Alt-rockers Big Wreck came to shake the Commodore Ballroom a couple weeks ago and rock it they did! A crowd with some age, clearly thrilled to be there, Big Wreck was all smiles throughout the entire performance.

A bold move by the band by playing arguably their most famous song, “That Song,” 3rd. I had assumed that with making such a risky choice the crowd might start to thin out and sombre. I could not have been more wrong. Big Wreck has amassed, from the outside, what looks like a cult following of fans who know every lyric to songs both new and old. When lead singer Ian Thornley expressed what it’s like to play the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver by saying “[…] it’s like coming home, but I don’t live here – we always come to this room and it’s fantastic,” the overwhelming sense of pride that filled the Commodore was palpable.

I want to say erase everything you thought you knew about Big Wreck, whether it be good or bad or indifferent. They are truly wonderful live. Thornley performs with similar wails to Steven Tyler. The vocal transitions are just something else. The drumming is seemingly low-key but awesome nonetheless. Where they really shone was on instrumental-centric tracks – particularly guitar-centric. Seriously, wow! I was blown away by bassist Dave McMillan who destroyed a solo, with accompaniment by wicked drums. It all felt vaguely reminiscent of Led Zeppelin 70’s era hard rock, but somehow being a modern cross between Boston and Aerosmith. This is not to say that Big Wreck doesn’t get soulful, because they certainly do, especially on tunes like “You Don’t Even Know.”

I was blown away by Big Wreck. I love a group that is open with the crowd about what songs are their favourites to play live, problems they might be having with equipment, and joy of touring all while rocking so hard. Big Wreck encompasses all of that and so much more.


Danica Bansie is a music supervisor by day, writer and live music photographer by night, and arts & culture obsessed all the moments in between. You can find her with headphones on in Vancouver, Canada.