Oshawa, ON - Oshawa's Biltmore Theatre has been host to some fantastic live events over the years. There have been a number of great acts to flow through the venue more recently including Big Wreck, ill Scarlet, and Trooper. Just over a week ago another Canadian icon made a stop. That artist was Kim Mitchell, and he brough with him Oshawa's own The Doozies who opened the evening on that Family Day long weekend Sunday.
With my eyes on the music world, especially here in Durham Region, I had heard of The Doozies, but had never had the opportunity to catch them live. So needless to say, I was pretty happy when I learned they would be opening up for the founder of Canadian Classic Rock band Max Webster.
The Doozies are a trio of stringed instrument musicians, with frontman/singer/guitarist Josh Kvasnak, fiddler Sean Battams, and bass cellist Johnathan Sloan. Considering the makeup of the band, the sounds are very reminiscent to the East Coast music that is near and dear to my heart. With my roots in Canada's eastern most province of Newfoundland, it's a sound that immediately places me in a kitchen, on a Saturday evening. With friends and family "popping over" for a visit, the guitars, accordions and spoons are bound to come out, and the music is bound to bring laughter, joy, and more than likely a few pints of beer.
As has been typical for most shows I've seen over the past year, the Biltmore is jam packed before the opening act even hits the stage. As a side note, I think this is an amazing sign for the current state of live music, at least here in the Greater Toronto Area. At 8:00, a bearded trio graces the stage. The fiddle and guitar are weathered. It's a clear sign of their years of well use, an aesthetic that completely compliments the folk music that the band composes.
Early in the band's set, they play a collection of their classic folk sounds, country, and even a cover of the Radiohead track "Creep". Ahead of the song, frontman Josh requests some punked up lighting from the Biltmore's light tech. It sets a somber mood for the lyrically self deprecating track that is all too familiar for the crowd. At the song's conclusion, the capacity crowd belts out the final "I don't belong here" and Josh Kvasnak is amazed at the sound emanating from the music lovers. He loves it! It's a sentiment, and an honor that he bestows upon the fans.
Kvasnak also has a funny side with some laughs about the band's lyrical mantra that all their songs are bout having no money and trying to get girls to like you, or songs like "The Wagon" about unsuccessfully quitting drinking. They clearly have a ton of fun on stage and are all smiles. Just 3 dudes that are completely loving what they do. They are tight knit friends, huddling together and singing from the same mic.
At the band's finale, Kvasnak goes hard to close it off, breaking a guitar string, and fiddler Seann Battams closes the set with a 2 minute fiddle tune to the roar of an appreciative crowd. Definitely fun times, and I guarantee they'd be a hoot on a Saturday night in Newfoundland.
show date: February 19, 2023