By Jason Portras
Saturday November 5th saw a Canadian award-winning musical act visit the Performing Arts Centre. The auditorium was completely packed with a jovial crowd. An announcement was even made during the opening act to get people to slide to the middle of their rows so as to make room for the late-comers. It was a great night for two opulent performances.
Megan Bonnell started the show, playing songs off of her latest release Magnolia. Her voice is angelic and her lyrics are as enchanting as the music they float upon. If I were asked to describe her to people who’d never seen her or heard her before, I think I’d say if you took Jewel and Sarah McLachlan and melted them into one person, you’d get a very close rendition to what you might experience at one of Megan’s performances. At one point in her set she even joked she might try bodysurfing the crowd. That would’ve been quite the sight to see!
The headliners were The Great Lake Swimmers, who hail from Ontario, a very gifted indie-rock / folk band, fronted by singer-songwriter Tony Dekker on lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Erik Arnesen playing electric guitar and banjo; and Bret Higgins on the upright bass, mandolin, and keyboards. I found their sound to be very rustic in a way that is quite warm and tender, yet unpolished, in a good way. Their brand of music is both refreshing and kind of transcendental.
Unusual for their shows, they even took requests from the audience because of the intimate nature of the venue. “Well, as long as the request isn’t for Skynyrd,” remarked Tony, because apparently that was a request from another show in another town. By contrast, here in Revelstoke, a young child shouted out “yes!” to Tony asking if anyone had a request, which got a good laugh because it never quite materialized into an actual request.
Near the end of the night, Megan returned to the stage and played along side The Great Lake Swimmers. She blended beautifully into their musical fold. I’m not sure how many times they’ve played together in the past, but they came together as one cohesive unit with Tony and Megan’s vocals playing off each other just right, complementing each other perfectly.
The night ended after one encore and Tony teasing that he almost made it through the night without saying “I’m really stoked to be here!” I think that I can speak for all of my fellow audience members in saying we were stoked to have Tony and his band take us on multiple journeys, like walking along Lake Erie, musing about how it would be if the sand and the waves could talk with each other.
More pictures from the show can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/revelstokelife/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1781463698782141