New Music for Old Rockers – Oh, Canada Edition

In all my rushing around for business travel and then vacation travel, I didn’t want to overlook a review of one of my favorite concerts of all time that I attended last week. I was in St. Louis again last week, ready for some live music, so I hit the Ready Room.

Ready Room

It is an intimate venue that holds 750 general admission concert-goers. But surely Canada’s own Strumbellas would easily sell out a 750 capacity venue. Not so fast. I’m not sure they even wanted to be performing that night. There was a competing event that night that would thin the crowd and shrink ticket prices. With hints like Canada and St. Louis, can you guess the event?

It was the night of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup hockey finals featuring the St. Louis Blues. Maybe we had 500 at the concert, and I was able to snag my $20 ticket for $6 to see one of the best concerts I have ever attended. But before I get to the Strumbellas, there was an opening act that I did my best to miss. 

California indie art-rockers The Moth and The Flame opened for the Strumbellas, so I arrived fashionably late to miss them. Not late enough. I caught their whole set. Their first song rocked, but after that all I can say is that they weren’t terrible, so I busied myself with a craft sour beer. Should we do another Brew Review within another blog post for the second day in a row? Why not?

I tried a Bel Air Sour by Brooklyn Brewery that coincidentally happens to be located in Brooklyn, NY. They describe their Bel Air Sour as “… full of surprises. Our sour ale starts up with bright notes of tropical fruit yet finishes crisp and gently tart. It’s a trip that’s laid back, breezy, and completely refreshing.” I am unable to dispute any of that. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a sour, it has no bitterness. 5.8% alcohol by volume, so it has a little giddyup to it. If you see it on tap or on your store shelves, my advice is to drink it. Uh, pay for it first, and then drink it.


Instead of looking like a doofus attending a concert by himself, I looked like a doofus drinking a beer attending a concert by himself. But I was thrilled to get to see the Strumbellas for 6 bucks. I consider their 2016 album Hope to be a classic packed with great songs including an all-time fave of mine called “Spirits.” I have expressed in this blog my displeasure with their first single from their new 2019 album Rattlesnake. I was wrong. Hearing it live, I realize that “Salvation” is a well-crafted pop song. Nothing special, but a good song nonetheless. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a well-crafted pop song.

The Strumbellas played some fun older songs, hits like “Spirits,” and their latest single from Rattlesnake called “I’ll Wait,” previously positively reviewed on this blog. Wow, that’s a lot of links to click. But the Strumbellas are so fun. Click, link & enjoy the music of the Strumbellas and my insightful blog posts.


Now why are they so fun? I think it is because they are Canadian. I can’t recall ever meeting a Canadian I didn’t like. The Strumbellas were so fun, especially the admittedly nerdy keyboardist with the DAVE hat.


They joked with the crowd, played games with us, and seemed to generally have a good time despite missing championship hockey. However, they appeared to not recognize me as the guy standing in the back by himself with the sour beer when I literally almost ran into them outside as I was walking to my car. My brush with Canadian greatness.

Then I heard the Strumbellas are coming to Chicago this summer for a FREE show on the lakefront. If you have never been to Chicago, it is one of the world’s great cities and the lakefront is amazing. I would love to see the Strumbellas on Chicago’s lakefront, but I will likely pass. They will perform at Taste of Chicago that literally draws hundreds of thousands of people per day to the shores of Lake Michigan.

taste of chicago

Borrowing a song title from the Strumbellas, “I’ll Wait” for another time to see them next while I savor my fond memories of the Strumbellas at the Ready Room.