Wednesday night was a “Big Night”, full of surprises at Café Campus. I thought I was going to see The Sam Roberts Band but was pleasantly mistaken. Only when the club went completely dark with an eerie green spotlight illuminating the back of the stage and the theme from “Ghost Busters” began to boom through the speakers did I realize that something was up. Instead of seeing just one frontman, I saw four. Ohhh.
Anyway Gang is a Canadian supergroup, (formed in 2018) consisting of Sam Roberts, Chris Murphy (from Sloan), Menno Versteeg (from Hollerado), and Dave Monks (from Tokyo Police Club).
Blending their unique personalities, styles and sounds, these seasoned vets are not only skilled musicians but energetic and super entertaining performers. With over 30 albums between them and decades of musical history and friendship, these boys really know how to rile up a crowd.
Completely free of pretence, (I think it’s a Canadian thing) Anyway Gang took turns on the mic, not just for lead vocals but to take playful jabs at each other. Teasing each other, the way brothers do, they managed to create an intimate and casual vibe that made me feel more like I was sitting in on a private jam session than at a club gig.
They opened and closed with their debut single “Big Night” which was released in September 2019. (months before the lockdown) As they were unable to tour for the past two years, they were visibly excited to be performing it in front of a live audience.
Followed by “Everybody Cries” which was not only sung with sweet sincerity but with with a vulnerability that draws you in and wins your trust. I had brought a friend with me that night who hadn’t been to a concert in a very long time and she had never even heard of the Anyway Gang but as soon the crowd began to clap while singing along “that’s all right, that’s all right, that’s all right ”, she was hooked
I particularly enjoyed “Eyes of Green” which not only showcased all of their great vocals but featured a perfect guitar solo. They acted like they were goofing around and they made it look so easy but these boys weren’t just playing.
When was the last time you went to a show where the band played the same song 3 times and each time they got even more into it? The final time, to all of our delight, Chris Murphy jumped off the stage and into the crowd.
Before ending their set, they performed a heartfelt yet rowdy version of “Call On Me” which had everyone joining in. Sounding like an edgier, Canadian version of the Traveling Wilburys, it made perfect sense why these musicians joined forces. They simply sound great together and they really have fun.
And judging by the happy crowd, they weren’t the only ones.
Supporting musician Wyatt C. Louis, Plains Cree folk singer-songwriter, based in Moh’kinstsís Treaty 7 (Calgary) did not prepare me for the shenanigans that were about to unfold.
There was a deep stillness about him that subdued the audience. His soft vocals and haunting lyrics gave off a groovy 70’s vibe that reminded me of The Eagles.
OUT of NOWHERE
WHAT’S LEFT OF MY LOVE
EYES OF GREEN
LOVE IS HERE
CALL ON ME
Share this :
Review & photos – Annette Aghazarian
May 25, 2022