Great Big Sea and Stand enjoy loyal fan base here
By GARAUD MACTAGGART
News Contributing Reviewer
Andrew Norman/Buffalo News
WHO: Great Big Sea with Stand
WHEN: Thursday night
WHERE: Lafayette Square
Great Big Sea has a pretty big fan base here. This Canadian band of Celtic-inflected stalwarts drew people from both sides of the border to Lafayette Square on Thursday evening, and the result was a good time for all.
The group is blessed with two good lead singers - Alan Doyle, the more ebullient of the pair, and Sean McCann, who just might have the better voice The other remaining original member of the band, Bob Hallett, is the group's multi-instrumentalist, filling in the aural backdrop with fiddle licks, concertina flourishes and the occasional penny whistle or flute riff.
Replacing Darrell Power, the original bassist, with former Moxy Fruvous rhythm ace Murray Foster didn't seem to affect the close-knit musicality that the founders developed over the years, and the addition of drummer Kris MacFarlane has added punch to Great Big Sea's live show.
It didn't appear that the audience cared whether there was a kit drummer on stage. They reacted more to the material being played, some of it from Great Big Sea's new album, "Something Beautiful," but with most of the tunes coming from the group's back catalog.
In addition to the band's new single, "Shines Right Through," older songs such as "Donkey Ride," "The Night Pat Murphy Died," "When I'm Up" and "Stumbling In" were crowd favorites, causing fans to clap along with beats and sing the lyrics with the band.
Stand, an Irish band that has spent the better part of two years performing from its base in New York City, is no stranger to Buffalo audiences. As bassist Neil Eurelle noted: "This has been the 11th time we've played Buffalo in the past 18 months." The group's manager is a Western New Yorker, which might be the reason the band has built a small but impressive contingent of followers here.
It was, Eurelle said, also the largest audience that Stand has had. During its generous 90-minute set, the group played a number of quirky, guitar-driven slabs of pile-driving rock from its latest album, "Transmissions," in addition to warming the hearts of baby boomers in the audience with covers of tunes by Queen ("Under Pressure"), the Kinks ("Sunny Afternoon") and David Bowie ("Moonage Daydream").