By Keith Sharp
Timmins’ Stars and Thunder Festival Day Four: The real party was ignited Tuesday night when Montreal’s Simple Plan played to a much younger audience that had attended the festival’s first three days. Taking advantage of a re-aligning of the VIP section which allowed for both standing and seating options, the majority of the estimated 12,000 fans were there to dance and sing and Simple Plan did not disappoint.
Pulling a set list from all five of their previous releases lead vocalist Pierre Bouvier, lead guitarist Jeff Stinco, rhythm guitarist Sebastien Lefebvre, bassist David Desrosiers and drummer Chuck Comeau are past masters at working a crowd. Right from the get-go, Simple Plan had the audience in the palms of their hands with popular songs like “Jet Lag” and “Jump”, got everyone singing on “Welcome to My Life”, and threw out beach balls as they sang “Summer Paradise.
They even went old school punk when Bouvier took over the sticks from Comeau allowing the drummer to stage dive into the audience (with a little help from about a dozen security guards) and Bouvier, himself made a long trek down the runway to the soundboard where he sang “Crazy” to fans at the back of the crowd.
Bouvier proved an affable communicator at one point joking that real Canadians know what it’s like to suffer temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit, “And we all know that sucks!” he cracked. Completing their set with “Just A Kid” from their debut `No Pads No Helmets…Just Balls’ release, Simple Plan returned for a four-song encore which concluded with “This Song Saved My Life”, and their big hit off that debut release, “Perfect”.
With thousands of fans waving their illuminated cell phones (a lot safer than Bic lighters!), Simple Plan found a perfect song to round out a perfect performance.
Earlier in the evening, Timmins native, Valerie Anne Poxleitner, known to her fans as ‘Lights’ returned to the stage to debut her new album release `Skin And Earth’ which is also the name of her new comic book. With a flaming mane of scarlett red hair to match the character in her comic book, ‘Lights’ took delight in executing the first life performance of her new single “Giants” in Timmins, where nine years ago, she also debuted her very first single “Drive My Soul” which she also performed Tuesday night.
Drawing from her four studio releases, “Lights’ performed key tracks like “Toes”, “Same Sea”, “Last Thing On My Mind”, “Speeding” and “Running With The Boys” and even paid tribute “to that other female Timmins singer”, Shania Twain with a cover of “Looks Like We Made It”.
Recognizing that Tuesday’s lineup would appeal to a younger age group, concert promoters hired DJ Goliath to start the day with a set of Electric Dance Music, during which occurred the festival’s first serious rain shower. Yet fortunately, that had abated during a brief performance by Montreal’s Bayla who previewed her forthcoming six-track EP debut with a selection of promising pop songs including “Echo”, “Light It Up” and “Runaway Hurtin”.
Bayla explained backstage that as a child, she suffered a vocal chord health issue which prevented her from speaking yet she discovered she could address this problem by singing which in turn became therapeutic for her speaking ailment.
Unfortunately, inclement weather conditions prevented the international fireworks display from being performed for the second night in a row but organizers will be hoping for more favourable conditions tonight for Team China’s display.
Vancouver’s Hedley is set to headline tonight’s talent lineup supported by Brampton Ontario’s Alyssa Reid and three local artist/groups; Static Sound, The Superlative and Jonathan Rosa.
Phone-tography courtesy of Keith Sharp.