
On the banjo, Colton “Crawdaddy” Crawford played like his fingers were on fire. It was mesmerizing to watch. Sizzling, in fact.
Pringle was born with a mandolin in his hands, I think. I was waiting for the smoke to appear from the strings. It was such a good, fast and sweaty display of the passion for his craft.
Hilts and cellist Danny Kenyon, what can I say?
Hilts singing could bring a whole community to a stop just so they could swing by and immerse themselves in the energy he exuded belting out lyric after lyric. He also played the mandolin, but with a little more of a conservative approach than did Pringle.
And Kenyon? He played that cello at times like it was a Les Paul guitar. I have never seen anyone put so much passion and concentration into an instrument to pound out melodic sounds like he did. I didn’t know a cello had moves like that! I got dizzy just watching him spin it around. Or did he, and I was just tricked into believing that he did?He was a magician with that thing. He hypnotized me with it. Trickster!
As for the venue, it had an old style theatre feel to it. When we got there, the place was rocking from the sounds of the Hootin’ Hollers, nearing the end of their gig. We did find a couple of seats near the back of the place, and they weren’t bad. We could see everything. I like the smaller venues myself. The acoustics were great. And like most emerging bands, it is venues like this that launch careers to the next level. Perhaps TD Place is next?
The concert was packed. The venue was ideal. A lot of fans were standing, but most sat. The Beau’s beer in a can, and the white wine my wife had, were reasonably priced. $6 each.
Parking was a bit of a challenge, though. I recommend that if you are going to an event expected to be sold out at the Bronson Centre, that public transportation be in your plans. It’s a lot easier. And we had snow the day before so it made for finding a spot even more difficult. The nature of things, I guess.
I thought I’d post a couple of pics from the event.