In one of the highlights of their latest tour celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the album Silver, Vancouver rockers Moist hit the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor on Thursday September 5 with hometown heroes Big Sugar for what was billed as an evening of Canadian 90s rock.
Although they’ve only released four albums in their 25 years, Moist made a big dent on the charts with each of them and scored some impressive hits throughout, but it was clearly their debut album Silver that was being highlighted. Although not played in sequence, the band’s exciting debut album impressed the crowd with a selection of tracks, including Canadian rock hits like Push and Silver. The rest of the show featured a good cross range of material from Creature, Mercedes 5 and Dime and Glory Under Dangerous Skies, such as the powerful rockers Tangerine, Freaky Be Beautiful and their biggest US hit Resurrection. There was also an impressive version of their biggest masterpiece Breathe and vocalist David usher’s solo single Black Black Heart.
The band was lively, utilized much of the stage and generally appeared to enjoy being on tour again. Usher bounced around the stage and even ventured into the audience a few times to interact with fans. His voice was tight, clean and still sounded as good as it when I first saw them live on the original Silver tour. It matched well with the band, who still sounded as tight as ever.
Since the band reunited in 2013, Moist concerts are a fairly rare occurrence. Their website shows about 50 shows in six years, with this show being their first visit to Windsor since reuniting.
Moist gave their fans everything they expected and maybe a little more.
Big Sugar on the other hand seemed to have lost a little of its sweetness. They were a little out of sorts and uninspired. The massive Caesars stage and light rig was confined to a very small area where the five-person band, led by former Windsorite Gordie Johnson, stayed put and mostly stationary for the show. Other than a giant Big Sugar sign in the background, this almost felt like a Cosmos show. Even the lights felt like they were reduced to align with the small staging area.
Had this been Olde Walkerville Theatre, the place would have been jumping, but the Moist/Big Sugar combo didn’t bring out a large crowd to The Colosseum in the first place and Big Sugar kept losing what was left of the crowd as the songs went on.
And it had nothing to do with the songs – Big Sugar has an amazing number of great tunes to carry a show like this. Songs such as If I Had My Way, Better Get Used To It, Turn The Lights On, Red Rover and their signature song Diggin’ A Hole are more than enough to rise most crowds. Maybe it had a little to do with the awkward teaming with Moist, but it certainly had something to do with the lack of some key players in the band – bassist Garry Lowe passed away in December and another Windsorite, Kelly Hoppe, quit a couple years back. The songs were really missing the harmonica and sax sounds that Hoppe provided. Instead, they were replaced with loud congas performed by Rey Arteaga, giving the sounds a deeper grove and a hard reggae sound.
The highlight of any Big Sugar show is Johnson’s guitar playing and the gorgeous double neck guitars he brings on stage. In that respect, this performance was right on the money. Johnson’s playing was stellar and his voice still sounded as competent as ever. But in general, this evening felt more like a spoonful of Aspartame than it did an evening with Big Sugar.
All photos by Dan Savoie