On Tuesday night I was requested to come down to the famed Commodore Ballroom and checkout/photograph a great band, Big Wreck. I am not usually into last minute situations, but I thought it would be a great night out. I quickly rounded up my equipment, grabbed my keys and ran out the door.
Once I was in the car and out the door, I noticed there was a lack of music in the car, so I turned up the radio. Wouldn’t you know it, Albatross by Big Wreck was playing somewhere near the half way mark. Ian Thornley’s vocals where ringing through the car. A grin rolled across my face, this seemed like a good way to start my adventure.
After I parked, I walked up to the venue. It was about 10 minutes before the Torontonian/Bostonian boys were to take the stage. The front of the Commodore was vacant, and ,for a moment, it brought me down. But that didn’t last long, because as I walked up those stairs I could hear the crowd, and they were rowdy.
Within a few minutes of being in the door, the lights were swallowed by the darkness and the band members filtered to the stage. I took my place in the photo pit and prepared myself as best I could. The band then delved into their first song, ‘Head Together’, which is a little ironic as it is also the first song off of the Albatross album. It was like a bit of magic was in the air, the group sounded so rich. Once again that smile rolled across my face.
Listening to Ian work his vocals, was a pure pleasure. His sound is once best reserve for live listening. He has that 90s light rasp and rawness that is commonly heard with Chris Cornell. In fact at times it is hard to tell the two apart in terms of vocals alone. The rest of the group was fairly static, except the drummer. I wasn’t able to catch his name, but man is he a character. The way he slaps those drums, and moves his arms, had me seeing some sort of octopus behind the kit. He is so fluid that at times it seemed like his arms were bending in unnatural ways. It was a strange beauty to behold.
Through out the night, if you wanted to know how well the band was doing, all you had to do was look around. The entire venue was electric with enthusiasm. It was a vast sea of grins, wide eyes and devoted cheering. Most of the times the reunion of a band can fall so much shorter than their earlier achievements. This was definitely not the case. It seemed like they had just picked up where they left off.
In the past I have seen Thornley, the Ian Thornley solo project. It always felt like something was missing. It turns out he was simply missing the rest of his band.
The set list was short and sweet, a bevy of old and new, take a peek:
ALl By That
Blown Wide Open
ALl Is Fair
Caught My Eye
I would have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how rich and synced the band was. I mean I had my hopes up, but it still shocked my how good they actually were. I just want to say thank you to those in the band, you rocked the house and we all truly appreciate it. Kudos boys.
Photos © Jamie Taylor