Last year I saw a brand new band that left an indelible mark on me for life. Gregarious, charismatic, raw energy and passion not seen in many established bands. A year later, and I’m seeing the same band and wondering if the sudden shooting success has changed them, and how they’ll ever be able to top that first new experience.
A year ago, The Glorious Sons played Flashbacks in Kelowna, as the support act for rockers The Trews. Discovered in part by John-Angus who also co-produced their album, The Union, they return tonight as the main act! And its easy to see just why! With a few switch-overs from the previous act, the band is on stage promptly at 11:30 with no build up, no special lighting, and no pretence. People are here to rock and the band gets right to it with a slamming version of their current single, The Contender. (Love a band that doesn’t dangle the biggest hit like a carrot to the end of the set.)
Front man Brett Emmons is the most visible not only as the barefoot singer, but because of his wild blond locks which frame his faee, fall to his shoulders, and are whipped in the air more times than one can possibly think is healthy for someone’s neck! The man is one of the most open, unpretentious performers I’ve ever seen. Framed on one side by older brother Jay (also barefoot), and new band mate Chris on the other side, the front line of the band is loud, electric and all smiles as the crowd reacts loud and strong. This show is not for those out of shape!
As the set list progresses, song after song is sung by the audience; recognized as radio hits, or from having the album on repeat since last year’s concert (as a couple beside me had told me earlier). Mama, The Union, Amigo, Lover under Fire the list goes on – each successive song gets the crowd more fired up which in turn fires up the band. Even the slower songs were well received with Emmons performing two new songs nearly solo on guitar.. at one point asking the audience to take it down a notch and chill a little.. only to smile ear to ear and say, ‘awe.. come on, I was only joking! You guys are a-ma-zing!”
The entire set list is not just their album songs, but a community of experience. Emmons (the junior) leaves the stage a few times, gingerly testing out the crowd in front before throwing himself in wild abandon into the waiting hands and arms that carry him halfway into the crowd as he body surfs on his back still singing, bare feet and all. He is just as gingerly deposited back on stage with those up front making sure of solid footing before letting him go. At one point, an audience member is also body surfed, and Emmons reaches out to grab his hand and pull him in, on stage, and its local drummer Rod Anderson who is at the show with band mate Devon Coyote. The two hug like long lost brothers before Anderson launches himself face first into the crowd hoping for a soft landing.
Another slow song and the band is introduced amid cheers by the crowd; Tony on keyboards/guitar, Chris on bass, Chris (new) on guitar, Jay on guitar and Adam on drums. The set ends with Heavy and the place erupts… and then the band is gone. The crowd thins out quickly, which is odd! The band is back just as quickly for a 3 song encore including White Noise and bring the first two bands back on stage for a rousing rendition of The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down with the tiny stage packed with nearly 20 musicians! It aint over till the lights go on people!
So? Did they top last year’s experience? Hell yes! I don’t know how.. but somehow they did. Has success changed them? Yes! They’re even more determined to be good musicians, good writers/ good singers. The entire band puts their entire being into the performance each and every time ( their reputation proceeds them). No booze on stage until the finale, and Emmons (the singer) literally leaves himself open and used up by the end of the show.. the smile on his face a sign that he knows he connected with the audience on their level.
This is one of the only band’s I’ve ever done a paid meet and greet with (VIP experience). it was worth it. The band welcomed us to a 3 song informal acoustic session before the main event, which keyboard player/computer wiz Tony tape-recorded and which attendees of all VIP will get as a private digital download keepsake. Had a chance to talk to the band in relative calm before the ensuing storm, and learn more about their travels and aspirations. I recommend it to anyone! The Kelowns show was dicey, but it DID sell out, which puts it at 6 shows in a row (to date) sold out! This band has not even scratched the surface of what they can become and a year from now, they’ll be not only headlining but playing The Commodore and other 1000 seat venues! I’m sure of it.
Sorry no pics – too busy dancing my butt off! But here’s a shortie vid clip of the all band finale: