Who: Dean Brody Beautiful Freakshow Tour with James Barker Band and Madeline Merlo
When: May 12, 2017
Venue: MTS Centre
Where: Winnipeg, Manitoba
The Beautiful Freakshow Tour came to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on May 12 to a house packed with fans that were beyond excited to see the multiple award-winning Canadian country music superstar Dean Brody. Beautiful Freakshow is Brody’s sixth studio album that was released on October 21, 2016. This album has tracks that feature his classic country style of music plus songs that include rap, reggae and rock influences. And, he brought all that on stage with him. His set was 16 songs long with two encores and that wasn’t long enough for everyone there.
We saw a whole new Dean Brody on stage. Although he is humble, even shy with the boy next-door charm off stage, he exuded energy that was amplified by the crowd jumping out of their seats dancing and singing along to every song. He didn’t just stay on the main stage. Part way through the night, Dean Brody took three members of Brodeo to the far end of the arena where he sat and performed three tunes, “Little Yellow Blanket,” “Brothers” and my new favourite (and one the truly grabbed at the audience’s heartstrings), “Time.” For his final song “Canadian Girls,” Brody once again came off the stage to high five many of the front row fans, then proceeded to walk along the railing and going into the crowd as he sang up close and personal for them.
I think a great point during the show, as he mentioned, is that he actually performed “It’s Friday” on a Friday! That doesn’t happen very often. The second and last song of his encore was “Bring Down the House” and he did.
A fun-loving new Canadian country music band from Barrie, Ontario, was first on the stage for this tour. James Barker Band has been with Brody for his whole tour and they are gaining more fans with every show. They’ve recently released their debut album Game On and they performed five of the six songs from that album. They started off with “Lawn Chair Lazy” and ended with “Living the Dream.” I feel they certainly are doing just that right now. They were phenomenal. A cool moment for me was when they dedicated “Chills” to a Winnipeg tweeter. A cool moment for them, I think, was when they performed “Throwback.” This was the song that had the band sitting at the front of the stage to perform in a laidback fashion, showing their casual, playful side. The best is yet to come for this band.
Madeline Merlo is the 2015 CCMA Rising Star and reigning BCCMA Female Artist of the Year. Winnipeg was her first stop on this west coast tour and she mentioned how nervous she was. One would never know that by watching her. Her powerhouse vocals are truly something special and there is a sweetness to her that makes it easy to just sit back and take in all she has to offer. She has an appreciation for all her fans and this shows when she has interaction with the audience. Very impressive! She grabbed the fans’ attention when she spoke of her upbringing with all genres of music, At this point of her show, along with her guitarist, she grabbed a stool and her acoustic guitar, sat herself down and performed “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams in acknowledgment of her mom’s passion for country music and “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” for her dad’s love of soul music. Merlo was flawless, passionate and pitch perfect.
Her set consisted of songs from both her albums. From her self-titled EP, Madeline Merlo, my favourite was her first single that was released, “Sinking Like a Stone.” From her debut studio album, Free Soul, we heard all of her singles from “Watcha Gonna Do About It” to “Over and Over.” There were blown up plastic palm trees with lights wrapped around them on stage and we found out why when, Merlo performed her soon to be released single “Motel Flamingo.” What a great song it is! And she had a lot of fun with it. Her set ended with the single that deals with mental illness and is heart-wrenchingly beautiful, “War Paint.” When you put your heart and soul into what you do, the outcome is pretty amazing. Merlo is just that!
If you hear that any of these artists are playing near you, I urge you to go. You will not regret it.
For more photos from the show, head to our Facebook page!
2017 Beautiful Freakshow Tour Dates
May 16: Conexus Arts Centre, Regina, SK
May 18: Lloydminster Exhibition – Alberta Building, Lloydminster, SK
May 23: Enmax Centrium, Red Deer, AB
May 25: Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat, AB
May 26: Northlands Coliseum, Edmonton, AB
May 27: Encana Events Centre, Dawson Creek, BC