Last night was about as Canadian as it gets. If you’re from the east coast, anyway. It was a Great Big Sea gig.
SWMNBN, PC, the She-Aussie and I went to the tiny Borderline club off Charing Cross Road (yes, you huddled Canadian masses, I know what you’re thinking: the very same road mentioned in that great folk-rock singalong song “Home For a Rest” by Spirit of the West). The opening act was Halifax-based Jill Barber, a girl with a guitar, a sweet voice, and some pleasant songs. She sounded nice, but at least one upbeat song would have been nice.
Great Big Sea came on a bit early, much to the joy of the 250-person full house. What they did next was no surprise at all: they played every hit and then some. They charmed the crowd (a significant number of whom were from Canada, naturally) with their laid-back Newfie humour. They smiled and laughed and jumped about and led us all in singalongs.
The crowd loved “Run Runaway”, “Mari-Mac”, “Donkey Riding”, “Sea of No Cares” and “Helmethead”. My favourites were “Excursion Around the Bay”, “The Old Black Rum”, “The Night Pat Murphy Died”, “The River Driver” and “Scolding Wife” (heh).
They even played us a couple of brand new songs that they say they hope to record next month for their new album. I thought that these sounded pretty good, to be honest.
It was extremely hot in the bar, but most folks didn’t mind too much. It felt friendly and fun in there, and we all sang along when we could to show it. It was as Canadian as I’ve felt in a while.