Rad Music in Ontario's Cottage Country: The Glorious Sons, Kee to Bala, July 21st 2018
Updated: Feb 2, 2020
To spend time in Ontario's cottage country is an experience unto itself. The water lapping up gently on the shore, a cool breeze in the fresh air, tall Mother Pines towering over head- the calm washes right over you. Throw a historic music venue straight out of Dirty Dancing and a gritty rock n' roll band into the mix and well...how can you go wrong? On Saturday night, The Glorious Sons annual show at The Kee to Bala brought all of these ingredients together for one hell of a party. Selling out two back to back nights, TGS certainly brought the house down.
Before we dive in, let's talk about the opener, Brother Elsey. In beautiful contrast to the Sons' down n' dirty rock n' roll, Brother Elsey were mellow and their music filled the hall with longing, heartbreak and love. Playing pretty much their entire five-song EP, Brother Elsey, a band made up of three brothers and a drummer, enchanted the crowd with songs like "Matador" and "Drive". I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify...or wherever else you get your music.
Welcome to the Main Event
Of course not to be outdone, The Glorious Sons put on a rager. Wasting no time, The Sons came on stage rocking out to "Godless, Graceless and Young" before throwing themselves into "White Noise" which immediately had the crowd shaking the flimsy floor of the Kee. Slowing down the tempo but not the energy, "My Poor Heart" was played with more soul than you could find at any other Sons' show.
About halfway through the setlist, the crowd was treated with "I Want Ya" an unreleased track one can really only hear live or without justice on YouTube. Despite that, most of the crowd seemed to know the words- a pretty cool example of how far The Glorious Sons have come in the past year.
A true highlight of the evening however was "Gordie"-- a song the band wrote about Gord Downie himself years ago and one that always makes the crowd stumble back a little. Particularly moving in such a unique and iconic Canadian venue which once hosted the Hip, this number breathed new life into a show that was already full of it.
Closing the evening, The Glorious Sons played "Thank You For Saying Goodbye"- my personal favourite off their Young Beauties and Fools album. Lead singer Brett Emmons serenaded the crowd with this song which always seems to come off as raw and emotional no matter how many times I see it.
The night was not over yet though. The boys came back on stage for a four-song encore packed with some goodies. Coming on stage with "One Church Town" (another unreleased track everyone knows) followed by "Ruby", the contrast made the uptick of the second song all the more enticing. Next, the boys covered "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones---a band they JUST opened for in Marseilles, France! Closing the evening the way they have many times in the past, "Amigo" brought the evening to a gentle close.
For those wanting more info on the setlist, check out this playlist!
Peace, love & history.
Want to know more about The Kee to Bala? Read on!