Country Night At “The Class”

It was country night last night (January 16, 2016) at The Working Class in Timmins. The sold out show featured The Devin Cuddy Band, with a local opening act by Lee Hannigan. The Class truly felt like a country bar last night; the show attracted an audience that isn’t typical for our venue, and I was perfectly okay with that! The bands played really well, and the people enjoyed themselves, myself included. If you happened not to have made it out last night, here are my thoughts on what you missed:

Lee Hannigan is a local singer/songwriter. He writes a fusion of country, blues, folk, and rock n’ roll. Last night, 3 supporting musicians accompanied Hannigan on the stage, (a bassist, a drummer, and a keyboard player). I didn’t catch the names of the musicians, unfortunately. Their performance was incredibly tight and masterful. The relatively older backing musicians displayed a show of their skill and experience. The bassist served as a rock solid foundation for the music; he was always on time, and his playing style was simple yet powerful. He was my favorite musician to watch out of everyone. He rocked the fuck out, and sang solid backup vocals with his deep, smoky voice. The drummer was very chill and composed, and rocking a very appropriate Bob Marley t-shirt. He banged his wavy long hair as he performed his groovy beats. His playing was very versatile, from train beats (typical in country music) to funk and jazz beats. He was also a lot of fun to look at on stage! The keyboard player was phenomenal. He shreded on those keys. When in one instant where Hannigan forgot a part, the keyboard player just took over and made the song seamless. These musicians were fantastic, and I had no idea Timmins harbored that amount of talent. I hope to see them perform again soon! Now as for Hannigan himself, while his playing was mostly on point (his guitar playing skills are great, his guitar tone was delicious, and his vocals were mostly always on pitch and on time), I did find him kind of boring to watch on stage. He barely moved around, or even smiled while he was playing. He didn’t look like he was having fun to me. Certainly not like his backing musicians did. His performance just seemed too amateurish for me in contrast with his band. I wanted to see him rock out with the bassist! I also don’t think it’s necessary to present every single song (that’s just my personal preference). I believe talking to the crowd is an art of its own, and if a singer is not completely comfortable doing it, it’s completely fine (if not better) to just not talk as much. Don’t get me wrong however; his skills on the guitar and on the harmonica were great. He played quite well, and his parts were very tightly in sync with the band. He’s also a great outlaw country singer, and a very talented songwriter! I just think his performance skills need some work.

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The Devin Cuddy Band. (Photo cred: Olivia Sullivan)

The Devin Cuddy Band is Devin Cuddy on the piano and vocals, Nichol Robertson on the guitar, Devon James on the bass, and Zachary Sutton on the drums. Timmins happened to be their first stop on their western Canadian tour, and what a delight it was to have them up here all the way from Toronto. Their music is a lot of fun to hear. It has its roots in southern blues and outlaw country. It’s got that New Orleans spice! Their performance last night was fantastic. Their energy was hot and the audience fed on it until our stomachs were full. The bassist did not stop dancing about in the limited space he had on the stage for the entire show. His playing was tight, dynamic, and his vocal harmonies were flawless. The same goes for the drummer; his grooves were punchy or mellow whenever they had to be. He also looked to be having a blast behind his kit. The guitarist’s energy wasn’t at the same level, however. I wanted to see his rock out a little more, but his playing was great! His solos we smoother than butter; he made them look so easy. Finally, Devin Cuddy himself was killer to watch! His piano playing is good to the point where I now regret giving up on my piano lessons as a child. His playing had that ragtime sound as he pounded his keyboard with precision and speed. He too made his instrument look easy to play. His vocals are perfect for his genre. His voice doesn’t have too much twang as we hear typically in country music, and it resides in a confortable mid-range. I’m not really sure to whom I should compare him because I’m not that familiar with the genre. The best thing I can do is recommend you go listen to his record, “Kitchen Knife”. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and I regret not picking one up on vinyl last night. My only gripe with their performance is the lack of energy from the guitarist (as I’ve mentioned), and the slight repetitive nature of their sound. I felt their set was getting a little long near the end. Despite these nit picks, however, I was overall very impressed by their performance. Ritchie also did a great job with the sound; I could hear every distinct part clearly. My ears were happy! So yeah, I hope to see these guys again, and I wish them luck on their tour!

That’s my review! I hope you enjoyed the read, and I hope you check out The Devin Cuddy Band’s music!

Peace!

PS. Keep your eyes open for an album recommendation coming soon! I’m currently working on a schedule for my content output. As my life will see a little more stability soon, and I’ll be able to put more work into this website! Thanks again to all those who support me with this thing! I appreciate you all from the deepest depths of my heart!

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