Casino Rama Entertainment Centre is routinely the place to see bands of all designs come in and rock the state of the art yet intimate space. Canadian rock icons Our Lady Peace and Matthew Good brought their “2018 Tour Across Canada” in for a hit-filled look a both artist’s extensive catalogues which have been wowing fans for over 25 years.
Opening the show, Matt Good and his three-piece band hit the stage and wasted no time digging into his latest album with “Something Like A Storm.” Good’s vocal style alternates between slow, drawn-out pleading, and outright snarling fury, but always grabs you and keeps you firmly listening. Four out of the eleven-song setlist were new tracks, with the rest coming from his days as Matthew Good Band and his solo career after 2002. Dressed in a camo army jacket, he looked the part of the warrior against injustices that he is. His latest notable cause is his OK hoodie campaign that he started with proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Crowd favourites included “Load Me Up”, “Apparitions” and “Strange Days”.
After a short changeover, Our Lady Peace took the stage also opening their set with something new. “Hiding Place For Hearts” was part of the nine-song album the band released in February 2018, and one of four brand new songs included in the set this night. Frontman and founder, Raine Maida had plenty of hits to choose from in the band’s nine studio albums. Many being anthems of a generation that called the 90’s their decade. This writer is one of those people, and OLP was a huge part of those years, with song after song peppering the radiowaves and CD players of the day. The band has been through a few personnel changes over the years with bassist Duncan Coutts being the longest serving member after Maida since 1995. Guitarist Steve Mazur has been along since 2002 and drummer Jason Pierce is the newest member coming on board in 2014.
“Superman’s Dead” and “Innocent” got the crowd on their feet and kept them there with Maida letting them know the concert will be as much about them as the band for it to be a success. “Drop Me in the Water” is the latest single from the new album and keeps the feel of OLP alive quite well being firmly planted in many rock radio rotations. Maida and the band took centre stage for an acoustic slant on “In Repair” and “Somewhere Out There”. Stripped down, a good song is still a good song and those were perfect choices for that part of the show. “Naveed” saw Mazur playing with his guitar, Ebow and Maida breaking out the megaphone for the signature sounds we all know and love. Coutts worked double duty on the keyboards here and there, most notably on the dissonant piano sound intro of “Clumsy”.
Maida has been working a trip into the crowd at these shows, with different methods used based on the venue configuration. During “4am” he jumped off the front of the stage and made his way down the aisle and up into the stands for a verse at the centre of a row of seats amongst the surprised but excited fans. After a short break, the band returned and Maida told a story of how back in the late 80’s he attended a Toronto Music Awards show and how important the performance that night from The Tragically Hip was to his musical life and career at the time. “Ballad of a Poet” from Somethingness is clearly about Hip frontman Gord Downie. Maida commented about having had his soul shook that night and he wasn’t the only one. Downie and The Hip resonated right across Canada, and over the decades weaved themselves into the fabric of Canada’s soul.
Maida brought out Matthew Good and the band for a spirited jam session version of Good’s hit “Time Bomb”. Ending the set with “Starseed” Mazur played the sitar styled guitar solo intro as Coutts came in on keyboards. Maida thanked the crowd for reaching into their pockets and coming to the show. He mentioned that very few are from here, so most had to travel to see the show here and he appreciated it. All these artists who are travelling around playing their lives for us are a valuable part of life. As long as they feel the need to get their music out to us live, we will be there to join them.
Matthew Good’s Setlist:
01. Something Like a Storm
02. Alert Status Red
03. Men at the Door
04. Strange Days (Matthew Good Band song)
06. Born Losers
07. A Boy and His Machine Gun (Matthew Good Band song)
08. Load Me Up (Matthew Good Band song)
09. Apparitions (Matthew Good Band song)
11. Bullets in a Briefcase
Our Lady Peace’s Setlist:
01. Hiding Place for Hearts
03. Superman’s Dead
05. Drop Me in the Water
06. Is Anybody Home? / Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)
07. In Repair (Acoustic)
08. Somewhere Out There (Acoustic)
10. Nice To Meet You
13. Ballad of a Poet
14. Hello Time Bomb (Matthew Good Band cover) (with Matthew Good)