The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada on September 18, 1994 · 39
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The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada · 39

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Location:
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 18, 1994
Page:
39
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tM..U!W.!l ANOTHER LIFE FORM Lr mm Former Montrealer William deVry Simard I N S I D E What's On F3 TV Soaps F5 eXpress F6 stars in season debut ofSeaQuest DSV tonight at 9 on WPTZ-5. I 35 m B6 : Moist savors sweet taste of success Moist with Zolty Cracker at the Spectrum last night; The Snitches, Good Cookies and Local Rabbits at Club Soda Friday. MARK LEPAGE GAZETTE ROCK CRITIC J?, fcrt 11 5 l I i il It mi 1.J i-s. -rM x fJtr ' II ymls f: V ii w . v. m V1 " v. X X ) :f?i A LOOK AT some v : .v of Canada's STARS-IN-WAITING Jason Roos and his band, Black Pearl, mix country with jazz and rock. ON THE COUNTRY SCENE This is Moist's moment. Critical faculties are asked to stand aside and smoke a cigarette for a minute as the full magic of a band in ascendancy is absorbed. The Vancouver quintet has more buzz than a cheap cellular phone, and all of it rang in a packed Spectrum. The bar was wall-to-wall with the kind of hype and excitement that come with a hot all-ages ticket and a club full of kids too young to drink but young enough to drink it all in. ' . They sat on the Spectrum carpet, they crowded the lip of the stage with anticipation and hormones and baseball caps. Their buzz had enough room to include big cheers for opening act Zolty Cracker, Vancouver-based but with an N.D.G.-West Hill connection in singer Gilles Zolty. There was the sight - and, yes, sound - of every pro- moter in town shmoozing knowingly over the band's potential. Potential? More than 125,000 albums, a cross-Canada frisson and the promise of future Yankee success mean the moment is now. Dave Usher knew it as he took the stage. The Moist singer skinnily and slouchingly advanced to the mike, his bandmates in position, and moaned into the opening verses before ripping the mike stand into his hand and leaping into the air as the first of many guitar chords crashed into the crowd. Usher was an instant dynamo, his long hair, dramatic, almost vixen-like features and serious demeanor marking him as the kid who was picked on in high school and still bears a grudge. And for all the jocular between-song banter, this is a serious band. "We want to thank you all for coming tonight. This is a song called Kill Me." So, integrity and drama announce themselves with capital letters. The music is brawny, big, riffy and jammy, there is no humor and the keyboard makes for a certain austerity beneath the grandeur. Pearl Jam without the songs? Maybe. Then the band is into Silver, the title track and subject of a video so angst-ridden as to be emotionally herniated, but the crowd, hysterical and humid since Chord One, finds another level. Usher is soaking the crowd with water, the girls are living up to the band's name and everyone.is singing along. By the time the Zoltys had joined the band for a cover of Miss You, critical faculties remained wait-and-see (they need more songs, more hooks), but the gambler in me said this band is a sure thing. Moist has moments to come. - - The previous night, Club Soda was jammed with back-to-schoolers enjoying a lesson in the viability of the live local scene. Hype is a rare commodity among the long-suffering denizens of the Montreal rock'n'roll demi-monde, but Soda was filled with a different buzz, the kind of no-b.s. electricity generated by 300 young and young-ish fans. The number was significant, and not just because it made members of the Snitches, Good Cookies and Local Rabbits that much happier to sweat up their fret-boards. For all the talk of a moribund music scene and an apathetic fan base, this was an object lesson in how canny promoting and solid music will draw at the box office. If you build it properly, they will come. But maybe a little too fashionably late; missed Local Rabbits, but many in the crowd were muttering about the band's energy. Good Cookies picked up the baton with an inimitable shrug and kept the momentum running. The band still redefines "casual" in those between-song moments, the six members milling around onstage like roadies when not called to play in a given number. Once into the song, the Cookies are as tensile, tight and tough an act as we have. Guitars spiralled and entwined as the band spun through 45 minutes of white lightning rock'n'roll idiosyncrasy, leaving the crowd wanting more as the an-themic tumult of Swedish Boats shook the rafters. The Cookies and Snitches are a mutual-admiration society, and when Cookies guitarist Steve Sinclair said, "They're my favorite band," he was speaking for most in the crowd. im i ifnini , t,.iwij i ,nnn-,MM-iiiiiiM.ir n i . - f- i n n n iwi n runmnr-mnw mm iimm ountry music is white hot. In fact, some say it s elbowing aside rock n roll as the music of choice for the mass audience. Bourbon G a u t i e r There's no denying country music has entered the mainstream with a vengeance. No longer is it limited to twangy hurtin' You have to be an optimist to throw your cowboy hat into the musical ring in Montreal. There is no country radio station and two of the largest country-music clubs have called it quits. The last time a French-Canadian made a mark on the national country scene was when Lucille Starr was at the top of the charts and Lester Pearson was prime minister. Meet Bourbon Gautier - optimist extraordinaire. "I don't expect it to be easy," says Gautier, 39. "But reaction is good. It takes a while .for Louisa Manuel Louisa Manuel, a 30-year-old singer from Dartmouth, N.S., has been working tirelessly to push along her burgeoning career, leaving little time for putting up her cowboy boots. Manuel fronts her own five-piece band, Louisiana, one