Wednesday was a good day; it was sunny, I finally got out of the house in what felt like weeks, AND I was going to go to a Big Wreck concert. (Everything’s coming up Stacy!) When I got to the Corona Theater that night, I didn’t know what to expect. Not knowing much about the opening band, the only thing I was sure of was that in an hour or so I was going to be swimming in nostalgia for that song.. you know what song I’m talking about.. THAT SONG! (I’m funny I swear.)
I also didn’t know how much I was going to fall in love with the opening band, Ascot Royals. I cannot express how amazing this band was. They were just a ball of energy the entire set, which was sadly a little too short for my liking, but I was completely satisfied with their performance. They got the crowd moving from the get go, making them sing along and wave their hands in the air like just didn’t care. Singer Jimmy Chauveau has a strong presence, and it didn’t take any time for him to make use of the stage, going from one end to the other and interacting with the crowd as if it were second nature to him.
I know when hearing about new bands, most people (myself included) like to make comparisons to other bands. It gives them a better gist of what to expect from a band, especially if you’re only reading about them from a review like this one and you weren’t there in person. However I can honestly say that the entire time I watched Ascot Royals, I was trying to wrack my brain to find a comparison to another band and I couldn’t. These guys took rock, a genre that is so vast, and managed to make it their own. It was only towards the end of their set, when guitarist Tal Vaisman’s backing vocals mixed with Jimmy’s lead vocals, that I had an epiphany and realized they reminded me of Taking Back Sunday (circa Tidal Wave), with a very upbeat, energetic, and hopeful sound, but with slight screaming and raspy vocals all mixed together. These cats are talented as fuck! For all you Montrealers, they will be back in April at Le Petit Campus, and I beg of you to go and check them out. You will not regret it, and you will have one hell of a great show to talk about after that.
While waiting for Big Wreck to take the stage, I had no clue what I was to expect from the show, but I can tell you I wasn’t expecting to be thoroughly blown away like I was. The guitar solos, the freaking BASS solos, and not to mention Ian Thornley’s INCREDIBLE voice that hits you right where it hurts; EVERYTHING about their set was amazing, and NOTHING about it was a “big wreck,” as our Lizard Queen (Bucketlist’s head honcho Liz) nicely put it.
Dave McMillan fucking shredded the bass like there was no tomorrow (which I honestly had no idea was even possible). Ian Thornley’s voice echoed across the theater, and his guitar playing thoroughly blew my mind. Seriously. I came to the conclusion that Ian is one of the most underrated guitar players of all time, and I’m not just saying this because in the middle of one of his many guitar solos, he stopped to play a bit of “The Force Theme,” which melted my heart into a complete pile of mush. He truly is a talented dude, as some say Canadian’s own Chris Cornell!
If someone were to ask me to name one song that could define the meaning of nostalgia, I would automatically say “That Song.” No question about it. Every time I hear it, I automatically find myself in 1997 again. So when they started playing it, surprisingly early on in their set, I couldn’t have been happier. Throughout the night, they played new songs off of their recent album Grace Street, like “It Comes As No Surprise” and “One Good Piece of Me.” Old favourites found their way in their set as well, including “Wolves,” one of their favourites to play live. They finished a solid set with “Blown Wide Open” and “The Oaf” as an encore.
All and all it was both an exciting and relaxing night at Corona Theater. I was blown away by both bands, especially Big Wreck, who I am still in awe of. The crowd left feeling happy and nostalgic, and I personally think everyone should feel that way at the end of every show. If you can manage to grab a ticket to a Big Wreck show, please do yourself a favour and go see these talented men do their thing. You won’t regret it.
Written by Stacy Basque
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson