Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada – Queen Victoria Park, across from the great and mighty Niagara Falls, was host to the city’s annual New Years Eve Party. Organized by the Niagara Parks Commission and its sponsors, the site drew about 20,000-25,000 people despite the hard rains and mild temperatures. A weather change compared to last years roughly -25 with windchill factor!
The first two bands, local musicians Avenue Inn and the Saskatchewan natives The Sheepdogs, took the brunt of the bad weather. Luckily the hard rain had tapered down to a drizzle and towards the last half of the event eventually stopped.
Having to deal with the rain and the high winds at times just goes to prove the level of commitment and professionalism these bands brought to the stage. If it wasn’t for the hair flick from Ewan Currie to move his hair out of his face or a shake of the head to detour the rain from his eyes, you would have no idea how hard the rains were coming down.
Avenue Inn was the first to take the stage and get the crowd warmed up. Seemingly unaffected by the wind and cold rain, the Niagara Falls locals have been playing all around southern Ontario since forming in 2012. Taking their inspiration from the Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon, and the Arkells, these four young gentlemen were the perfect way to get the crowd moving and keep them warm as well.
The Sheepdogs are a three-time Juno award winning group, beating out thousands of other artists by winning a battle of the bands contest back in 2011 to appear on the Cover of the Rolling Stone Magazine, along with a record deal with Atlantic Records.
Also not phased by the high winds and harsh rain, The Sheepdogs graced the stage and immediately the growing crowd was dancing and singing along to hits such as “Nobody”, “I Don’t Know” & “I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be”. Often called the Canadian Allman Brothers, the Sheepdogs state that they, “not only do they want to make killer albums, that people really want to listen to but they also want to have a really reputable live show”. Once you see and hear them live you can see that they have definitely accomplished that goal.
It was a great night and the staff from the Niagara Parks did an excellent job hosting the event. Unfortunately and out of their control was the heartbreaking passing of Mike “Beard Guy” Taylor from the Burlington, Ontario band Walk off The Earth. Of course, due to the unforeseen circumstances the band had to cancel their performance to honor Mr. Taylor.
Keeping the show rolling before the headliner Burton Cummings came to take the stage, his band The Carpet Frogs played some good ‘ol Rock and Roll cover songs from bands such as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash, just to name a few! With their high energy and vast list of cover songs, they had no problem getting the audience ready for the main event!
About a half an hour before midnight, Burton Cummings, the Canadian rock icon himself, took to the stage and sat down at his keyboard – ready to rock and roll into the new year.
Once settled, Burton not only thanked everyone for coming out and braving the wind and rain, but he also mentioned how honored he was that the roughly 25,000 person crowd was also there to celebrate his 71st birthday with him! Playing a few songs before the big celebration and fireworks at midnight, Burton and his band rock and rolled into the New Year with another set. They played tunes such as “Hand Me Down World”, “Albert Flasher”, “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature”, and “American Woman” to a grateful crowd who was ready to start their journey into a great year, filled with love and happiness for all!