Big Sugar to rock Bo’s Bar and Grill

Big Sugar likes Red Deer. And it goes both ways, with Red Deer fans happy to keep welcoming Big Sugar back to town. For the third time this year, the blues-rock-reggae band fronted by Gordie Johnson is set to play a local gig — this time on Monday, Nov. 16, at Bo’s Bar and Grill.

Big Sugar likes Red Deer. And it goes both ways, with Red Deer fans happy to keep welcoming Big Sugar back to town.

For the third time this year, the blues-rock-reggae band fronted by Gordie Johnson is set to play a local gig — this time on Monday, Nov. 16, at Bo’s Bar and Grill.

Johnson, who married a Central Albertan and has a ranch near Red Deer, is eager to take a few days off for something completely different than touring. “We have animals on the farm,” he said, “so usually, from sun up to sun down, I’m up to my boots, working.”

Even without this local connection, the Texas resident said he’d probably be stopping in the area because Big Sugar is an equal opportunity performer, playing in centres large and small. “I don’t differentiate,” said Johnson, whether an audience is in Gladwell Sask., or Vancouver.

What’s important is that crowds are digging the tunes.

And Big Sugar has a bunch of new songs to share from the recently released seventh studio album, Calling all the Youth. It’s more rock-driven that the group’s last reggae-flavoured album, Revolutions Per Minute, said Johnson, with a heavier vibe. “It’s more of a return to where the guitars are louder.”

Lyrics-wise, “we’re trying to send a positive message. We don’t adhere to the age gap between generations,” said Johnson, but like to mentor rising young musicians. The group has a history of this, having encouraged many up-and-coming groups over the years, including Wide Mouth Mason (with which Johnson is now a bass player), Nickelback, The Trews and Bedouin Soundclash.

“You don’t see it happening enough,” added Johnson who’s seen some disheartening examples of successful musicians protectively “hanging on to what they have” instead of spreading it around. “We have a more open-door policy, where if we’re doing great, we let others in to roam in the sunshine.”

This brings us to Triggerfinger, a successful European rock group from Antwerp, Belgium that’s being introduced to a Canadian audiences this fall by touring with Big Sugar.

Johnson said he learned not long ago that the band’s members had been influenced to form their group after catching an early Big Sugar concert in Europe.

“We didn’t know anything about it at the time. We only found out about it after we met their manager,” said Johnson, who “very generously” invited Big Sugar musicians to go a tour of Europe with Triggerfinger.

The Belgian band that’s hugely popular across the Atlantic, helped Big Sugar widen its European fan base.

“Now we’re passing it back,” by taking Triggerfinger on its first Canadian tour, said Johnson. This will allow North American audiences to discover a great European band.

Its musicians are hard rockers. They’ll “be taking their own course” — which doesn’t involve playing reggae. “They’ll completely annihilate the crowd, then we’ll come on,” said Johnson, who joked “fans will really be in the mood for our show then!”

The singer and guitarist has had a busy year working on multiple music projects, including producing for other artists, playing bass for Rich Robinson’s (of the Black Crowes) band, as well as for Wide Mouth Mason. Big Sugar also opened earlier this year for AC/DC.

For all the closet musicians who secretly dream of playing with this world-famous metal band, Johnson suggests it might not be as fun as they imagine. The festival sites were so vast people were being flown in by helicopter. “It’s on a scale that’s so industrial, it’s almost too big for you to have a good time,” he said.

”It’s probably more fun just to go to an AC/DC show.”

Tickets for the Red Deer concert are $29.50 from the venue or Doors open at 8 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read