Carmen Townsend and Heart bring nostalgia to Kamloops fans

Heart rocks the Interior Savings Center. PHOTO BY JESSICA WALLACE

Jessica Wallace:  Arts & Entertainment Editor  Ω

Decades of music and hairstyles were on display during Heart’s stop at Interior Savings Center last Friday on their second to last show in Canada before heading south to the United States.

The venue was packed and the crowd rose to the occasion sporting 80s hairstyles and platform shoes, and smoking up “special”… cigarettes.

The crowd knew all of the old lyrics as though they’ve been singing Heart songs into brushes for the last 30 years.

Carmen Townsend, a rising Canadian rock artist, opened the show with a lively acoustic performance.

The way that she brought her guitar to life and stomped her boots into the stage, one could tell that she merited a spot before Heart, resembling the Wilson sisters when they were younger with their rock energy. Her voice carried all the way to the hippies standing in line for draft beer.

Townsend said that her album, Waitin’ and Seein’, is very different from her acoustic performance.

“It’s nice to revisit the basics by doing the acoustic show,” Townsend said in a phone interview before the show.

The young Cape Breton artist said that touring with Heart has been one of the greatest experiences.

“It’s such a different way to tour,” she said.  “I’m used to travelling in my Toyota Corolla with my band.”

The massive tour bus and staff to help her from city to city have allowed for her to laugh off sleeping in hockey dressing rooms along the way.  She said that she didn’t mind sleeping in the Blazers dressing room, but she seemed so kind that I’m sure she was only being polite.  I mean, hockey players can smell pretty rancid.

Growing up in Cape Breton, population about 140,000, inspired a music path that eventually led to opening for Heart.

“Based on the weather, you either went to the beach or stayed inside and listened to records,” Townsend said.  “It seemed natural for me to be interested in music.”

Townsend brought about nostalgic feelings of Heart before they got on stage—and Heart did not disappoint.

You could tell sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson have been performing and perfecting their talent for decades.  Ann hit every deafening note while Nancy flipped her hair and jumped into air splits and kicks while playing guitar.

The audience sang lyrics to These Dreams, Barracuda and Crazy On You, but it didn’t seem like many were familiar with songs from Heart’s new album Red Velvet Car, which they integrated between their older classics.

The light show was retro and looked like Christmas lights.  I wondered if they had ever revamped it since the 70s, but nonetheless, it fit with the older Heart hits.

I was happy to see how old school rocker chicks brought the energy to the arena after four decades of fame.  They were polished and clearly very seasoned rock stars.

I’m sure Heart probably won’t be passing through Kamloops again anytime soon, so I’m thrilled to have witnessed the veterans on stage.