You just never know what may come from an evening at the illustrious and infamous Norma Jean’s in northeast London, Ontario! We do not venture out there very often, for any other reason than it being on the opposite end of the city. Admittedly strange since we go to Detroit, Toronto and points in between often enough for entertainment. It isn’t our hangout haunt I suppose is what I am saying, of which we have a few for live music in this town. However, when a good band we want to see is there, no doubt we will be too. Our summer schedule has been crazy. So glad we could make this one in. It was a long day and both my wife and I had a serious case of the yawns. I hate this because I feel like if a band member sees this I could be offending them; I promise it was not your music/show! How so Canadian eh?
I had discovered the music of SWO a few months back as I try to keep an eye on my hometown music scene. A few times almost bought their music online, sure glad I held off because shortly thereafter this Montreal band was announced as being on the same bill as Stunning. Excellent! When they took the stage I could not believe the stature of their singer: Stacey. Already knowing the vocal style I could not imagine he could belt it high like that. Well done! Cleve on guitar is not only a super nice dude to speak to before and after the show, he rips on the axe. I was expecting their sound to be in line with their name and what I already had listened to online, I was most pleasantly surprised how much heavier they are. To wit, they played 2 cover songs: “I Wanna Be Somebody” from W.A.S.P. (a personal favourite) and “Burn In Hell” from Twisted Sister (another fave). Their own tunes can range from the sleazy style to closer to a mix of Maiden heaviness. Very impressive. I proudly wore a shirt given to me by Paul from Stunning before the show, well into the next day. I think my mother believes her 40 something son, and father of her 2 grandchildren, is not quite acting his age when I saw her they next day based on the artwork of said shirt. I highly recommend you get out to see Sleazy Way Out, they rock and are carrying a torch for those of us that enjoy the style. I did pick up their CD as well, nice packaging and thanks for signing it guys! Been listening to it for a couple days now on regular play through, sounds great. “All The Way to Heaven” is a great standout tune, glad you guys were glass tapped to come back out and play it! I will quote Tim who came up to me during the show (I think that is ok Tim, rip me a new one of not and I will take down the comment J : “Rock n roll is alive and well, and living in Montreal” – agreed, although we believe it lives elsewhere as well, it assuredly is not sedentary!
Now onto Stunning, I do believe this was their debut show. Frontman Steven R. Stunning (of 63 Monroe) has formed an all-star line-up. Guitarists Paul and Tim who play in a number of other bands in and around town, and quite honestly some of my favourites. When I am hooked I am hooked. They do not disappoint and having only heard Tim play bass before I was amazed at his guitar work and his stage presence jumping up and down from the drum riser. Paired with Paul: stunning! As always, frontman and full on energy Steven R Stunning is just that. Oh, I only wish the new, younger, whatever generation could see and emulate. You belong on a much grander stage my friend; however I am sure glad to catch your live show in these establishments. I ain’t a suck up; I appreciate a solid band and musicians and believe in praise. I saw a comment online about this being the tightest band around, I do agree. Oscar on bass is not only full of energy as well, he is keeping the band tight all night when it comes to the playmaking, all the while fist pumping and energizing the crowd as well. I loved hearing the songs from the record as well as covers of The Subways “Rock n Roll Queen” (you guys do it much better!) and an unrecorded tune “Boys Will be Boys”. Please record that, guys, I could listen to that song forever. Do yourself a favour, buy the music of Stunning. You truly are “Punk Rock Soldier”(s)! Do yourself another favour, get out and check out your local live music scene. I am a tired old guy. I could easily watch the tube and nap. Thankfully my forever hot wife and I love live music and foresee a long and loving future of doing just that until the end of days. Ya, I know, sappy but this is an ode to 20 years of marriage next month and 25 years of live music love together. One day I will share a flashback to our first concert. We are indeed rock n’ roll Vikings (thanks, Scott!).
- Blair De Abreu