Location: Holbrooks, Orangeville, Ontario.
Nothing is better than heading out for a night of live music at a rocking great place. That's what happened last night while attending the 'Rockin' A Hard Place' show at Holbrooks in Orangeville, Ontario. It would be my first time to Holbrooks. I was actually quite impressed with the place. A friendly atmosphere that obviously caters to the sports fanatics, having over sixty televisions placed around the bar and seating areas. The leather couches and chairs were very welcoming and the stage itself was quite impressive. Slightly raised from the floor, it had an industrial feel to it, thanks to the border of steel girders. A L.E.D track lighting system provided an array of colourful lights around the stage, and along with the sound, they were controlled with an app on a tablet. But we didn't come out for that, we came for the music.
I was previously introduced to vocalist, James Alcock, from his other band, the AC/DC tribute 'Hell N Back', (Read review here), I was curious to hear how he would deliver a variety of songs from other artists. Since the first time seeing him with 'Hell N Back', I was impressed with his vocal range. He could channel both eras of AC/DC with ease. His professionalism along with a great personality and stage persona makes him enjoyable to watch and listen to. Along with the other members of 'Rockin' A Hard Place', they took the stage and began to give the audience a night of amazing music.
|Gorge Ruiz (bass), Brian Wall (drums), James (vocals), Andrew Walsh (guitar)|
The impressive guitar playing by Andrew, along with the rhythmically tight bass and drums provided by Gorge and Brian respectively, would give James the opportunity to cover such classics by Queen, The Cars, AC/DC, Rick Derringer and many more. At times, James would turn to the audience, giving them two songs to chose from. The band did their best to accommodate any requests that the crowd may have had.
It wasn't just the classic rock genre that the boys would cover. When the audience demanded it, they could lead into the heavier material by such artists as Alice in Chains, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden.
As mentioned previously, James has an impressive vocal range. From Bon Scott to Brian Johnson, Jim Morrison, David Coverdale, Ian Astbury, and some of rock's other famous frontmen, he can alter his voice to suit the song he is singing, with what seems like with ease.
His resume is quite notable. Along with the experience gained from the AC/DC tribute bands, he is also currently involved with 'RGB' and had released a CD in 2010 with 'Theze Daze'.
Performing around the GTA area, James is a hard working musician with a vast range of talent. A true entertainer, always engaging with the audience and including them in the show.
There's no doubt that whichever band he's fronting at the time, it will be one amazing show.
Andrew has been playing guitar for many years and is primarily self taught. He has a 'coolness' about him while he is playing. When you watch him, it is clear that he takes great pride in his playing and dedicates much of his time to perfecting his craft. Give him a list of songs and he will learn them.
At the end of the night, he strapped on the beauty that is the Gibson Doubleneck. With the first few notes, the crowd took to the dancefloor to finish off the band's set with 'Stairway to Heaven'.
When not playing with 'Rockin' a Hard Place', Andrew also performs with 'Outside the Wall: The Ultimate Tribute to Pink Floyd'. He is also a member in various other tribute bands. He's no stranger to the road, performing throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
Brian is no stranger behind the drum kit. A powerful drummer, he has also performed with 'The White', covering the music of Led Zeppelin.
Gorge's experience stems from playing in various bands, covering all different genres of music. From cover bands to original music, he is continuously adding more songs to his repertoire.
His versatile playing was evident during the night. He also enjoys playing Surf, '60s, Blues, Rock and Metal.
As the hits continued, the dance floor continued to fill up. Everyone appeared to be having a great time, enjoying a night filled with friends, drinks and live music. The first set came to an end, the boys took a well deserved short break. I exchanged a few words with James, indicating that they sounded great and we were having a wonderful time. Before long they were back on stage, floor still crowded and once again they delivered straight up rock and roll. Songs by The Cult, Judas Priest, The Cars, and Guns n Roses kept everyone dancing and wanting more.
To say the band was completely flawless would impair the integrity of this article. During their first break, I found out by speaking to James that this was their first gig in over a month. Since the band has been together for over two years, that was the longest they had went without playing. Despite that, the band was quite entertaining, the music was good, loud and the atmosphere in Holbrooks was happening. The crowd kept the boys on stage longer than anticipated, wanting to hear more songs, even when the UFC fight came on. People were there in celebration for St. Patrick's Day weekend and 'Rockin' A Hard Place' kept everyone entertained.
Similar to how the night began, it ended with Led Zeppelin. A beautiful rendition of 'Stairway' finished the band's night.
I thoroughly enjoyed the night. James, Andrew, Brian and Gorge gave the crowd what they wanted. Some amazing music, laughs and overall a great time.
If you're looking for a night of great music and good times, be sure to follow 'Rockin' A Hard Place' on Facebook for upcoming gig dates and locations.
Thanks to the guys for a great night.
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