Friday night at the Mansion was one of the busiest and liveliness nights that I have seen in awhile at the mansion as The Ascot Royals, The Great Augustus, Illawarra and Bright Light Social Hour took to the stage.
Unfortunately throughout the night the sound guy pretty much killed each set with a tremendous amount of feedback throughout each set, this was the first time that I heard feedback when no one was even on stage before.
This wasn’t the first time that The Ascot Royals played Kingston and it sure is not going to be the last time either. This was the first time however that I finally got around to checking them out, and due to their wicked set I even made a ventured road trip up to Ottawa on Sunday to watch them play again. They hit the stage first which I thought was a bit strange as the local bands played afterwards. Their set was definitely one of the most energetic opening sets that I have ever watched before I think ever. They didn’t slow down during their set at all. Some of the crowd quickly filled the front of the stage as they began their second song. With a possible set suicide move the lead singer Jimmy asked the room to clap along and probably for the first time ever that I have seen people clapped along with the band and for most of the song as well. The guys only had a very limited amount of time for a set so we got to hear a couple of their older songs mixed with a couple of newer ones as well. They for sure set the tone for the rest of the night. The one thing that I liked the most about the band is the fact that they are somewhat all over the map in regards to their songs, you never really knew what was going to come next either it be a pop song or a more of a dance rock song, mostly due to Tal’s guitar playing with a few of the riffs and leads that he played he could almost make the songs go the way he wanted them to. My favourite song was their last song, basically due to Tal’s lead in guitar solo just hearing the intro made their entire set for me.
Quickly up next was Illawarra, I only caught a couple of songs from the guys as I did a interview upstairs with The Ascot Royals during their set. They followed closely to the same lines as what was to follow with the Great Augustus but the stage show just wasn’t really there, for what I saw at the start and at the end of their set they didn’t do much more than stand behind their mics and play their songs. They had a strong appeal to the large gathering of Queens students which now surrounded the stage. A couple of their songs were a little loose between the lead singer and guitarist but other than that what I heard was not too bad.
Up next was The Great Augustus, now here is a band that is making big strides very quickly it wasn’t too long ago when they played to an almost empty room on a Tuesday night to now playing to a crowd of followers. There were a few people tonight who already knew the words to their songs and were singing along as well. The other advantage of making the show tonight was the fact that everyone in attendance got their newly released Ep for free which Erik announced a few times throughout their set. They played mostly faster pop songs but nearing the end of their set they threw in a slower song which I thought may have killed the energy of their set that they built up so far but instead there were a few couples dancing to the song nearing the back end of the mansion and people who were in front were still singing along. Halfway through their set they took a bit of a breather and schooner came on stage from the audience and was brought around to everybody. They saved my favourite songs “Outside Your Door” for later on in their set. By the time they finished their set people were yelling for an encore but due to the tight time restrictions it wasn’t going to happen.
I didn’t really know what to expect from The Bright Light Social hour especially from their name and by their stage presence, then they hit into their opening riff which instantly hit their set off. Leading in with a Deep Purple sounding riff the guys poured it on late into the morning. I was continuously blown away by their set, I don’t think the bassist stood still throughout their entire set he was everywhere on the stage bouncing from the left side of the stage to the right then even becoming lead vocals for a few songs as well. He also has probably the biggest stash that I have ever seen as well, which pretty matched with what his shirt said. Their keyboardist was one of the best touring keyboardists that I have seen in a long time, it wasn’t uncommon to see his arms stretched fully out while playing both of his keyboards. He even brought out a Keytar to the front of the stage dueling with the bassist. This is also the first band in a long time where the Bassist outplayed and over shadowed the guitarist quite a few times in the set. The bass was almost set a little higher than the guitarist’s amp as well but may have been due to the soundguy screwing around. Their songs definitely got their deep and heavy groove sounds from the bassist. Their song introductions and descriptions before the songs began were something that was worth a listen every time one of my favourite intros was “Acid Sex in the 90’s.” some of the lyrics in the songs were pretty good as well and even had the audience join in on afew occasions which eventually made them lose a microphone to the audience during the chant of “We Don’t Give A Damn, We Don’t Give A Fuck”. I was quite surprised by the length of their set and the fact that I don’t think one person left after they began to play and they even had everyone dancing throughout their entire set. The crowd showed their appreciation at the end of their set by yelling out for an encore which seemed to catch the guys by surprise it didn’t take very long until they jumped back up onto the stage to play one more short song. Hopefully they will come back up to Canada again from Texas sometime, because they are well worth checking out.
Bright light social hour