Saturday, July 24, 2010

Open Wide

Last night officially made my top 5 live performances of all time. I'd been waiting to see Wide Mouth Mason play live for around 15 years, and as a friend pointed out, they're an obvious influence on my style.  They played a free show at the Harbourfront center and while the crowd didn't go insane (it's hard with those stupid benches) my jaw was firmly rooted on the concrete surface below for an hour and a half.  What I expected was to hear a live rendition of some of the songs which defined my youth.... but I got so much more.

This set did two fantastic things; first it broke the barrier of my 5 best concerts of all time and second (which may have caused the first) it easily took the spot as the most tight live set I've ever seen.  These guys have been doing it for 17 years, and there may be something to be said for that whole 'practice' thing.  I knew Shaun Verreault was a monster on the guitar when I heard him play with Jordan Cook in Guitarmageddon.  What blew my mind was the ease with which we switched back and forth between so many different styles; rock, blues, jazz, peel-paint-off-the-walls (that's a new style).
I lie a little when I say that 'these guys have been doing doing it for 17 years' as they did have a new member last night.  Bassist Earl Pereira has chosen to part ways with the band, however, filling in for him was yet another of my idols; Mr. Gordie Johnson.  I knew Grady had worked with the trio before (on their third album, Stew) and I knew they had toured together before... but I never could have anticipated the joyful union I saw before me.  While Johnson is another God of the six-string, he seemed just as comfortable working his way around the bass.  He and Verreault had fantastic chemistry together and Johnson was able to fill Pereira's shoes with ease.

Somewhere in all of this, drummer Safwan Javed was of course keeping this trio tighter than a dill pickle jar, but who really cares about drummers, right? :-p

They worked through 90 minutes of material, blending old with new, WWM with Big Sugar with Kenny Wayne Sheppard with blues classics.  I found myself shaking my head in awe the entire time and was completely lost in the music.  According to my roommates, there was a girl who was hitting on me between songs, but I was barely giving her the time of day since I was so enthralled by the tunes.  Yet the moment which blew my mind the most was to hear that Mason was heading back into the studio soon, and Gordie wasn't just a pretty face on stage; he'd be joining them.

Yes... that was the sound of my brain going *pop*.

-Call your name, but you're never there