On Friday, September 13th, BUSU’s annual Rock the Block event was held on Rosser Avenue in Downtown Brandon. Flushing last year’s April Wine, My Darkest Days and Down with Webster from our systems were 80’s rockers Helix, rock-turned-country star Dallas Smith, and Saskatchewan’s own Sheepdogs.
While some initially questioned the selection of a country gig for an outdoor concert event generally dominated by pop-rock gigs, Dallas Smith proved himself more than worthy of the stage. Charming rock and country fans alike, Smith played some of his chart-topping hits like “Jump Right In” and “Nothing But Summer”, as well as hits from his disbanded alternative rock group Default.
“I thought it was awesome; I loved it!” said Brandon University student Kelsey Labossière. “I’ve never been before and I think it’s cool that Brandon and BU can put on something so cool. [I] absolutely LOVED Dallas Smith and loved that they threw in some country too.”
The Sheepdogs definitely delivered as headlining act. Playing hits “The Way It Is”, “Feeling Good”, and “I Don’t Know”, the beardacious group clad in plaid pleasantly responded to the crowd’s request for an encore.
“It was sort of a slow build-up from Helix up to the Sheepdogs,” remarked Brandon University student Amber Schroeder, “[…] but the Sheepdogs were definitely my favorite. They had a great sound and good energy.”
Though the Sheepdogs satisfied their reputation of “good, heartfelt, no-nonsense guitar rock tailor-made to slam back a few beers with your buds, and…spark up a little bit of magical herbs to get nice and mellow,” the environment of the event wasn’t entirely appreciated by all in attendance.
“I really enjoyed the mix of music genres,” noted one individual in attendance, “however law enforcement could have been doing a better job of reducing the amount of illegal activity. It was hard to enjoy the show when there was a lot of weed everywhere stinking up the place and making those who get sick from it uncomfortable.”
To the contrary, Schroeder “really enjoyed the atmosphere there. Everyone was there to have fun and have a good time,” she said. “[…] I didn’t go last year but I would go again next year if the bands are as good as this year’s.”
Overall, the sentiments of recent Assiniboine Community College graduate Jeremy Kaskiw are largely echoed among those at 2013 Rock the Block: “It was freakin’ awesome!”