Tue, Feb 12, 2013.
Bearly's House Of Blues is one of the top blues clubs in the country, and certainly one of the Maritime's true hot spots. Catch a Sunday afternoon jam some time, it has the tavern spirit of the blues heyday in the region, back when Dutchie and Minglewood and Sam Moon ruled the roads. The connection between The 24th Street Wailers and the club goes way back, when drummer and singer Lindsay Beaver was cutting her teeth in Halifax, and it was her haunt. Since then, she's teamed up with the Wailers in Toronto, and the group has become one of the rising bands in the country.
For their third album, the members wanted to capture the raw excitement of their live show, get some of the magic moments that only happen on stage, when it transcends the normal show. After deliberating, it was decided Bearly's would provide the right atmosphere and audience. Well, here's the proof. Take a listen to the Amos Milburn classic House Party. Beaver swings it all the way through, sounding in a pure party mood, stopping the band to let the audience sing for a bit. Guitarist Emily Burgess does an amazing solo, and Jonathan Wong sizzles on sax. It's one of those performances that takes off, connects with the bar crowd, is just that much better than the usual.
Elsewhere the group goes through an hour-long set of originals and jump blues takes on classics from Elmore James, Stevie Ray, and the ubiquitous Got My Mojo Working. That was a Dutch Mason favourite, and I think they do it proud. The instrumental Love Triangle, by Burgess, is a classy crowd-pleaser, and I have to think pretty soon she'll be getting votes for best guitar player awards.
I've heard blues bands in bars my whole live here in the Maritimes (well, since, like 16 or so), and I know when one kicks in and gives you a great show rather than a normal one. You got that right here.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).