BY AMANDA LOGAN, FOR THE LEADER-POST
Get ready to experience a different Big Sugar – just as sweet but in a fresh way.
The band has been touring acoustically, including an upcoming Feb. 17 gig in Saskatoon, promoting its latest album Yardstyle – a refreshing acoustic sound that gives the act a different dimension.
“It’s not any different direction than we’ve already been in,” said lead singer and guitarist Gordie Johnson. “I think the thing that stands out most about the record, if you check it, is it’s completely acoustic. Wooden instruments – we’re playing without electricity of any kind and it really allows all of the different musical influences to show through, which is reggae – the rhythmic element of it, but also blues, jazz and folk that influenced us early on that sometimes doesn’t stand out as easily in the electric show because the electricity kinda takes over.”
The band – comprising Johnson, Garry Lowe (bass), Kelly Hoppe (harmonica/sax/melodica), Friendlyness (keyboards) and Stephane Bodean Beaudin (drums) – have been taking their laid-back sound on tour since the end of January.
“People have been feeling like they joined in on something as opposed to the electric show, which is us pushing forward and people are overwhelmed with the vibration of the music,” said Johnson.
“In this instance, we draw the crowd closer to us, because it’s quiet, it’s easy on the ears; I can talk to the audience about the songs a little bit, get some crowd participation. People can sing along and actually be heard. It’s more communal.”
There is one other big difference about this tour.
“It’s something that really touches us all deeply. For the first time, we have partnered up with a charity – with World Vision – and we have selected a single village in Ethiopia and we are trying to get our fans to work with us and sponsor the kids of this village so that we can get them all in school,” said Johnson.
“So to be able to partner up with World Vision and do that and actually look at the pictures of the kids that we’re getting sponsored every night, that gives you a nice feeling. When I pick up a guitar and I think, ‘I’m sitting here singing and I’m getting a kid an education – literally.’ That’s a major difference.”
Feb. 17, 8 p.m.
Box office: 306-652-6556, www.broadwaytheatre.ca