CMW Review: Joseph Arthur, Jordan Cook, The Pack AD, March 22, Horseshoe Tavern

Joseph Arthur is a talented singer-songwriter with a fairly dedicated fanbase, yet he stood out like a sore thumb on this bill.  With the possible exception of Brett Caswell and the Marquee Rose, who went on right before Arthur, he really had nothing in common with the rest of the acts on the bill.  Case in point: this evening’s headliners were Hamilton hard rockers Monster Truck.  A fine band certainly, but I imagine there’s not a great deal of crossover between their fans. (in fact, I could be one of the few … didn’t stick around for Monster Truck though)  Joseph Arthur played a good set, but I felt like his Lou Reed-isms were sort of lost on much of the audience who was not really there to see him and so generally just talked at the back of the bar, drowning him out somewhat.  I’m not sure who put him on this bill, but it didn’t quite work somehow.  Maybe someplace like the Dakota would be a better fit.

Following Arthur was Saskatoon’s Jordan Cook, who, I’m sad to say, sort of had me hating live music for a minute there.  He and his band plowed through some rather generic blues rock (or is it “blooz rawk?”) that did not sit well with me at all.  Not that Cook and his band aren’t talented or anything, it’s just that it’s hard to make this kind of thing sound all that good.  There’s a fine line between The Black Keys and Blueshammer, and these guys are on the wrong side of that line.  During their set, a friend asked, “Are they from Nickelback country?”  More or less.  In fact, I imagine I’d find a Nickelback set infinitely more entertaining than these guys.  Still, they played a Fleetwood Mac cover so I can’t hate on them too much, and some people up front seemed to be enjoying it.  Not my cup of tea though

Following Cook’s unremarkable blues rock, the blues rock of The Pack AD sounded absolutely stellar by comparison.  They avoided the overly cliched stylings of Cook and band and added a bit of a punk edge.  Despite an energetic set, they still left something to be desired, largely in the form of stage banter.  It needs a bit more work, ladies.  Just sayin’.

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week