The Stanfields at Club 9one9 (Victoria, BC – March 29, 2013)
Described as a blend of “Celtic drinking songs with a heavy metal edge and a dash of blues,” the Stanfields won the 2013 East Coast Music Awards Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year and Group Recording of the Year for their latest album, Death and Taxes. A band that pairs a Fender Telecaster and the traditional Bouzouki (played by Jon Landry and Jason Wright, respectively) are a must see in my book.
They had not performed live in the Pacific Northwest, until this and another recent show in Victoria BC. Even though it required an international trip across the Salish Sea, it was my one opportunity to see them in an intimate club. So, I packed up the family and caught the Coho Ferry to Victoria.
The show was held at Club 9one9 in downtown Victoria. Its capacity is about 500 people, and the place was full. The layout is wide open, lines of sight good and the audience can easily walk to the front of the stage.
I knew that this was their last show on a cross-Canadian tour starting in Halifax. When they opened up the show with the Celtic tinged rocker, Mrs. McGrath, they looked like they were running on fumes but ready to give one last show.
They then played the politically-charged rocker, Federal Hall. The chorus bursts with an angry anti-corruption hook, “They’re fucking with our money, son.” By this point, the energy level in the crowd was buzzing and ready to dance or mosh, depending on the song.
Next was their latest single, Run on the Banks, a good tune with a poppy chorus.
The set list then ping-ponged between traditional sounding tunes like Dagger Woods, The Road to Guysborough; to straight-up honky-tonkers like Blacktop Blues and Footprints in the Sand and rockers like Death and Taxes. Jon Landry wasn’t shy about asking people to dance, and the crowd eagerly complied.
By this point, the crowd was wild and the band was no longer running on reserves. They were feeding off the energy of the crowd. The result was the rare show where the chemistry between band and crowd elevated the event from a concert to a spiritual event.
The high point was Ghost of the Eastern Seaboard. The recorded version is a moody ballad with compelling lyrics and a beautiful interplay between the bouzouki and guitars. But tonight, it turned into an indescribable fusion of Anthrax and the Dubliners. The crowd was clapping like traditional white folks; but the powerful outro erupted with loud guitars, banging drums and heavy bass causing the crowd to head banging and even mosh. Here’s a taste of the concert:
Then they played a new song, Up on the Mountain that was nothing less than moving gospel tune dedicated to their recently deceased friend, Jay Smith. I look forward to hearing a recorded version that is coming out on their next album.
At that point, the band and the crowd knew the night was a success. The club was packed, the music was loud and everyone was having fun.
Jon Landry took control of the crowd and brought it home playing their hit radio tune Ship to Shore and ending with another political tune Money Changers. The outro chant is “Don’t Just Blame the USA!” Well, as an American, I couldn’t help but to shout along with these crazy Canucks.
Unfortunately, the club had a curfew of 10 pm, so it wrapped up early. But I’m sure everyone left happy and ready to party the reminder of the night away. I see big things for this little band out of Halifax.
The Stanfields are:
Jon Landry Vocals, Guitar
Craig Eugene Harris Bass, Backups
Mark Murphy Drums
Jason Wright Bouzouki, Backups
Jason MacIsaac Guitar, Vocals
Photos courtesy of RMS Media.
 Cristina Dirlea, CMW 2013: Charlotte Church @ El Mocambo, http://www.newsandwriters.com/Concert-Reviews/2013_charlotte_church_live_canadian_music_week.html (accessed 4/2/2013).