If you’re a music fan and haven’t heard of Jesse Roper, you’d better start doing your research. If Thursday’s show at the Tidemark Theatre is anything to go by, he’s going to be a star.
Roper opened for 2011 Peak Performance Project winners Current Swell, filling in for The Cave Singers, who are opening for the band on the rest of their current tour, and many were surely left watching for the announcement of when he’ll be back. (By the way, he’ll be at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay Jan. 23, for those in attendance who didn’t get enough.)
A dynamic and intense performer from down Island – Metchosin, to be specific – Roper had the audience in awe of his percussive, soulful guitar sound and powerful vocals, keeping the capacity crowd energized and mesmerized despite being alone on a big, mostly-empty stage with only an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a cajon.
Then it was Current Swell’s turn, and despite nobody in the theatre wanting Roper to stop, they were surely not disappointed by the performance that followed.
The Victoria band – the night before beginning a tour that consists of eight shows in nine days stretching from Whistler to Winnipeg and back to Edmonton – gave the Campbell River crowd a forceful, high-energy show that consisted of music from their entire five-album catalogue. From their ska-style early stuff of a decade ago, heavy with horns and reggae beats, to their newer, country-infused slide-guitar twangy rock that had the crowd in the aisles dancing, every note and beat change was on the mark.
By the end of the show, every seat was empty – not because everyone had left, but because the whole room was on its feet.
It’s no wonder they get booked for shows like Canada Day at the Legislature and fill rooms in venues from here to Brazil.
And maybe they’ll be back. It’s really not that far for them to travel, after all.