It’s been almost a year and a half since east coast rockers The Stanfields were in Victoria, BC. Their last stop was Rock the Shores 2014 and, to put it frankly, I don’t remember all that much from that day. Everything after their set was a bit of a drunken blur, because that’s what happens when you start drinking with bands backstage.
Fall had seem to come in full force the day The Stanfields were slated to hit the stage at Distrikt Nightclub. There were fresh leaves on the ground, I’d lost power at least once the day before, and there were rumours we’d be hit with the remnants of that west coast hurricane coming up the coast. Like any true west coaster, I put on my least waterproof clothes and headed downtown to catch a good old fashioned rock show.
When I got into Distrikt Nightclub, it was dead. Like, I’ve never seen it this dead before. They only had one bar open and there seemed to be no one at it. Maybe it was that it was an early show, or maybe it was because it was the Thanksgiving long weekend, or maybe it people were still stuck in long lines waiting to vote at their polling station for the Federal Election. It was a Friday night after all. Surely, they’d hold off on the first band for a little while while the club filled up.
Moments after this thought, Victoria’s Aegis Fang took the very dark stage. Other than myself, the dance floor only had one person on it while the three piece blue rock band belted out a few songs. Eventually, more folks crept down to the floor, but still keeping their distance. It wasn’t until lead singer/guitar player Mike Ferguson switched instruments with drummer Nathaniel Noel that the audience really took notice. They finished the set this way having gathered a sizeable audience for the headliners, The Stanfields.
With a mixture of east coast folk sounds, often political lyrics, and ripping guitars, The Stanfields are a rock and roll band through and through. From the first show of their tour to one of their last, each show is better than the night before.
Those unfamiliar with the band might not have noticed the slight lineup change, with Jason Wright and Craig Harris exiting the band earlier this year. With the addition of Calen Kinney on bouzouki and fiddle, you’d never notice. His frantic and charismatic style kept the crowd on their toes all night while he flung himself around the stage. Often leaning on other band members while playing the fiddle or dropping to his knees to scream into the crowd during “Ship to Shore.”
During the show I bumped into a fellow concertgoer who had come up from Port Angeles, WA just to see the band. He happens to be a huge fan of the local rock station The Zone @ 91-3, as well as a lot of Canadian music. He pointed out his shirt from Mother Mother/USS show last year at The Royal Theatre. It was great to see great music uniting people from other countries on a rainy October evening.
From the back of the room, you could just see a sea of heads bouncing and singing along with the band. This is what I look for as a sign of a good show. Everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves. It’s really not hard to do that at a Stanfields show.
After the band wrapped up I caught up with Jason MacIsaac for a few minutes. It’d been since Rock the Shores since we’d seen each other. We might have had a few too many drinks during together that time. That’s probably why my memory is a little fuzzy. I think The Dudes and a few other Rocktographers are to blame too. Jason mentioned that the band is planning to be back on the west coast this spring. I highly encourage you to get off your duff and go see them next time they are in town. They’re a load of fun and it’s a good excuse to go to a rock show.