Review and Photos by Mike Bax
It was an east-meets-west celebration of Canadian music last night at Center In The Square, as Hey Rosetta! and Yukon Blonde performed an intimate show of music for about 600 fans as a part of the venue’s recently established On Stage series of shows. Centre In The Square boasts one of the largest physical stages in North America, designed to hold a German orchestra back when the building was originally being erected. The band is set up facing backwards and general admission tickets are sold to fill the leftover space on the stage, which can comfortably hold 600 patrons. A small set of bleacher-styled seats were available at the very back of the stage for patrons to sit on if they chose, and servers walked amongst the patrons serving drinks for the duration of the show.
Yukon Blonde took the stage at around 8pm, and performed for 45 minutes. Their unique and lively style of up-tempo singer/songwriter material is utterly contagious, and fans in the room were swaying their hands along with the band for a number of the songs performed. Vocalist/guitarist Jeff Innes apologized for swearing so much before the last song, admitting that the band was excitedly enjoying the evening immensely. Hailing from Kelowna, British Columbia, Yukon Blonde is something of a Canadian buzz band at the moment – their material being easy on the ears and entertaining to loyal fans through to attendees in the room who knew absolutely nothing about them.
Hey Rosetta! a 7-piece band from St. John’s, Newfoundland / Labrador took to the stage at 9:15. Adorned with some light bulbs arranged around the stage, the band performed fifteen songs covering all of their commercial releases over the past decade. Their wonderful mixture of east coast material, intermixed with elements of folk and indie rock made for an excellent evening of live material. The atmosphere in the room was somewhat subdued, but full of revelry. Hey Rosetta has built up a dedicated and formidable fan base over the past ten years, many of whom were in the venue this evening. From a sheer spectacle standpoint, the presentation of the band facing backwards on a well-lit stage with their moody lighting pulsating throughout their set made for a magical evening of music indeed.
Both Yukon Blonde and Hey Rosetta! are celebrating ten years of musicianship this year. The bands collaborated together this year on a non-album single called ‘Land You Love’ (a protest song about Canada’s 2015 federal election), which was performed together as the first song of Hey Rosetta’s encore.
Soft Offering (For the Oft Suffering)
Handshake the Gangster
Lions for Scottie
Carry Me Home
Land You Love (w Yukon BLonde)
Stand by Me