High-energy musical finish to Westerner Days

Two generations of alt-rock fans partied in the Centrium Saturday night as Canadian groups USS and Moist wrapped up the Westerner Days concert series in energetic style.

Two generations of alt-rock fans partied in the Centrium Saturday night as Canadian groups USS and Moist wrapped up the Westerner Days concert series in energetic style.

On the more hyper-kinetic side was USS, a young duo more cumbersomely known as Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker.

“We’re from Toronto, Onterrible,” said DJ/hype man Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons — prompting a cheer from several hundred Central Alberta teenagers and young adults.

Parsons and his singer/guitarist partner Ashley Buchholz (they were also backed by a boisterous drummer), leapt onto the stage like sprung coils. Their hit Yo Hello Hooray was delivered with such effusiveness, Buchholz looked like he would bust a gut — or a guitar string.

The acrobatic Parsons stood on his hands behind his turntable for the song, Nepal. His feet kept time to the funky, slightly distorted beat.

Soon Parsons was right-side up, urging: “Everybody on your feet! Jump, jump, jump!” in the intro to Laces Out. Fans in front of the stage bounced up and down with arms in the air.

The DJ pulled off a perfect cartwheel during Shipwreck. Then he and Buchholz did something they hadn’t done before — they performed their new single, the catchy Work Shoes, live. Parsons called it a “unique experience,” premiering a song “in an arena in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada!”

There were tongue-in-cheek moments — such as when the two borrowed melodies from ’80s group Wham!, and the Newfoundland ditty I’s the B’y. There was also a poignant segment when the gravelly voiced Buchholz covered Tragically Hip’s Something On as a tribute to terminally ill singer Gord Downie.

But a spirited mood prevailed for N/A OK, This is the Best, Damini — as well as the strangely upbeat break-up tune, Freakquency.

“Red Deer, we came to party… Should we keep the party going, or what?” said Parsons — as if there was any doubt.

Young alt-rock fans in the Centrium were replaced by middle-aged ones as Moist took the stage in Red Deer for the first time in — maybe forever.

The 1990s Juno Award-winning band had been in hiatus for a more than a decade before starting to play again in 2013. Now the group is larger with three of the original members, singer David Usher, guitarist Mark Makoway and keyboardist Kevin Young, joining up with new bassist Louis Lalancette, drummer Frances Fillion and additional guitarist Jonathan Gallivan.

Moist kicked off the second half of the concert with the infectious Silver, from its multi-platinum-selling 1994 debut album.

This was followed with Broken, from the group’s critically praised 2014 CD, Glory Under Dangerous Skies — proving that 20 years hasn’t diminished the band’s way with a song.

Extended guitar and keyboard solos were featured on Break Her Down, while synthesized strings (and was that a sampled Madame Butterfly aria?) were worked into Black, Black Heart — a cool tune from Usher’s 2001 solo CD.

Overlapping harmonies were heard on the pop-flavoured Underground, from 1999. What wasn’t heard was what Usher alluded to: “Did you guys notice that when Kevin and I sing verses, somehow Kevin always sings the wrong words?” he said, getting a laugh from fans.

The black-clad singer stepped off the stage to sing Gasoline and take selfies for audience members. He was enveloped in theatre smoke for Tangerine, which was performed along with the torchy Believe Me, angsty Resurrection, Ophelia and Black Roses. The latter got a big reaction with its prolonged drum solo.

The crowd had to wait for the encore to hear the anthemic Moist hits Breathe and Push. But it was Bayou, from the group’s last album, that best captured a sense of nostalgia with the lyrics: “When we were young and we were gold…”

Like their fans, Moist musicians aren’t as young or golden as in their heyday. But they can still enthrall a crowd with undimmed enthusiasm and musicianship.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Country star Gord Bamford and The Reclaws perform free Games concert Friday

Show starts at 6:30 p.m. in heated dome off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer

Survey looks at social isolation among older men

Partnership between Red Deer College and Golden Circle Resource Centre

Peruvian brothers travel nearly 8,000 km to volunteer at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Italo and Mirko Del Castillo say Canadian warmth contrasts with twinter cold

Pride Days celebrated for first time at Canada Winter Games on Feb. 21 and 28

Pride Days are another first for Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games.… Continue reading

Gardening: What are you planting in 2019?

What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will… Continue reading

Opinion: I spy another energy hypocrite

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The mittens provided to… Continue reading

Canada’s bobsleigh team races World Cup on Calgary home track facing closure

CALGARY — Canada’s skeleton and bobsled teams will race a World Cup… Continue reading

Italy becomes ninth international football league to join forces with CFL

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations… Continue reading

Toronto Defiant Overwatch academy team to be known as the Montreal Rebellion

MONTREAL — The Toronto Defiant’s Overwatch academy team will be known as… Continue reading

Canadian fashion and design insiders recall Karl Lagerfeld’s charm, ingenuity

TORONTO — Several Canadian fashion and design experts who knew couture icon… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Most Read