THE WATCHMEN LIVE with special guest RON HAWKINS.
WATCHMEN LIVE DANFORTH MUSIC HALL with SPECIAL guest RON HAWKINS.
ABOVE: Photo of Danforth Music Hall by BLOG T.O not Deb
ABOVE: Ron Hawkins
Plato said it best:
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything,”
that pretty much described my adventure at The Danforth Music Hall on Dec 14th as they presented 2 of the most innovative 90’s alternative rock names in Canadian music history.
Mesmerizing is another way to describe the feel of attending this full house concert surrounded by 1,427 fans inside this historical landmark. 1 of the greatest contemporary singer and song-writer instrumentalists from the Toronto’s indie-rock institution, Ron Hawkins (Lowest of the Low, Do Good Assassins, The Rusty Nails) seen above, kicked off the night expressively exposing his masterpieces acoustically to the eager, ever-loving and devoted fans, who could be heard screaming, “we love you Ron.” He engulfed the stage with such passion, performing his unforgettable melodies, there was certainly no ‘Peace and Quiet’ as Ron rocked us thru his catalogue of hits featuring ‘Black,’ a Ron Hawkins and The Rusty Nails ‘Bite Down Hard,’ a Lowest of the Low’s ‘Powerlines’ and ‘Eternal Fatalist,’ to just name but a few. Ron acknowledged that on this very night, Dec. 14th, The Clash were celebrating their 39th anniversary of the release of London Calling album, so he lit up a solo acoustic version of The Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton.’ He resumed sharing his greatest hits in ‘South Ontario,’ ‘Just About “The Only” Blues’ melding into the Lowest of The Low’s ‘Salesmen, Cheats and Liars,’ plugging right into his ‘D.F.W/Black Monday’ accapella. Further surprising us with a guest, the ever-engaging Stephen Stanley from the Lowest of The Low, who joined Ron on a medley of popular LOTL hits while showcasing a delicious acoustic version his own hit ‘Under The Minah Bird.’ Never idle, always indulging in one facet or musical form, Ron proudly told us that his lastest masterpieces; that being both the 2017’s Lowest of the Low’s 5th album ‘Do The Right Now’ along with his 16th release, the 7th solo album-2016’s ‘Spit Sputter and Sparkle’ are out and going strong. This multi award winning Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Famer and Lifetime Achievement recipient was wound for sound, charged and ready as he released his one-of-a-kind stimulating art leaving the audience invigorated getting them ready for The Watchmen!
ABOVE: TWM Founder/song-writer/lead vocalist Daniel Greaves wore his heart on his sleeve.
The Watchmen performance was chalked full of 90’s philosophy, a flash from the past, they brought their accomplished signature sound allowing for tons of goosebumps, making for an extravagant experience. Daniel Greaves (vocals), Joey Serlin (guitar), Ken Tizzard (bass), and Sammy Kohn (drums) were in rare and rejuvenating form, Kev Tizzard’s right hand, though injured, still masterfully gave the thick and pounding sound you had come to expect at TWM concerts. They strolled us thru their impressive 5 studio albums 3 decades deep and still touring nostalgically. TWM presented their masterpieces to their legions of fans, perfecting their measurements of rhythm mixed with their supportive harmonies, showing the world they still play a crucial role in defining the sound and musical culture of the 90’s alternative scene! Soaring high all night with no signs of slowing down, these Platinum and 3-time Gold recipients continued to evolve throughout their show with sheer momentum and extraordinary energy, presenting an alluring concert. Their genuine expression live is a must see. Their sound is tasty, very robust, full of flavour, hearty and juicy like a mouth-watering steak. After listening to them dominate the air ways throughout the 90’s, I finally got the chance to see for the 1sttime, what gives this act longevity in the music industry and how loved they still are. No matter the era, venue or lineup, the Watchmen remain as reliable as ever. These Canadian treasures were on fire, as they continued to push their innovation to the edge with their dynamic arrangements and most recognizable crowd favorites ‘Middle East,’ ‘Boneyard,’ ‘Slomotion,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘Calm’ and ‘Rooster’ which fueled the crowd. Daniel Greaves perfected a little accapella that led right into a dedication to Gord Downie as they acoustically ripped into a moving version of Tragically Hip’s ‘Wheat Kings’ allowing total audience participation, as you will see/hear in a fan’s captured Youtube moment.
ABOVE: The Watchmen Bassist Ken Tizzard
TWM continued to wow us with their stellar ‘All Uncovered’ pieces during this their ‘Holiday’ showcase. They stole our souls with their ‘Must To Be Free’ message. ‘Any Day Now,’ ‘Absolutely’ they would see us again and not disappear or ‘Run and Hide.’ They attempted 3 times to bring their performance to a close; however, proving their sustaining power, their fans just wouldn’t let them go, hoping they were to present more to come. The Watchmen come back on stage the final time and kept the party rocking, providing their hungry audience with a grand total 7-song encore featuring Daniel Greaves on a solo piano cover of ‘Highwayman’ from The Highwaymen. They followed that with their hit ‘Brighter Hell,’ than a brilliant cover version of Billy Bragg’s ‘New England’ as they included Ron Hawkins once again on stage to rock with them, revving the audience into a frenzy preparing them for their crowd-pleasing staple ‘Stereo.’ Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than this, TWM had to ‘Say Something’ before their final song. They injected the cover ‘Square One’ in remembrance of Tom Petty, as you can see here,
filmed by a fan on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtZ4QxPCF4U
filmed by a fan on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtZ4QxPCF4U
This incredible video story of The Watchmen by WAASAYAH PRODUCTIONS fully depicts the depth of their existence and how powerful and motivating their concerts truly are. https://vimeo.com/8064841?fbclid=IwAR1_1HGw0KKSbxLCWAZjKFtZo8HofTUMOb57_ygJifyv72CPMxngT4lZsgU
Conclusion: To truly capture these 2 iconic wonders is like capturing an infinite measure, both a creative workbook and an authoritative reference with a presence profoundly moving and a pertinent one!
Keep up to date with Ron Hawkins by visiting www.ronhawkins.com where you can jump on board and catch him live Feb. 8 at Mule Spinner in Hamilton with special guest Skye Wallace tickets on sale now at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ron-hawkins-tickets-5396270690
Also, stay in tune with The Watchmen at www.the-watchmen.com and drop on by the outstanding list of talent coming to The Danforth Music Hall in 2019
LEFT TO RIGHT ABOVE: Deb Draper, The Watchmen’s bassist Ken Tizzard and Founder/Frontman lead vocalist Daniel Greaves
Review by Volunteer 5 year photojournalist/columnist with The Wire Megazine
Deb Draper (Seeing Shows With Deb Draper) www.seeingshowswithdebdraper.com