It was a sold-out evening in Essex for the official Chaps & Spurs Country Festival Kickoff Concert inside Essex Recreation Complex on Saturday night (March 2). Country fans gathered not only to hear the announcement of the festival, but to rock out with two of last year’s performers, Eric Ethridge and Buck Twenty, with a surprise appearance by Bob Quick and the Blues Brothers Dance Revue.
While the complete festival lineup is still to be announced, headliners The Hunter Brothers and The Road Hammers were announced for the Aug. 16 and 17 shows at the intermission.
Bob Quick and the boys did a quick set of Blues Brothers favourites, in full costume, giving the show an exciting and fun start. Although, not really a live performance, the guys were absolutely a blast and a great little surprise from promoter Joe Garon.
Buck Twenty returned to the stage for the first time since November. This up-and-coming Harrow band has been enjoying some success with their single ‘Here’s to the Nights,’ which reached #58 on Canadian Country Radio Charts a couple years ago. They’ve been working some new material and gave fans a sneak peak of some of those new tracks at the show, including the upbeat and catchy Last Night’s Blue Jeans.
A highlight of the set was a killer version of Jimmy Eats World’s The Middle, followed by a mini-medley of 90s hits Dust On The Bottle, I’m In A Hurry and Mr. Jones. By this point, the crowd was rabid. Buck Twenty owned the audience at this point and could have literally did anything and they would have eaten it up – instead, they kept the music going and eventually ended with an inspired version of Here’s to the Nights.
Eric Ethridge is on a quick rise to stardom. The Sarnia country hero is becoming a household name in the Canadian country music industry, mostly from the success and sales of his self-released debut EP. It debuted last year at #1 on the iTunes Country charts and was streamed over three Million times in the first six weeks of its release. His last single ‘California’ spent time as the Most Streamed Canadian Country Song in Canada and was certainly a highlight of the show.
Eric is a fan favourite because he interacts with them, sings with them and leads the party like a true champion. His short 75-minute set was lively, energetic and passionate. He left the fans wanting more, except for maybe Tianna Towriss, who he brought on stage for his take on the Dan + Shay hit Tequila.
Along with tracks from his EP, Eric played a couple new songs and rocked the crowd with a little Bon Jovi and Journey action.
Eric Ethridge joins the family at Canada’s Boot and Hearts festival this year at Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte, On from August 8 to 11.
The crowning moment of the entire show was the Chaps and Spurs announcement, which just teases a full festival announcement that’s coming in the future. The entertainment line-up announced so far, includes:
Friday, August 16
RYAN CONNOLLY & THE MUD SLINGERS
Saturday, August 17
THE ROAD HAMMERS
For more information visit the Chaps & Spurs Country Festival on Facebook.
All photos by Dan Savoie
Bob Quick and the Blues Brothers Dance Revue: