National Arts Centre plays host to the unstoppable Barenaked Ladies

For long-time and casual fans of Barenaked Ladies, catching the Fake Nudes tour stop at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa was the perfect opportunity to rekindle their love for the band.

Pulling from their latest release, Fake Nudes, past classics, and paying special attention to the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Gordon, the show was high energy, comedic, and inviting.  Banter shared between band members was familiar and hilarious; as jokes revolved around everything from the supreme genius of opener Ron Sexsmith’s songwriting skills to the narrow and confusing passageways of the newly renovated NAC. (“HOW DID I END UP IN HULL?!” exclaimed Ed Robertson, echoing the frustrations of many new Ottawa drivers.)

The BNL of 2017 makes sure each member of the band shares the spotlight. Admittedly, the result can feel a bit overcompensating for those who may not have given the band a chance since the departure of Steven Page; but felt welcome to this long-time listener, who always felt that the band’s strength was just as much in its tight musicianship as it used to be in its two frontmen.  In addition to the performance of the smooth and beautiful “We Take the Night,” Jim Creeggan is given not one, but two bass solos. Kevin Hearn’s quiet spotlight brought poignant reflection, as he coupled  “Invisible Fence” with the story of his participation in Gord Downie’s first performance of Secret Path last fall at the NAC.  The night’s encore (by which time, the Southam Hall audience was on their feet) was given completely to drummer Tyler Stewart, who mixed the Stunt classic “Alcohol” with a medley of Led Zeppelin staples while Robertson took over drumming.

The thing is to remember about Barenaked Ladies is that they have an almost 30-year history of powering through adversity.  Uncertainty the success after Gordon, band member departures (Page wasn’t the first!), and a cancer diagnosis and recovery during the period of their greatest success.  Throughout it all, they have always retained an unbreakable spirit that leaves their audiences dancing in the aisles and cheering for more.

Ron Sexsmith:

Barenaked Ladies:

For more photos from the show, head to our Facebook page!

Connect with Barenaked Ladies:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Connect with Ron Sexsmith:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Born and raised with thoughts and aspirations of becoming a famous bassist in Sarnia, ON; Emily Plunkett now lives in Gatineau, QC, and considers National Capital Region home sweet home. A product of the Beatles, MuchMusic and the Southwestern Ontario summer festival circuit (circa 2000), her interest and love in concert photography came almost completely by accident when her journalism program at Algonquin College required courses in photojournalism (and she quickly realized that photos taken at concerts using a DSLR are enormously better than ones she was taking on a point-and-shoot she bought for a trip to England). She is extremely proud of the fact she has seen Sloan in some form or another 25 times.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login