New Years Eve… What to do, what to do? The initial plan was for Karen and I was to ring in the new year in Niagara Falls, outdoors with Burton Cummings, The Carpet Frogs and The Sheepdogs. Then we saw the forecast..rain and high winds, not to pleasant a way to spend an evening and with a fortune in Camera equipment we had to find something else to do.
Killer Dwarfs at Rockpile? Damn, sold out. Sorry, Russ.
About 20 mins later the phone rings, “Hey! Want to come out to Barrie on NYE and watch our set? Oh, Jason McCoy is MC’ing the gig”. That’s a long drive but after some thought and planning, (and the little fact that we missed The Road Hammers twice due to hospitalizations) it was “The Plan” for the evening.
After an interesting drive north from Hamilton (Whatever happened to the visible fluorescent lane markers?) we arrived at Mavricks in Barrie. Neither of us had been inside Mavricks before so it was a treat to see a venue of this size keeping live music alive (hint to other cities). Al Quigley has done a wonderful job reviving the place and John Derlis at Impact Live keeps the venue rocking with talent.
After hanging out with the guys in Johnson’s Creek, Jason arrives to chat. It was quite surprising that he remembered us. After getting things squared away it was showtime. This is where the fun starts…
A few words from McCoy he introduces Johnson’s Creek. This giant wall of sound hits me square in the chest and the seated crowd of 400 or so is up and dancing their asses off. We’re only 1 minute into the Hell Raisin’ Good Time! No time for idle chit-chat, straight into Shoot Me Straight. From there the extremely well received and radio favourite I like it Dirty sent the people into a tizzy. These guys are good. Glenn Code (guitars and vocals) and Michael Lanteigne (guitars and backing vocals) pull no punches. They are in your face and constantly engaging the audience like seasoned pro’s on the big stage. Bringing up the bottom end and having a great time, bass playing Mike Crombez could hold his own on any stage. Behind the kit Rick Carreiro is the always smiling timekeeper. Classy, all of them.
By the time they finished their set with The Georgia Satellites classic Keep Your Hands To Yourself the crowd was in full party mode… and this is where things change.
A short set change, a few more words from Mr. McCoy and Kansas Stone is on. I don’t have too much to say about the band, I was somewhat let down. I was expecting them to come out with fierce energy after J.C. high energy set. They were.. OK. Granted the crowd, having imbibed for the last hour and a half was oblivious to what we were seeing (We weren’t drinking). I think they had the wrong number when they phoned in their set.
The highlight of the Kansas Stone set was when Jason McCoy joined them for a two 2 song jam at the crack of midnight. That finally had the crowd getting really loud.
Johnson’s Creek Setlist: NYE-Mavricks-Dec-31-2018
Overall it was a pretty damned fine night of entertainment. Personally I would have had J.C. headline. They were on fire and I expect they are headed for bigger and better things in the future. If you have a chance, don’t miss these guys.