AUGUST 15th 2015

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan


When you walk into a venue and a band is already on stage rocking out, and you are so drawn to them that you’re dragging your entourage to witness the music firsthand before you miss another note…that’s the makings of a legendary band. The Wild! (exclamation point!) put on just such a performance on Saturday night, August 15, at the Hard Rock Casino. If a rock/metal band and rockabilly had a red-headed step-child, The Wild! would be it (except it would be widely loved and adored). The God Damn Wild Boys hail from Kelowna, BC, and represented Canadian rock to the final note of their song set. Fronted by Dylan Villain (vocals, guitar), set up by bassist/vocalist Boozus and guitarist Pistol Pete, and drop-kicked out of the park by drummer Reece Lightning, the quartet reminds me that rock is not dead and the rock fusions out there are not all crap.  As the name suggests, The Wild! are precisely that: spitting, swearing, leather wearing dudes that love what they do and give it their all from start to finish. Whether it be “Party ‘Til You’re Dead”, “Slow Burn”, or “Road House” (how classic is that?!?) you get nothing less than 150% pure grade octane out of these boys.

As for the main act, also Canadian boys from the good ole lands of Ontario, any rookie fan or seasoned cat will tell you that a live Three Days Grace show is where it’s at. We don’t need to belabour that Adam Gonthier was the lead singer since the band’s inception. We don’t need to reiterate that he left the band in 2013 and was replaced the same year by vocalist Matt Walst from My Darkest Days, brother to bassist Brad Walst.  And we no longer need to question the appropriateness of asking: “Adam who?” The show speaks for itself. The instrumental lineup of Barry Stalk on lead guitar, Brad on bass, and Neil Sanderson on drums/supporting vocals push Matt to fill the big shoes a singer for such a widely popular band would have to fill.  And it was perfection.

From the opening single “I Am Machine” off the latest studio album (the first with Matt at the micro-helm), to old school 3DG faves like “Just Like You”, “Home”, “Break” and “Chalk Outline” to the as-of-yet unreleased “So What?” the boys didn’t miss a beat. Matt did get off to a bit of a rocky start but found his vocal footing shortly into the set.  Between flying jump kicks off the speakers and screaming his lungs out to the roar of the crowd, Matt owned the stage and really got the crowd into the stuff they didn’t even know they missed.  Special mention does need to be made of Barry’s wild fingering throughout the show. As a guitar-playing wannabe I was mesmerized.  The way he tickled those guitar strings made me think he was the first guy to make Elmo laugh.

During the set I had let my mind wander, which can be a dangerous thing.  And I got to thinking that Neil’s drumming was a little lackluster, maybe even a little constrained.  Was that the music of 3DG?  Just a little too easy or boring for him?  I had to remove my foot from my proverbial brain mouth, however, when he got to showcasing while the rest of the band was taking a breather. If you could give a flying f*** about 3DG you still would have no choice but to admire Neil’s stick handling and bass drum pumping. The way that man played it made me want to bow down at the alter of Sanderson: and kindly ask forgiveness for my earlier musings.

Although it would seem that the 4th studio album has Three Days Grace simply spinning their same old wheels, the live show will still inspire you to buy a t or CD regardless. It’s what the people want and Matt, Brad, Neil and Barry spoon feed it to the crying crowds we are. Great show, great crowd, great venue, great supporting act, great Canadian hard rock. It doesn’t get any better than that on a Saturday night. Mosh on folks.