By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Four local and regional rock bands are rehearsing to prepare for Rocktober, the heavy-hitting musical finale to this October’s Morinville Food and Jam Festival. The show, featuring the Paul Smith Band, Canyon Rose Outfit, Whiskey Boyz and Edgore, takes place Oct. 5 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. It is a joint venture between sponsor Champion Petfoods and the Morinville Festival Society.
“Morinville has great talent and our region has great talent,” said Festival Society Chair and concert organizer Paul Smith. “The idea was to make Morinville the regional hub of rock and roll. We’re going to provide a show that would rival anything you will see in the city right here in our own home town.”
Smith said the generous support of Champion Petfoods has allowed the Morinville Festival Society to put $10,000 towards stage production values of the four-band concert. “It is common when big names come through town to put $10,000 into the stage show,” he said. “We’re spending that on local bands. These bands never get the chance to perform at this level. They’re going to get to perform with full lights, full video, big screen, smoke – all the stuff you’d see in a big name show that these guys never get to do in local clubs.”
But Rocktober is more than big sound, lights, video and pyrotechnical effects; Smith is bringing in a string and brass section as well as professional backup singers. “We’re adding six musicians to the stage like you would see at the big name concerts,” he said. “That’s the difference. You’ll see them in the context of pro bands.”
Best regional show of the year
Smith is confident enough in the acts taking to the stage Oct. 5 that he is calling it the best regional music show the province will see in 2013. “It is the biggest stage show the cultural centre has ever seen,” he said, adding each of the acts has been chosen to provide a different sound and element to the show.
Edmonton-based Whiskey Boyz are a regular sight and sound in Morinville, having opened for major rock acts that have passed through Morinville as part of the annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival over the past few years. “They are one of the best Top 40 bands working today,” Smith said of Whiskey Boyz, adding they have become a favourite in the community. “They play all the songs you love and want to dance to.”
Whiskey Boyz will be followed by local metal band Edgore, an act Smith said made the short list of acts when he was putting the show together. “They bring huge energy to the show,” he said, adding the band will play a mixture of their own original material off their recently released EP and their own take on popular rock and pop songs. “They are all under 25 and they work hard. They pack places everywhere they play, and are a real stand up band.”
Another local favourite is the Canyon Rose Outfit; a band Smith said has opened for Street Heart and CCR over the past two years. “They are fast approaching being one of the next bands from Morinville to get on radio,” he said, adding he defines the band’s evolving sound as radio polished southern rock. “They are one of the tightest, well-established local bands, and certainly the one with the biggest local draw.”
Headlining the show is the festival chair’s own band, the Paul Smith Band, a band made up of the professional musicians who work by his side at Smith Music. The formation of the band was the result of requests from people in the community.
“For years I’ve been the man behind the scenes organizing festivals and concerts for other people to play,” Smith said, adding though he is well known in studio circles and from touring other parts of the province as a performing musician, that side of his talents are not as familiar in Morinville. “People have been asking me to play, and after the Smith Music concert this summer and seeing how well our Queen set was received, people asked us to perform live. So we found the venue we felt a Queen set would be appropriate at.”
The combined result is a combination of guitar riffs, falsetto voices and leather pants, the Morinville Festival Society is calling Rocktober.
Tickets for the licensed show are $20 per person and are available for sale at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, Morinville Community Library, Smith Music, and Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies. Doors open at 8 p.m. A pre-show will take place at 9 p.m., followed by the main concert from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.