NEXT STAGE #7 April 22 2005

I met Johnny Eden at the Backwater Lounge a few weeks back when I went to see his solo show. My first impressions were of a serious songwriter capable of writing in a variety of styles and tempos a blend of jazzy funk, rock, country and blues-folk.
His repertoire was eclectic to be sure but not as eclectic as was his guitar, the soundboard plastered with stickers that at a distance looked like leopard spots.
He has been in the north since early this year playing shows around town and was hoping to play a few more gigs before he left the Yukon.
A group from YTG making merry highlighted the evening, dancing and enjoying the music well into the night…
This past Friday was perfect for the Groupes Emergent(s) Bands to perform. The night was warm and everyone involved was ready to shake off the last remaining vestiges of winter to participate in a what I hope will be a regular venue for these and other new Yukon performers to showcase their talent.
Heather Loewen was first up on the stage. I talked about Loewen last issue when I saw her perform solo at The Backwater Lounge. This night at The Boiler Room she was backed up by a band that turned her music around and gave it an early 80’s new wave feel, fresh and groovy, yes I said groovy.
The mirror ball was in full spin tonight.
Chris George’s trio played a short set to an expanding crowd of what at first view looked to be longhaired men and shorthaired women. George’s bluesy guitar filled the room as friends greeted each other with laughter and much kissing of cheeks.
As Kate Weekes and friends got up to play the Boiler Room was reaching capacity. Seating became a premium and the conversations bilingual.
Her arrangements with this band really filled out the songs that I had previously heard her play solo. She really is a joy to listen to and I think she deserves support. She has a real knack as a songwriter and if she continues to write music of this calibre the rest of Canada will notice her.
When Soir de Semaine took the stage the room erupted with dance. These local musicians take a traditional French-Canadian sound of acoustic guitar and accordion and give it a hard twist. The unique appeal of their sound is a bottom end that is driven by a funk-rock bass and very heavy drumming. This combination of tone combined with great tunes and an exuberant stage presence makes me want to see these guys in a larger venue with better sound and higher volume.
The term “tough act to follow “ would be appropriate as Johnny Eden had the unenviable task of following Soir de Semaine. He proved himself in spades as he stepped up to the mike and launched into some extreme riffing that kept his and the crowd’s mutual mojo working till late into the evening.
Bill Polonsky