ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 19, 1986
By Steve Newton
It was East meets West at Expo Theatre on Monday (August 25) when two bands from the other end of the country came to visit. Kim Mitchell from Ontario and Haywire from Prince Edward Island played to a packed house on a hot summer night that was just made for outdoor rock and roll.
Haywire opened the show at eight p.m. precisely. Lead singer Paul MacAusland led the Charlottetown band through seven tunes, most of them taken from the band’s near gold debut LP, Bad Boys. Guitarist Marvin Birt was the instrumental standout in the band, playing some wild Eddie Van Halen “Eruption” licks on the intro to “She’s Not [The Kind of Girl]”, and generally fueling the fire, but on a whole the group’s material sounded too familiar–like so much of what you hear on commercial radio these days–and the crowd responded in kind. MacAusland may be good at jumping up and down and twirling around, but his efforts to get the audience going went unheeded. Even when the band members threw their towels out after a half-hour set, there was no mad rush for the sweaty souvenirs, and usually fans will kill for one of those.
Haywire may be the Maritimes’ most popular band, and good luck to them, but they could use a bit more menace in their approach and a little more grit in their tunes. A mite too tame for these ears, I’m afraid.
Now Kim Mitchell isn’t quite so cute, but he knows how to rock out, and from 9 pm to 10:30 he did just that. Wearing a white baseball cap, red and green striped shirt, lime-green speckled pants and orange runners–and sporting a bright blue guitar–Hogtown’s human scarecrow cut quite a figure. He kicked off with “Get Lucky (Boys and Girls)”, the opening track off his new album Shakin’ Like a Human Being, and in the next 90 minutes played 15 more, mostly from the latter LP and 1984’s Akimbo Alogo. He also treated fans of his old band, Max Webster, to a song off their Universal Juveniles record called “Welcome to the World of Giants” which showcased his speedy guitar style.
Rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Peter Fredette’s vocal contributions were particularly strong, especially when he shared lines with Mitchell on the more laid-back numbers like “Alana Loves Me” and “All We Are”. Mitchell’s current hit, “Patio Lanterns”, had people clapping and singing along, and he sat for a spell in a big hammock-type lawnchair to strum his acoustic guitar, red and green plastic lamps glowing nearby.
His previous hit, “Go for Soda”, had a good portion of the crowd on their feet chanting “Kim! Kim! Kim!”. They brought him back for one encore, the highly potent “Lager and Ale”.