By Keith Sharp
Despite the fact that one of the biggest concert events in history was taking place at the same time just down the road in Kingston Ontario (Tragically Hip’s final tour appearance) and there was even a rival festival being staged in Peterborough, Platinum Blonde continue to prove they are still relevent in the new millenium with an energetic set that was well received by some 8,000 locals who braved threatening elements to take in the Blondes’ concert.
Back to being a three piece with drummer Daniel Todd, powering the arrangements, a stoic guitarist Sergio Galli adopting his best John Entwhistle pose, stage left and vocalist/bassist Mark Holmes handed the responsibility to create the band’s visual energy, the Blondes proved they still have plenty of energy in the tank to compete with more youthful rivals.
Visually, the band is in good shape and their material still stands up to scrutiny with most of the set list generated from their first two albums; `Standing in The Dark” and “Alien Shores”
Yet to their credit, the Blondes also played a couple of tracks off their 2012 `Now & Never’ release; “Beautiful” and “Valentine” and their overall impression was not of a golden oldies band going through the motions but of a relevent outfit still capable of connecting with a young audience.
Yes the long-term female army who triggered that initial wave of Blonde Mania back in the mid-eighties are still present but so to are younger fans who respond to key hits like “Crying Over You”, “Standing In The Dark” and “Not In Love”, song lyrics that generate a positive connection with this demographic.
The band’s biggest challenge here, in the context of their live performance, is to change up the tempo of their set when most of the band’s hits are all performed at the same speed. A tempo that only changes when they switch to tracks like “Somebody Somewhere” and “Sad Sad Rain” which are even slower arrangements. It was only when they performed”Contact” that the Blondes’ actually burst out with any kind of unbridled spontaneity. Even their one cover, a salute to their Police Tribute roots with “Message In A Bottle” was again a mid-tempo arrangement.
The injection of a couple of more up-tempo covers (they used to do a great reggae-infused version of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout”) would do wonders to lift their overall energy factor. But still…the fans loved The Blondes’ set, there was an impressive post-concert lineup for autographs and selfies. And the band left the stage giving an impression that there is more positive music to come from this trio.
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