The doc rocks
It was the amplified energy and commanding stage presence of Doc Walker that a crowd of 300 responded to immediately.
It was the band’s wide range of talent, unique rock-country sound and diverse set list that kept the audience entertained at the Kamloops Convention Centre on Thursday, Dec. 15.
The country-music veterans let the crowd know the evening’s agenda with the Black Eyed Peas tune Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night starting the show.
The engine of the Juno-Award winning band is Chris Thorsteinson, lead singer and songwriter who bought his first guitar at a garage sale at age five.
Despite the cross-country tour that began Nov. 13, his loud, vivacious performance was inexhaustible.
The rock in the rock-country sound was largely due to Murray Pulver, who cranked out pure lightning bolts from his electric guitar.
He impressed and surprised his fans when he took lead vocals for Superman by Crash Test Dummies, another Winnipeg band for which he was a guest musician.
The group honoured another Manitoban legend, the Guess Who, with American Woman, sung by Dave Wasyliw.
Together with Thorsteinson, Wasyliw writes the lyrics for the Doc Walker originals.
After seven albums, fans can hear the honest sincerity of the words even on the first listen.
Christmas tunes made the set list, too, with an upbeat rendition of Little Drummer Boy.
Pulver then crooned My Two Front Teeth, with some whistling help from the crowd: A fan in the front row offered her whistling services in exchange for Pulver’s Santa hat.
Mr. Claus also made an appearance. At 10 feet tall, in inflatable form, he boogied in the background to a couple of tunes before his energy deflated and he toppled over sideways.
“Too many eggnogs,” explained Wasyliw.
These three members are responsible for three guitars and the vocals, but they are accompanied on stage by Brent Pearen on bass and Steve Broadhurst on drums.
Broadhurst unexpectedly commanded the microphone and crowd when he was suddenly began to channel Barry Gibb, stunning the audience with a perfected version of Stayin’ Alive.
Proving their musical prowess, the cover songs spanned many more musical genres and included Genesis, Neil Young, Bachman Turner Overdrive and KISS.
However, it was the band’s original tunes that made the crowd roar with delight.
The new album is 16 & 1, which was nominated for two Canadian Country Music Awards in 2011.
Country Girl showcased the unshakable connection between audience and band that can only be found within country-music fans.
Thorsteinson, Pulver and Wasyliw were intimate and impactful when they began Do It Right acoustically, the only song in the encore.
Not only was the talent undeniable, but the members were entertaining and comical between songs and sets.
Thorsteinson joked they simply forgot to book an opening act, so they hired themselves.
“Give it up for that opening band,” he said at the start of the second set.
“What a good-looking group of guys.”
Through banter and fantastic performance, entertainment is what ultimately transpired at the Kamloops stop of Doc Walker’s tour, Are You with Me Tonight.
The only disapproval evident from the crowd toward the Manitoban-born musicians was any spoken sentiment regarding the Winnipeg Jets.