of the busiest on the local country circuit. She also hosts a popular talent show at a Halifax country night club. Manuel's sound leans heavily on contemporary country rock: radio-ready and TNN friendly. Four years touring the regional honky-tonk circuit has helped Manuel polish her stage show, and a 1992 CD release took her voice to national airwaves. Country radio picked up the title track, I Don't Think I Love You, penned by Barry Brown and produced by Randall Prescott. A video aired on MuchMusic, TNN and was featured on CBC's Country Beat in early September. SANDY MACDONALD , HALIFAX DAILY NEWS tunes appealing mainly to cowboys, ploughboys and rednecks. Instead, the line between country and other popular music forms has blurred. New country artists are borrowing more and more from pop, rock and folk idioms. Country radio stations are near the top of the ratings in major cities across Canada. Country megastars like Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks have huge and rabid followings. And a made-in-Canada country music station goes on the air next January, joining the American-based Nashville Network. Canadian country artists have reaped the advantages of this boom. Charlie Major, George Fox, Michelle Wright, Jim Witter, Prairie Oyster, the Rankin Family and the new all-star group Quartette continue to gain popularity. But what about the up-and-comers? Who -and where - are the stars-in-waiting? Here are some to watch for from coast to coast. 1 f anybody, whether you're from Montreal or B.C. I think if they hear the music, that's what will break the ice." There are signs Gautier is making headway. His second English-language album, Camel-back Road, was released in early summer and has had national air play for the single Calling the Shots. And he spent the summer playing the country festival circuit, including an Ottawa gig 7 Bourbon Gautier His music breaks the ice in July that saw him share the limelight with Brooks and Dunn, THIS WEEK'S Jason Roos One minute Jason Roos and his band, Black Pearl, are breaking hearts and jerking tears all over the place with some lovely little country ditty and then, suddenly, a guitar lurches into some electric jazz or rock that would raise Jimi Hendrix, loudly applauding, from his grave. Country music has been expanding its boundaries for the past few years. And, in the Ottawa area, no group is expanding those boundaries more successfully than Jason Roos and Black Pearl. Roos, 22, is a product of the small town of Long Lake on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Last year, he won a major country talent competition at West Quebec's Gatineau Clog. With that came a contract to record a single, which he did this year with Black Pearl, the band that coalesced around Roos last January. The single is Hell is for Heroes, a sexy ballad for dancing close with your sweetie at the end of the night. A more uptempo single culled from the band's own material is due for release this fall and an album-length CD early next year. Other band members are Louis Schryer, a four-time Canadian fiddle champion, Rob Mcleod (drums) and Yves Laroche (keyboards). PAUL GESSELL. OTTAWA CITIZEN NTERTAINMEMT Sammy Kershaw and Charlie Major. Gautier was born in Noranda and picked, up his English when he moved to Sudbury, Ont., at age 14. He started listening to country music hanging out at the sawmills where his dad worked, but it took 20 years before Gautier pursued his country dreams. In between, he worked as a drummer, playing with everyone from the Platters to jazz pianist Oliver Jones. Gautier isn't daunted by the fact that he's a francophone in an overwhelmingly anglophone milieu: "If I'm singing in Calgary and I'm singing songs that people can relate to, they won't care if my name is Smith or Gautier." BRENDAN KELLY. THE GAZETTE Gayle AckroyrJ is heating up the country scene in Toronto. TODAY: Open house at Place des Arts. Eleven free ..concerts between 11 a.m. and 4pjn. Passes will be . ? distributed before each performance on a first- . come, first-served basis. For information call . 790- 1787. TOMORROW: L'Opera de. Montreal's production of ; Massenet's Werther, Place des Arts, Salle Wilfrid rh.felletier. 8 p.m. Tickets cost' $78.50, $67.25; b $37.25 and $21.50. For information call 842-2112. : TUESDAY: Bruce Cockburn at the Spectrum. Tick- , ets cost $25. For information call 861-5851. -- WEDNESDAY: Best of the Fringe opens at the Rial-to Theatre, 5723 Park Ave. Highlights from last ; - June's alternative theatre festival. 7 p.m. Tickets' . range in price from $5 to $8.50. For information call 790-1245 or 272-3899. . " THURSDAY: Skater Elvis Stojko at the Forum. 8- :. p.m. Tickets cost $37.50, $27.50 and $19.50. For information call 790-1245. FRIDAY: Superstar soprano Kathleen Battle with " the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Salle Wilfrid Pelletier, Place des Arts. Tickets to the benefit con- cert and dinner dance cost $400. For the concert alone, $60, $35 and $15. For Information call 842- i . 2112. ?; " -AlanHustak T h e Ci ty Slickers, The City Slickers already have one of the trappings of fame: their music is being bootlegged. The Kingston quartet - Jim Sherwood, Larry Severin, Greg Law and Roger Law - found out recently that copies of their song I'm Going To The Bingo are being sold on bus tours to a bingo emporium in Cornwall. They even videotaped the culprits unknowingly selling a tape to band members themselves. I'm Going to The Bingo has been sold - with the band's approval - to 1,100 other bingo fanatics. Otherwise, an independently produced tape they made has garnered some radio play, especially in Prince Edward Island, where the song G'Day! Workin' Are Ya became a hit. ' GREG BURLIUK. KINGSTON WHIG-STANDARD The City Slickers from Kingston, Ont. From left to right: Jim Sherwood, Larry Severin, Greg Law and Roger Law. y d 1 PLEASE SEE COUNTRY, PAGE F2

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