It’s no secret that the Brock University community houses a diverse and fantastic selection of musical talent, from bedroom guitarists to professional recording and performing artists. It was inevitable, then, that a group would emerge aiming to bring those talents together, and give them a space to perform that’s connected to the campus. The new GoLive organization aims to provide exactly that, having provided open mic nights and informal jam sessions in the past. On September 26, they took that to the next level by hosting a concert at Warehouse, headlined by the official GoLive Band.
Amanda Lyn Parker, a singer/songwriter from the Niagara Region, opened the evening with a setlist of entirely original songs. Her performance is captivating from the first note, and only gets better from there. There’s a sincerity and depth to the way she navigates the struggles of young life, but she doesn’t sound like artists who tread similar ground. Her musical arrangements complement the somber mood when they must, but her guitar playing is full of energy and spirit. Likewise, her vocals retain the sincerity of her lyrics, but push them into the stratosphere through sheer power; what could be a collection of vulnerable cries for help instead become a call to arms, a battle cry for everyone who feels the same way. Each of Parker’s songs is more impressive than the last, but highlights include the deceivingly upbeat ‘Terror Town’, and ‘3 Foot Highs’, which is both an unexpectedly blues-y turn, and a supreme showcase for her huge vocal talents. Parker regularly performs in the local area/
Up next is Gavin Ray, a singer and Brock student who delighted the crowd with a set of acoustic covers. Those covers were a diverse collection of classics, bookended by Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on the Hill’ and the immortal ‘Wonderwall’, and going everywhere from the Lumineers to Catfish and the Bottlemen in between. Ray clearly has a fondness for each of the songs he’s chosen, which keeps his performance (and the crowd) lively even on slower tracks. Not only do no two songs sound the same, but neither do any of the songs sound like copies of the original; Ray offers the crowd a unique interpretation of everything he plays. One particularly outstanding interpretation was John Mayer’s ‘Something Like Olivia’, which in Ray’s hands becomes much more heartfelt, without sacrificing the groove of Mayer’s original. A soulful rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Otherside’ was another pleasant surprise, and nothing strikes an emotional chord quite like a healthy dose of ‘Mister Brightside’. For performers like Ray, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut; you play the classics like clockwork, and add the latest Taylor Swift single to your catalogue as and when necessary. But that isn’t the experience Ray Offers; his song choices well known, but welcome surprises. And his versions of each stand up on their own; they’re recognizable, but they become his own when he takes to the stage.
The final act of the evening was definitely the loudest; the GoLive band, in their very first concert, made their intent loud and clear. Their singer (wearing a horse mask, of course), walked on stage soundtracked by the feedback of amps that were ready to burst. The drummer counts in, and all of a sudden the very foundations of Warehouse are shaking with a setlist of some of the most outrageous rock and roll to ever come out of a student band. The band’s setlist was blistering, packing loud and proud covers of every flavour of rock: The Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Stone Temple Pilots and the White Stripes are among the royalty to that were honoured. There was as much energy on display as there was talent; the drummer and bassist held a solid, raucous backbeat throughout the set; the lead vocalist never missed a note, and the two guitarists proved themselves to be both solid rhythm players and masterful soloists. They closed the evening by turning the party up to eleven, and it’s difficult to imagine that they could possibly have rocked any harder.