Not even the threat of inclement weather could dampen the spirits of attendees at the 5th annual Come Rock N Roar festival staged Friday August 15th and Saturday August 16th at the scenic Four Seasons Waterfront Park in Spanish, Northern Ontario.
With Helix and Trooper commanding the headline spots on Friday and Randy Bachman (with The Sadies) and Honeymoon Suite taking charge of Saturday’s prime lineup, the music was all about hit songs and familiarity with an appreciative audience, numbering about 3,000 locals, eating up the action.
Kitchener’s Helix, fresh off releasing a new record, “Bastard Of The Blues” proved to be the perfect opener Friday, bringing the crowd alive with solid rockers like `Heavy Metal Love’, `The Kids Are All Shakin’, `Wild In The Streets’ plus the radio friendly `Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’. The night’s highlight was undoubtedly when lead vocalist Brian Vollmer dedicated their monster hit `Rock You’ to their biggest fan, wheelchair bound Sault Ste Marie resident, Jackie Vandercliff, and then had a video camera turned on the audience throughout the song.
To check out Brian Vollmer’s live video from the stage of Rock n Roar – click here.
A perfect table setter for Vancouver’s Trooper who raised the audience participation even higher with a set list full of golden oldies such as “3 Dressed Up As A 9’, `We’re Here For A Good Time’, `Two For The Show’, `The Boys In the Bright White Sports Car’, before encoring with a rousing version of `Raise A Little Hell’ which brought members of Helix back on stage for the finale.
Saturday’s lineup was thrown into a bit of confusion when Randy Bachman switched positions with Honeymoon Suite and chose to open, bringing along country rockers The Sadies as his support band. The lineup may have been unfamiliar to fans expecting to see Fred Turner yet Bachman carried the show with a familiar song lineup of Guess Who and BTO hits including “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”, “Hey You”, “Roll On Down The Highway” and the ubiquitous “Takin Care Of Business”. Strangely, Bachman chose to play all his hits during his regular set and failed to return for an encore.
This disappointment was alleviated by a stunning set by Toronto’s Honeymoon Suite who took charge of the stage, ramping through their arsenal of hits which included “New Girl Now”, “Wave Babies”, “Burning In Love”, Stay In The Light” and “What Does It Take” with Johnnie Dee in great voice and guitarist Derry Grehan firing up the audience.
Promoter Ron Stolar was happy with the performances although even he was surprised with Bachman’s choice of a back-up band, not learning of the switch until three days before the festival. “The numbers were down a bit because of the threat of rain,” he reported. “But the rain held off in the evenings and it only affected some of the local bands during the afternoon.”
Speaking of local bands, Hanmer Ontario’s Icebreakers, Spanish residents Railroad Steele, Espanola’s Nye-Nye’s ,Battle Of The Band band contest winners Broke Hustlers and the runners-up; Fifth Column, The Suicide Kings, Anxiety, and Of Tall Tales, all took advantage of performing on the main stage to turn in solid performances.
Photos by Dee Lippingwell.
Photos by Paul Kazulak
Randy Bachman photo by Dee Lippingwell