Submitted by Hywel Davies
Shred Kelly could quite literally be the physical embodiment of Fernie. Stoked on life, stoked on music, but most of all, stoked to be playing here where they belong.
Life on the road has done Shred Kelly well. Touring most parts of British Columbia and Alberta, and even going as far as Ontario, this group of high-on-life misfits have only one goal in mind: to rock your socks off.
The band last played in Fernie in January for a CD release party that kickstarted their cross-country tour. Saturday’s show was their valiant return home.
Stepping inside the Fernie Community Centre, the night already had the potential to go down in Fernie history as being legendary with the show being billed the band’s farewell to the city before they embark on a European tour later this year.
Locals, newcomers and just about everyone in between amassed in the hundreds to get inside. The door and bar staff all ready and dressed in their finest retro gear (in anticipation for this Wednesday’s “Hot Dog Day” one would assume), it was time to get the show on the road. Keeping things local, Fernie’s favourite female trio, the Hark Raving Sirens, got the ball rolling with a harmonious set that started to excite the crowd. Their unique style of crossbreeding different genres never fails. Arguably the best singers in the Kootenays, the trio stepped off the stage to a roaring crowd who simply couldn’t get enough.
Taking the perfect opportunity to get the crowd into overdrive, Calgarian-born Cow Puncher didn’t hold back. To stand directly in front of the speakers would be at your own risk; just the way rock and roll should be. Right from the get-go, Cow Puncher exploded with fist pumping anthems that got the adrenaline flowing.
Bassist Shari Rae capitalised on the generous space she had to work with. Never staying in one space, the five members couldn’t contain themselves — a wondrous sight to see rock in its natural environment. With a light show that could rival that of The Who, lead singer and guitarist Matt Olah quite simply kicked a lot of ass, demonstrating how a rock show should be.
Silhouetted by streams of smoke, the audience simply could not contain its excitement upon seeing their local heroes Shred Kelly take to the stage. All smiles from lead singer and banjo-shredder Tim Newton, as he opened with a blistering riff that blew the roof off the community hall.
The biggest thing that you could take away from this evening was the bond struck between Shred Kelly and their fans — a unique quality that doesn’t come around often. The devotion and love shown from both sides of the stage is what makes seeing Shred Kelly live so special.
Between the dancing and the drinking, a member of the devoted crowd decided it was best to show their gratitude by presenting their stoke-folk idols with a stuffed moose head. That’s dedication!
“It’s definitely the most fun we’ve ever had!” keyboardist and singer Sage McBride said, “It’s all of our friends from the past, people coming for their first show ever and people who bring a moose head and put it on stage. You just never know what’s going to happen!”
The festivities went well into the early hours of the morning with the crowd still wanting more. In a final encore, the audience were treated to a medley of Shred Kelly’s own “I Hate Work” meshed with Loverboy’s 1981 glam rock classic “Working for the Weekend.”
The buzz that surrounds Shred Kelly and the reputation they have built over the years has been nothing but staggering. The future looks bright as they get set to play the Winnipeg Folk Fest in July and are set to undergo a European tour in October.
From all us in Fernie, we wish them well.