LITTLE CURRENT—The return of live music to the Flat Rock Entertainment Centre (FREC) in Little Current hauled in a respectable crowd as fans of rock music joined some of their favourite bands for a weekend of the old loud and proud.
The evening took a bit of a sombre turn when FREC co-owner KT Timmermans dedicated the weekend to her husband’s best friend, Todd (TC) Corbiere, the popular Little Current mechanic who passed away on Thursday. A resounding round of applause greeted the dedication, witnessed by Mr. Corbiere’s children backstage, along with more than a healing tear among Island members of the audience.
Friday’s lineup began with Sudbury cover band Toe Jam Tequila, which also provided the entertainment on this year’s inaugural boat tour with North Channel Cruise Lines. The Friday roster included some of the most famous names in Canadian rock history, including Sweet (originators of the glam rock genre), multi-JUNO award winner from Montreal Sass Jordan and (we won’t call him iconic) Canada’s preeminent celebrant of summer, Kim Mitchell (see the interview with Mr. Mitchell below).
Ms. Jordan was taken on a tour of the Island by FREC co-owner Craig Timmermans and the musician related the incredibly overwhelming sense of spirituality that came over her when she woke in her hotel room. “Spirits filled the room,” she said, adding “they were positive spirits, welcoming spirits.” Ms. Jordan said that she found the Island incredibly wonderful. “This is my first visit here,” she said. “I had heard about the Island and always wanted to come. I will certainly be back when I have some time in my schedule to fully appreciate it.”
First out of the gate on the second night of Rockin’ the Rock were Lively’s own Pop Machine, a young rock group of three women and two men who are out there paying their dues with a selection of popular rock covers mixed in with original music. The quintet of siblings Cassandra and Chris Walli, identical twin sisters Emily and Candice Duval and Keegan Beaulieu warmed the audience up nicely for the older acts that followed.
What a follow up it was. Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd played a collection of old and new favourites, including several songs that Mr. Gilder wrote for other artists; Streetheart wowed the crowd with a powerhouse performance that belied the age of most of the members and Honeymoon Suite showed there was no slowing them down as they closed out the night.
The weekend proved a fitting tribute to the late Mr. Corbiere, with an audience that spanned numerous generations, with more than a few grandparents in the crowd sharing their love of rock with their children and grandchildren—but the event was licenced and open only to those 19 and over.
Although alcohol was flowing, with Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha taking a two-hour turn at slinging beer, both evenings were “peaceful” with no altercations or negative vibes to be found. A certain rock concert scent wafted across the grounds, but these days the doobies do not have to be kept on the downlow and yet were remarkably less common in evidence than during the heyday of rock concerts where most of the bands cut their teeth.
All in all, a great weekend of Rockin’ the Rock.