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L.A. Beat

Trooper, Petunia and Papa King rock in the new year

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I only caught a handful of the many New Year’s Eve gigs happening as wind and snow blanketed the city to ring out 2016.Petunia and the Vipers playing  the Slice for New year’s Eve. Photo by Richard Amery

 I expected the Owl Acoustic Lounge to be packed for Papa King Cole, who had Darryl Düus on lead guitar and Scott Mezei on bass while King held down the rhythm and vocals.

 Surprisingly there weren’t a lot of people there , approximately 40, by the time I arrived just after 10 p.m. . But I arrived in time to catch the end of their set, which featured Düus howling the blues on  “Sweet Home Chicago” and an amped up version of Jimmy Reed’s  “Bright Lights, Big City,” which had a couple of couples dancing in the aisles.Trooper’s Brian Smith and Scott Brown playing New year’s Eve at Exhibition Park. Photo by Richard Amery
 As they took a break, I headed over to the Slice, also expecting it to be packed as the snow started really coming down, but there was plenty of room as Burning Bridge just ended and Petunia and the Vipers were just getting underway around 11 p.m.

You never know what to expect at a Petunia and the Vipers show, other than you know they will be good. And they were.
 They added a trumpet player, so they showed their gypsy jazz and western swing side, but still with their own traditional country style stamp on it
 They played a quirky and upbeat set which had most of the audience dancing in 2017.

 They were just getting warmed up as I left as I wanted to make sure I caught one of my all time favourite bands, Trooper over at Exhibition Park’s North Pavilion.
 This is where everybody was as the show was sold out with the room full of 650 New year’s eve revellers. While I missed the actual countdown, I did catch most of Trooper’s hit heavy set.

 I arrived just after midnight as frontTrooper’s Ra MaGuire playing with the corwd for New year’s Eve at Exhibition Park. Photo by Richard Ameryman Ra Maguire strummed his acoustic guitar for their 1991 hit “ American Dream” and 1989’s “Thin White Line.”  The biggest hits were yet to come as well as the obligatory drum and keyboard solos. They played an expected tight set. Maguire was still hitting those high notes and baseball cap sporting lead guitarist Brian Smith grinned throughout the night playing stunning guitar solos first on an old white Stratocaster then switching to his Les Paul, as Maguire switched T-shirts for  the band’s biggest hits.

I heard most of the songs I wanted to hear like “ General Hand Grenade, “ Santa Maria,” a couple of slower ones like “Janine” and the biggest hits “Boys in the Bright White Sports Car” and “Raise a Little Hell,” which officially ended the set, though I’m sure they returned for an encore.

Papa King playing New Year’s Eve at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Photo by Richard Amery
 A highlight , other than watching Maguire leap around like a man half his age, was Gogo’s keyboard solo, which included a lot of crazy classic music inspired playing and even a few bars of “Auld Lang Syne.”
 Slower songs like “Janine,” allowed the Vancouver classic rockers to show off some impressive multi-part vocal harmonies.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 January 2017 11:45 )  
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