Big Wreck returned to the Corona Theatre in Montreal with the release of their sixth studio album. Joined by openers Texas King, the veteran Canadian-American rock band unloaded on a full house crowd. The night included cuts from the new album, fan favourites, long jams, covers, and about a million guitar changes.
Texas King stepped up first and delivered an extremely energetic set. The effort was led by charismatic vocalist/guitarist Jordan Macdonald. Loaded with smokey vocal feels and enough moves to keep your eyes glued to the stage, the feel-good pop-rock radio tunes came pouring off the stage. Their debut LP Circles is a nice slice of the diced spice that fuelled the performance. Credit must be given to an opening act that tries to command the room, but there were a few instances during the set that just seemed a little forced. Call and responses work great when people know your songs, if you have to explain it, maybe the magic isn’t there. Regardless, the band powered through under the bright lights and stood on each other’s backs and did all the classic horsing around you’d expect from a pop-rock band trying to get the crowd going.
Big Wreck came on to a defrosted crowd ready to rock. They opened with “Voices,” a track from their latest release …but for the sun. Huge guitar rumble crumbled out of the wall of amps behind the band. Sounding heavier than I remember them ever being, the initial blow was met with Ian Thornley’s piercing range. The rasp was dirty and he sent some notes straight to the ceiling. The new tracks off the album run smoothly along with some of their biggest hits. These dudes have not lost their stride. They followed up the opening run of new material with “That Song,” a nostalgia ridden banger.
A stellar start only got better with a beautiful medley of The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century” and the band’s original hit “Wolves.” It was great to see a band keep their set fresh and tasteful even after many runs around the block. Shortly after they followed up with a slide-guitar snippet of “Amazing Grace” that led directly into one of their most popular songs; “Albatross.” The midsection of this show was truly fantastic. Smooth flow, big moments cushioned with soft, intimate ones, and some familiar tunes to transport the crowd into the vast regions of their mind and memories.
On the cusp of delivering an epic set, the band took it a step further and rode the wave into some extended solo sections. While the initial buzz of the solos took a solid grasp, the hype faded off as it became apparent that the solos were just too long. It wasn’t like a jam that had everyone in the band fully engaged. Instead, everyone laid back and gave room for the soloist to just wank off for a few minutes. After the second time around it got a bit stale. Bassist Dave McMillan did keep it short and sweet with a killer solo that reeked of Cliff Burton fuzz and finger fucking magic. Huge props for that.
Aside from the sloppy and careless solo junction, the set was stacked. You can’t crucify a band for putting their neck out there ripping solos all kinds in the hopes that it connects. Ending the set with “Blown Wide Open,” the crowd was left feeling pleasure. After a lengthy call for an encore, the band obliged and came on to tidy up with a few more songs that wrapped the night tight.
Written by Ben Cornel
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy