Theory of a Deadman and The Standstills in Ottawa: Review and photos
[Another photo-and-text report from Ross MacDonald and Karen Coughtrey. -AC]
After months of grey weather, the residents of Ottawa couldn’t ask for a better kickoff to the return to sunny weather than the rock concert the Bronson Centre was offering up Thursday night featuring Theory Of A Deadman and their opener The Standstills. Both bands were nothing but business on a night that was all rock with little small talk from start to finish.
The Standstills were the perfect opening band and their strong performance had the crowd amped for the main event. They performed in front of a backdrop featuring two skeletons looking longingly at each other, the cover art from their newest album. The crowd was treated to performances of 7 of the 13 songs from Shockwave including of course the single ‘Motherlode’ but also ‘Reset Party’ and ‘Heavy is the Reason.’
They opened with ‘Pretty Little Broken Thing’ which featured a very well received drum solo from drummer Renée Couture that definitely got the audience into rock mode.
Like most bands these days they spoke to the audience about the effect of the pandemic on the band and society as a whole and they explained their song ‘Get Right’ was written about being there for each other.
The Standstills have performed with Theory of a Deadman before and they were excited to be opening for them again and before ending their set with two older tracks encouraged the crowd to get ‘Wild’ before finishing with ‘Orleans.’
As the lights dimmed again in preparation for Theory of a Deadman to take the stage Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ played over the PA and of course it became a lively sing along but the song would melt away and morph into the theme (a composition by Gustavo Santaolalla) of the recent HBO post-apocalyptic hit show ‘The Last Of Us’ before the band would appear on stage amid several bursts of steam, an effect they would use at every opportune moment throughout the night. The band opened with ‘Dinosaur,’ the title track off their latest album.
It’s not always the case when a band releases new music but the crowd was excited for the songs off the new album. As the lights flashed red and blue excited shouts of it’s ‘Ambulance’ could be heard throughout the audience. They were also delighted to hear that ‘Two of Us (Stuck)’, a catchy rock song written around the chorus of the classic ‘Just The Two Us’ from Grover Washington and Jr. and Bill Withers, would be the next single.
The crowd were equally excited for older hits such as ‘Better Off’ and ‘Santa Monica’ from their 2005 album and All or Nothing from 2008, on which lead singer Tyler Connolly would move to the keyboard.
The mood was noticeably more mellow as the band got a bit sentimental before playing ‘Invisible Man’ a track off their first album, reflecting aloud how it’s incredible they’ve been at this for 21 years, the changes to what they’ve been legally allowed to include on their rider keeping them young as well as the fans of course.
The band included audio clip intros to many songs including a bunch of news clips (intro to ‘Blow’) a storyteller (as part of an interlude between songs) and most notably a clip from Fred Penner’s Canadian children’s classic ‘The Cat Came back’ as intro of course to their song ‘The Bitch Came Back’.
They would also play a number of covers throughout the night, even fooling some fans into thinking Garth Brooks was there after they sang his song ‘Friends in Low Places’. They also delighted the crowd with an instrumental cover of ‘Nutshell’ by Alice in Chains and ‘Wicked Game’ a Chris Isaak cover (also featuring Tyler on keys and also included on their 2017 album), which had the crowd quiet, swaying and mesmerised with at least one couple enjoying a slow dance.
During the encore the covers continued including a clip of Guns N’ Roses ‘Paradise City’. They also played a snippet of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ which was not long enough for the crowd (and saw members of the audience asking for more) considering the significance of the song to the city, as it has been for years the goal song of the Ottawa Senators.
Theory of a Deadman ended the night with Rx (Medicate) and gave the crowd a long thankful salute during the last song of the night ‘Bad Girlfriend’.
Theory of a Deadman
Tyler Connolly – lead vocals, guitar, piano
Dave Brenner – guitar, backing vocals
Dean Back – bass, backing vocals
Joey Dandeneau – drums, backing vocals
Johnny Fox – guitar, vocals
Renée Couture – drums
(Touring) Brendan Mcmillan – bass, backing vocals