For Canadian classic rockers, the honeymoon period never ended

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Honeymoon Suite lead singer Johnny Dee takes centre stage during the band's show at Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place on Saturday night. Also pictured is drummer Dave Betts.

By Joel van der Veen

Honeymoon Suite renewed their vows with hundreds of fans in the Friendly City on Saturday night, headlining a well-received concert at Mosaic Place that served as the conclusion to another successful Sidewalk Days festival.

The Niagara Falls, Ont.-based rockers, fronted by singer and guitarist Johnnie Dee, presented many of the hits that made them one of Canada’s most popular bands throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

These included New Girl Now, the track that got them signed to their first record contract when it won a Toronto radio station contest in 1983, and Wave Babies, on which virtually the entire audience joined in singing the chorus.

Dee delighted the crowd by pondering over the correct term for city residents (“Moose JAY-vians, or Moose JAH-vians?”) and also complimented the new facility in which the band performed, although he seemed to think it still needed to be properly broken in.

“This place looks all brand new,” he said during the band’s opening song, Other Side of Midnight. “Is it brand new? . . . Gotta put some rock ‘n’ roll sweat on these walls.”

Local radio personality Rob Carnie introduced both the opening and feature acts, representing Golden West Radio, who sponsored the concert along with the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. While far from a sold-out show, the event attracted an enthusiastic crowd several hundred strong.

First up was Foam Lake, a Saskatoon-based group featuring four brothers originally from Moose Jaw: Tyler, Kalen, Paul and Barrett Ross.

They presented an engaging and skillful show, including tracks from their debut album, Force and Matter, although Paul Ross noted the audience’s apparent lethargy, asking them at one point to “stop crossing their arms.”

The band — whose diverse sound is described as a mixture of Neil Young-esque guitar tones, the driving beat of the Ramones, and elements of post punk and new wave — also played a track from their new single, which has been released as a flexi disc, a  plastic medium that can be played back on record players.

Appreciative though they were, audience members were clearly saving their energy for Honeymoon Suite, who appeared on stage around 9:30 p.m.

Along with Dee, most of the band’s classic lineup was present, including drummer Dave Betts, lead guitarist Derry Grehan and bassist Gary Lalonde. Also performing was keyboardist Peter Nunn, who has toured off and on with the band since 1995.

For more information, see Monday's edition of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Times-Herald

Geographic location: Friendly, Niagara Falls, Canada Toronto Foam Lake Moose Jaw

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  • robert tucker
    July 08, 2012 - 16:40

    Calling Moose Jaw a City is a joke! Its just a big old dirty town!