Photo by Jon White
Coldsnap – 28 January 2014 Edition
by Jon White, Multimedia Reporter
When Ali Henry & The Northern Boyz, David Myles and Royal Wood took the stage on Tuesday 21 January, they were welcomed by an enthusiastic and sold out crowd. Those lucky enough to get a seat were rewarded to see the artists representing the fifth day of Coldsnap 2014. The continuing support of the community towards this festival is impressive, as it allows a variety of talented musicians to come to Prince George to entertain.
The show started by the host thanking the sponsors and giving a brief warning to turn off cell phones and refrain from taking pictures, before Ali Henry & the Northern Boyz took to the stage to open the show. The combination of Henry’s talented voice with impressive range, along with the jazzy/bluesy sound put forth by the band really captivated the audience. Playing some cover songs such as “At Last” along with original songs “Madame X” and “My Love,” Ali’s five song set was a crowd-pleaser as she was able to coax the congregation to just chill out and relax as they would not want to miss a moment of the show. As much as Ali’s voice was captivating, she made frequent notions to The Northern Boyz, allowing them to have solos for their saxophone, bass or guitar so the spotlight was not always on her. The sharing of the spotlight went over well, as each climax of a solo was followed by an enthusiastic applause from the crowd, even if it was during a song.
David Myles took the stage soon after Ali Henry and The Northern Boyz left. There was a brief introduction before Myles and his counterpart for the evening, Alan Jeffries, burst into the single “So Blind.” After the first song, Myles introduced everyone to Jeffries and then regaled the crowd with a story from his trip about last year’s show. This is the second year in a row for Myles’s performance at Coldsnap and he was ecstatic at the growth of attendance for the event. Myles’s set was a combination of songs and storytelling, which made for a personal and entertaining balance of music and laughs. Each song was preceded by a story about how he came about to write it, but he tossed enough jokes into the mix to allow the stories to come across as comedic storytelling. This combination of singing and joking resonated with the audience, allowing for an intimate experience, much like one would expect when enjoying the company of an old friend. To add to the personal experience, Myles even allowed a fan to propose to his girlfriend on stage during the song “We All” (she said yes). The coldsnap press release claimed that Myles is “Somewhere on the spectrum between James Taylor and Justin Timberlake… David Myles has truly forged his own path by embracing modern and vintage pop, folk and soul music.” After sitting through his set, it is impossible to argue the fact that Myles has an eclectic mix of influence and sounds for his music, playing everything from folk to ballads to the song that allowed him to win the Juno award for Best Rap Recording (“Inner Ninja”). When they finally left the stage, David Myles and Alan Jeffries exited to a thunderous standing ovation. The singer was also friendly enough to stay in the lobby after both his and Royal Wood’s sets in order to meet fans and sign autographs.
After a 15 minute intermission, Royal Wood took the stage with his band and the people welcomed them with a strong applause. Wood also made sure to engage the audience by cracking some jokes, including commenting on the suddenly vacant seats that were in the front row (the newly-engaged couple had left to celebrate). These seats remained vacant for the final act, so Royal invited some of the people in the back to come up front to “the really sweet seats.” He also commented that he recently took a song request from a fan so the fan could propose after the show (Royal later learned that she said yes). Royal also made sure to talk between songs, although definitely not as much as David Myles did before him. Royal gave small snippets on the origins of writing the song before he played it, but it was during every other song as opposed to preceding every song. He also made sure to get the audience involved by singing along or clapping, although sometimes people just knew to do it without any prompting. Royal made sure to expand his arsenal of songs, playing everything from his hits like “Forever and Ever” and “Not Giving Up,” to the new songs that are coming out on his upcoming CD, like “Irish Road.” Royal’s recent awards and nominations impressed the already captivated crowd, which rewarded Royal with lots of heavy applause and cheers. Royal also jokingly hinted about doing an encore by sheepishly telling the audience what to do if they wanted it. He and the band came out for a two song encore, finishing the concert with the bittersweet song “Acting Crazy (It’s a Breakdown).” Despite leaving the audience on a bittersweet note, there was a standing ovation, deafening cheers and roaring applause for Royal Wood.
The night concluded with an exuberant response from the crowd as Royal Wood took the final bow. The artists were amazed by the reaction and turnout, showing how successful the festival has become. Everyone came out to enjoy a night of music and one would be hard pressed to find someone who was disappointed in what was presented to him/her. Coldsnap is an annual event that takes place every January in Prince George. The event is gaining a lot of popularity, as the host reminded everyone that every show was sold out, except for a few tickets available for the Friday show. With any luck, the artists who performed Tuesday will be returning next year to an even bigger venue.