Review: Great Lake Swimmers with Winterpills

Category: music 109

Wilmot United Church

December 12, 2015

Great Lake Swimmers-2
Great Lake Swimmers at Wilmot United Church | December 12, 2015

Shivering Songs hosted the second in a series of weekend concerts this past Saturday at Wilmot United Church. The evening began with a captivating duo performance by Northampton, Massachusetts’ Winterpills. Phil Price and Flora Reed, two of the group’s five members, made the journey to the Canadian East Coast to open a series of shows for the evening’s headliners.

Winterpills play Americana roots-rock and despite appearing in a scaled down format, they filled their 40 minute set with strong harmonies, great acoustic guitar licks and some wonderful songs. Having not appeared on any of the local advertising for the show, their presence was a nice surprise.  It would be nice to see the full band back sometime in the future.

Next up was Great Lake Swimmers who commanded the audience’s attention from the first note, giving all in attendance a lesson in the power of ensemble performance. Guided by frontman Tony Dekker’s voice and acoustic guitar, the band’s strength is built on collaborative energy they create together on stage.  Drummer Josh Van Tassel filled the room with his immense tom work that provided the perfect low-end compliment to Bret Higgins’ upright and electric basses, while Erik Arnesen’s banjo and lead guitar work paired seamlessly with Miranda Mulholland’s virtuoso abilities on violin.

After a solid 90 minute performance that brought the audience to their feet, the band returned to the stage a delivered a spirited rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hey that’s no way to say goodbye, as the perfect capper to a brilliant night.

The band certainly brought their A-Game for this performance and Wilmot United proved the perfect sonic environment for the band to flourish.

Big thanks to Shivering Songs for hosting two nights of great music. Passes are now available for the 2016 festival. Learn more.

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