By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: Just listening to the heavy sound check and tune up a couple of days ago at the Rose Theatre in Brampton, part of the Greater Toronto Area, the audience knew they were in for a treat. There is something about a sound check from veteran musicians and ones from a lesser band. It’s just an inner feeling that music lovers can relate to. Of course the Rose Theatre’s state of the art sound system has something to do with it too!
Canadian rock band April Wine, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, started by giving the audience some prime music from their amazing varied discography spanning 45 years including ‘Rock and Roll is a Vicious Game’, ‘Say Hello’ and ‘Sign of The Gypsy Queen’ even as they made small talk and exchanged light banter with the crowd. That is the great thing about a small venue like The Rose. Everyone gets cozy with the performing artists and they reciprocate in kind. A group of women, who were obviously enjoying the music to the hilt, told Myles Goodwyn, the only original band member, how they grooved on him in their high school days and he joked about how they had changed since then.
Even when Myles stomp box malfunctioned in the middle of a song, I think it was ‘Just between You and Me’, and the technician had to come out and spend a few moments fixing the situation, everyone sat around patiently, without making a fuss. This is the Brampton ethos for you- easy going. Once fixed, the band just picked up from where the song was interrupted as if nothing happened. How cool is that?
As is customary with rock bands each one got his chance to do his thing on his instrument. Brain Greenway, another old time band member who joined in 1977, gave it to the crowd with his guitar and harmonica. Richard Lanthier really amazed the crowd with his incredible baby looks and total lengthy freak out on his bass guitar. He took the audience to another level.
But finally what really socked it to the crowd was when Myles rammed his guitar to lead into their international hit ‘I like to Rock’. Every rock lover in the world including India knows this song but doesn’t really know that it is April Wine’s brainchild.
The original song contains teaser riffs from the Beatles ’Day Tripper’ and the Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction’, but that night last week, they played not only an extended version of the song itself but included lengthier versions of both ‘Day Tripper’ and ‘Satisfaction’ actually going right into the songs and singing a lot of the lyrics. It was a real super tribute to both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. What with Roy Nichol smashing away on his drums and actually putting away his drumsticks and pounding the skins and cymbals with his bare hands, you can bet they blew the roof off The Rose Theatre.
Then followed ‘Roller’, another classic song, that left the audience on a high note.
They say all good things must come to an end and so it was with this high octane concert. Yeah, April Wine is still as its name suggests, young and vital, and totally able to give you an awesome high!