After locals Empire Lies and Z3 played to a moderately small crowd at Crocks, there was quite a wait for the headliners.
Background music played while people sipped their drinks and chatted.
Once they started, the Orillia, Ont., rock band Bleeker Ridge blasted through a set that reflected their full-length album, Small Town Dead. Sound wise, they were off to a semi-rough start (no fault of their own), until the light bulb went off for their travelling sound man and all was peachy.
Surprisingly, they played their singles – Small Town Dead and You Would Have Liked It – close together in the set. A bit unorthodox considering some bands not only leave their hits until the end of the show, but also space them out.
The singles packed a punch nonetheless, just as they do across local and satellite radio.
It took the crowd a while to finally get up from their seats, and surround the stage, but fans were singing along and dancing.
Rock 94 Contest winners had taken part in a special acoustic performance pre-show, but now it was time for the rest of the crowd to hear the boys plug in.
While Bleeker Ridge may be doing something we've all heard before musically, vocally they stand apart. The vocal styling of twenty-one year old front man Taylor Perkins blew the roof of the place.
Point blank, the kid can wail.
He can also control his voice at high decibels. He's a charismatic singer, and utilizes his voice as an instrument rather than a gimmick. It's effortless, and he connects with the crowd. He never missed a beat, or a note.
While new to the Canadian music scene, it would appear that some members of Bleeker Ridge could step up their showmanship and appearance (certain members oozed small town style).
The hair thrashing seemed a bit much at times, and their additional hired gun (bassist) basically faded into the background—what a hired gun is basically hired to do I suppose. But other than that, you can't really fault this band for too much more.
Their set was tight and they seemed hungry to play.
After the show the band stuck around to pose for pictures with fans and sign merchandise, a smart choice for any band on the rise with momentum.
After a few Canadian tour dates, Bleeker Ridge joined heavy hitters Papa Roach and Buckcherry on tour. The present company is an example of the direction that their management and booking agents are trying to take this band, and it seems to be working.
They said themselves it may be awhile before they play to a crowd in Thunder Bay again.
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