Ian Blurton has a long and storied career in Canadian rock, going back 20 years, as one of the nation's most vital artists; his band Change of Heart played a large part in igniting the renaissance of independent music in Canada. Though it's sad to see a musical pioneer can't fill a small venue like the Dom on a Friday night (though the turnout was fairly good), he can still rock the place harder than any of the nation's stadium-filling platinum sellers.

Opening the show was BBQ, the one-man band who's been a vocalist in the Spaces**ts and drummer for Les Sexareenos. His soulful croon is second only to Mick Collins' and his fine original material (and a cover of the Rolling Stones 'Out of Time') went over well. Unfortunately his encore was cut short when his pawnshop guitar finally succumbed to the abuse and snapped a string.

Then — after a decent break to wrap up their Scrabble game — it was C'mon's turn to unleash the massed power of amplification on the Dom audience.

Blurton's new power trio is rounded out with his partner, KatieLynn Campbell on bass (a role she also fills in Nashville Pussy) and Randy Curnew of Toronto hard rockers Swallows (in which Blurton has also performed).

Curnew and Campbell make for a powerhouse rhythm section, and the limber Campbell is also a dynamic stage presence, stomping and stalking around the Dom's small plywood raiser, bending and swaying while laying down her fuzzy licks. This is one woman I would never challenge to a limbo contest.

Blurton's muse has lately taken a sharper turn toward hard rock, and his music combines the fat, sweet distortion of Kyuss with the punch of groups like AC/DC and The Pink Fairies.

Lest one confuse C'mon with a number of retro-rockin' dinosaurs, Blurton's guitar playing remains refreshingly unhindered by the usual outline of the pentatonic minor scale that's served as the backbone of rock'n'roll since Chuck Berry's days, and his lead work can be offbeat and surprising, though it's not as willfully peculiar as some of his earlier playing.

His tenor voice is remarkably clear (or maybe it just seems that way in contrast to his bearded wildman image) and cut through the bands distortion quite well. Though their set was brief (though not as brief as their debut LP, which clocks in at 10 songs in 24 minutes) there was no wasted time. I've been cool on some of Blurton's previous efforts, but their Friday night show was a knockout.

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Commenting On: Dominion Tavern, Ottawa, 18/6/2004 - C'mon with BBQ

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