Morinville – The Morinville Community Cultural Centre played host to Nick Gilder and the Sweeney Todd group on Saturday night and if you were lucky, you got yourself a ticket to go. The popular 1970s Canadian glam rock band was the shiny leather headliner for the town’s annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival, one of thirteen tour dates they had scheduled in 2013. On a day filled with fun activities, including the SJB Parade, the Fire Department Combat Challenge, and the roller derby, Gilder and the Sweeneys were the perfect way to round off the day.
I arrived at the Cultural Centre shortly after another windy thunderstorm had passed over the town and was instantly reminded of why I enjoy attending events in the lofty building. It was warm and bright in the lobby, sleek and glossy in the venue. I took a seat in the back and waited excitedly to see my first live glam rock show. Sweeney Todd took the stage around 11 p.m. after the opening Whiskey Boyz had warmed up the crowd’s dancing shoes.
The group looked classic glam, particularly Gilder, whose charismatic stage presence was just as magnetic as the set. I was instantly reminded of Robert Smith, only happier. With genuine warmth and open arms, he invited the audience to come onto the dance floor and, as the set unfolded, that’s exactly what they did. One enthusiastic audience member revealed to Gilder that she had traveled all the way from Toronto to be at the show that night. He replied with a smile and said: “Thank you, thank you so much!” because that’s just the kind of guy he is.
However the spotlight cannot be trained on Gilder alone because the band as a whole was incredibly tight. It was quite obvious that they had been playing together for many years. Lead guitarist Joey Wowk and bassist Mark Kenney brought a hard rock element to the show with their high energy performances and Michael Russell on keyboards was never without his flashy smile.
The set they played was fantastic too, including both new material and the oldies that brought the crowd to their feet. The cheering audience enjoyed hits such as You Really Rock Me, Footsteps, and Hot Child in the City. But Frank Baker effectively stole the show for me when he embarked on a seven-minute drum solo that had me jumping to my feet. Because a rock show isn’t complete without a mind-blowing solo.
The Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd show was a whole lot of fun. They exceeded every expectation I had going into my first glam rock show and if you missed it, you missed out.
Above left: Lead guitarist Joey Wowk works the frets on a classic Sweeney Todd number.
Don’t it make you feel?
Nick Gilder was not the only rocker to hit town over the weekend. The Headpins were in Morinville Friday night with opening act Tupelo Honey. Headpins lead singer Darby Mills showed her pipes were still legendary. – Stephen Dafoe Photo