Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Intrepid Junior Bloggers Get Down With Webster

It all began several weeks ago when I heard Down With Webster, that uber-hot Canadian band, was coming back to play another show at MacDonald Island Park. I'd taken the Intrepid Junior Bloggers to see them when they played here during the summer of 2011, and they had had a complete blast. It had, in fact, been the first "real" concert either had ever been to, so it was quite special in their minds. The oldest Junior Blogger had left the concert with a drumstick she caught when it was tossed from the stage, and the younger Junior Blogger left with an appreciation for DWW she hadn't had before. So, when I heard DWW was coming back I knew I would take them again - but this time I was hoping for a little treat for them, too.

You see, after I wrote about DWW last time I received a very nice email from their manager thanking me for the review I did on the concert. I was quite pleased by that email, as it's always nice to know that what you do has been noticed and appreciated. So when I heard DWW was coming back I set some wheels in motion, and did something I rarely do - I asked for a favour.

I'm one of those people who hates asking for anything. If it is offered I am always delighted, but I genuinely hate to ask. I'm also one of those people who will do absolutely anything for their kids, though, and this fell into that category. I summoned up my courage, and fired off two emails - one to the DWW manager, and one to MacDonald Island Park - and I asked if there was any chance that the Junior Bloggers could meet the band.

Mac Island immediately said they would do whatever they could to make it happen, and asked if I would like to attend the show as media (like I said, when asked I am usually delighted to accept, and I did!). They also said they would contact the band's management and ask about the possibility of a meet and greet, so I sat back and waited to see what would happen. I told the Junior Bloggers that it was a possibility, but just that, and not guaranteed. I spent much of my twenties hanging around bands and I knew how things go and the kinds of demands they have on their time, so I knew it might not happen. 

Late last week, though, I got official work from Mac Island - the meet and greet was on. I told the Junior Bloggers and there was much squealing, some hugging, and pronouncements of me being the "best mom/aunt ever". And so, Saturday night, we headed down to the show - and to meet the band.

Thanks to Mix 103.7 for bringing Down With Webster back to Fort Mac!

 The jam-packed line-up we got to avoid!

 Backstage at Mac Island just before meeting DWW -
and with the drumstick from the last show!

Yeah, we just met the band - and they were totally awesome!

 What an empty venue looks like before the crowd arrives...

 Getting our DWW hand signals ready for the show!

Opening act USS Music - awesome band and a new discovery for us!

Right up at the front of the stage - taken by me from the "media pit"

I had commented to the Junior Bloggers that
Bucky looked pretty fine in that white t-shirt he wore
at the last concert - so all three of us were delighted 
when he took the stage in a white t-shirt :)

The above amazing shots were possible due to 
MacDonald Island Park kindly issuing me a media pass, 
meaning I could take photos from the area right
 in front of the stage. At several points band members
 towered right above me on the stage,
 making me realize if they lost their balance 
I'd be crushed!

The above shots were taken from in the audience.
 As you can see it was a lively crowd, dancing, waving,
 and clapping along with every song.
 At the finale, prior to the encore, DWW was joined
on stage by their opening acts OCD and USS, 
which made for some amazing photos!

I'm going to be very honest here for a bit (I know, me being honest, shocking, eh?). The first opening act, OCD, didn't do a thing for me. I actually left for a bit during their performance as their pure rap style just isn't my thing, although the older Junior Blogger loved them, as did the crowd. Now, USS, on the other hand, deeply appealed to both me and the younger Junior Blogger (who has musical tastes that tend towards things like Sex Pistols and Marilyn Manson, much like her mother's eclectic tastes). The older Junior Blogger said some in the crowd were not impressed with USS, but I'm thinking the younger demographic just might not know how to appreciate a band that makes blender smoothies on stage (ever been to a Rush concert and seen the washing machines on stage? Oh, the ridiculous attempts I've heard to explain them - it's called "artistic license" people, not washing the roadies t-shirts during a performance!). And when USS played a snippet of "Wonderwall" by Oasis and pulled out their turntable guitar? Well, they've got me and the younger Junior Blogger for life now.

But after the opening acts it was time for the big show - DWW. I've been following these guys since they played here last summer, and I've been keeping an eye on them on Twitter. What I've discovered is that these young men are constantly touring, playing, recording, and going, going, going. They are the Energizer bunny of Canadian bands. They are hungry for success, they are having a great time, and they are trying to improve every day - and it shows. As I predicted this show was even better than the last time they played here, more tightly honed and refined in sound and stage presence. They played older material, and new material, and they played to an audience that was beyond thrilled and into the realm of ecstatic. These young Canadian men make me proud, people. I have seen bands from Blue Rodeo to Tragically Hip, Rush to Nickelback, climb to the top of the music ladder, and all have something in common - they work damn hard. And so it is with Down With Webster. They work themselves, they work their talents, they work their performances, and they work their audience to perfection. It was an amazing show from start to finish, and the finale when they brought both OCD and USS on stage with them was an absolute triumph. When they left the stage I was stunned to see some kids leaving, but then realized that many of them probably have no idea that when a band finishes their set it doesn't take much convincing to get an encore - and so I told the kids next to me to start making some noise and shouting "encore", which they did. They were rewarded when DWW took the stage again and played not one, not two, but three encore songs, finishing with the quickly-becoming iconic "Your Man".

Now, as for that meet and greet before the show. Well, what I learned is that not only are DWW a hard-working group of guys they are a genuinely sweet group, too. While we waited in line the older Junior Blogger noticed Marty pointing at her in line, and  when it was their turn she was complimented on her rather colourful hair (originally bleached blonde she dyed it deep purple, but it is fading into a most intriguing blend of mauve and grey). This compliment pretty much had her speechless, and they kindly introduced themselves to both Junior Bloggers and took this photo with them:

When it was my turn I went up, shook their hands, introduced myself, and told them I write a blog in town - and was delighted when it appeared that they knew who I was (their manager had told me he planned to have them read the original blog post I wrote about them). We took this photo to memorialize the meeting:

During the concert Bucky from DWW had mentioned coming back to Fort Mac for a vacation. The Intrepid Junior Bloggers and I think this is a great idea, and we'd like to offer our house instead of a hotel. And he can even bring the rest of the guys too. Oh and Bucky? Bring the white t-shirt too, okay? :)

The Intrepid Junior Bloggers and I wish to thank:

- all the security guards, especially Aaron, who was
at the front of the stage and watched out for them

-the mom with a little girl who told my daughter to
 just shove the bigger girls who were getting pushy
(thanks fellow mom for looking out for my kid too!)

-Mix 103.7 for bringing great music to Fort Mac

-MacDonald Island Park for helping to arrange
that meet and greet


super fabulous band Down With Webster for a great show -
and just for being great guys,
 making it a night we will never forget!
You boys ROCK! :)

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