The Stanfields rock the Blue Grotto

Jess Buick, Contributor Ω

East Coast rockers The Stanfields, wailing on their respective instruments at The Blue Grotto. - PHOTO BY JESSICA BUICK

East Coast rockers The Stanfields, wailing on their respective instruments at The Blue Grotto. – PHOTO BY JESS BUICK

Haligonians the Stanfields continued their trek west with a stop in Kamloops’s Blue Grotto Wednesday, March 27, before continuing on to the coast. For their one night stand they included local cover act the Dave Coalmine Band.

While the Creed-esque snarling of the Dave Coalmine Band may not have been the best opener for Celtic/Maritime rock band the Stanfields. The crowd wasn’t very intrigued by the series of rehashed songs from the likes of the Beatles and Neil Young; then again the band didn’t look that ecstatic either. Their set of familiar songs slightly dampened the excitement in the bar.

It wasn’t until around 10:30 p.m., with the air drenched in cologne and a crowd of about 40, that the music the audience was there for started – good old-fashioned East Coast punk rock.

The Stanfields took the stage, winning the audience over immediately with driving, aggressive roots tunes. The quintet showed their musical superiority, with every member having a microphone, fleshing out the melodies and harmonies to each song. Also, the addition of a bouzouki, a Greek instrument that produces a sharp metallic sound similar to a mandolin, played by Jason Wright, brought a Celtic sound that isn’t often heard in Kamloops.

They played an hour-long set, which seemed far too short, including a mix of songs from both their full-length albums, Vanguard of the Young and Reckless and Death and Taxes. Highlights were “Dirtiest Drunk (In The History of Liquor)” (their first big single), “Ship to Shore” (their biggest song to date) and “Boston States” (which was just really good).

The most stirring thing Landry talked about during the performance was the dedication of the song “Up The Mountain” to fellow East Coast rocker Jay Smith, the guitarist for Matt Mays (who recently toured through Kamloops). Smith passed away in Edmonton earlier on Wednesday while on tour. One could see the sorrow in the band as they played this incredibly powerful song.

They sported attire that was completely appropriate – from work boots to sneakers and more members had an abundance of facial hair than not. They looked like working-class guys, clearly visiting the Blue Grotto just to rock – no glitz, glamour or theatrics. The bass player, Craig Eugene Harris, had his hair pulled back with a bandana and a warrior-like intensity in his eyes, which quickly transferred into ferocious playing.

They really did show their chops, too, as lead singer Jon Landry sang so hard you could see the spit shooting out of his mouth. The band was extremely tight, showcasing the chemistry between each member.