By Darren Hancock / Concert Review / January 22, 2017 Tim Hicks with Jason Blaine and River Town Saints at First Ontario Concert Hall

Tim Hicks “Shake These Walls” tour 2017
Concert review by Darren Hancock
Rivertown Saints
Jason Blaine
Tim Hicks
The walls were definitely shaking in the Hammer when the top talent in Canadian Country music took to the stage at FirstOntario Concert Hall for the first Ontario show of the “Shake These Walls Tour 2017”. Due to a series of unfortunate events I only caught the tail end of the Rivertown Saints’ set, as they performed their hit “Cherry Bomb” to close their show – and they sounded great!
Linda Martelli from KX 94.7 hosted the evening, and introduced Jason Blaine who started his set with his hit “Country Side”, followed up with “On A Night Like This” and “Back To You”. Jason gave plenty of shout-outs to the city of Hamilton, the Rivertown Saints and Tim Hicks during his show. He was proud to announce the video for his next song “They Don’t Make ’em Like That Anymore” just exceeded over 1 Million YouTube hits, and was co-produced by none other than Jason Barry, who was standing beside Jason as his guitarist… there were lots of lighters and cell phone flashlights illuminated in support of this great ballad that pays tribute to his grandfather. Jason then started rocking the show with hip tunes like “Cool”, and introduced the audience to a potential new single from his upcoming album, a song entitled “Ain’t Got Growing Up Down Yet” – a fast, wordy, catchy number – and the crowd loved it..!! Next, he walks to the back of the stage and dons a baseball cap, on backwards as if to signify things are about to get serious, and finishes his set with a kicking version of “Rock It Country Girl” that left everyone wanting more.
After a brief intermission, the lights fade to black, and ominous music fills the room. In the dimly lit stage the Band members could be seen taking their positions, putting on their instruments, and getting ready. Then from the side of the stage out comes Tim Hicks, guitar strapped on and arm raised in the air… the crowd went crazy. With a shout out to Hamilton, Tim and his band kicked into his first song – the title track from the new record – “Shake These Walls”, a catchy song with typical radio potential like Tim’s many hits. His second selection “SlowBurn” is one of my personal favorites (admittedly I have a few favorites of his) followed by “Hell Raisin’ Good Time”, at which point he introduced 3 enormous black-and-white beach balls to the crowd, who was more than happy to keep them bouncing over the fans heads.
Next Tim yells into his microphone “Do You like to party in the Hammer…..?” followed by raving fans in affirmative response, to which he says “So Do I” as the band begins to play his hit song “So Do I”. This high octane performance is followed by a tune from the new album featuring some banjo called “Let’s Just Drink”. How can you lose with a song title like that? Singing hit after hit, I began to ask myself how many singles he has left to play… turns out there were many. His next number “Young Alive and in Love” featured four jet streams shooting up from the front of the stage, making great “wooshing” sounds that were louder than the band.
Tim then removed his jean jacket… indicating the show was about to get real. He explained that the next song is one of the few he didn’t have a hand in personally writing, but heard it while in Nashville and had to record it. Called “We All turn to Dust and Bone”, it’s about not being able to take your possessions with you when you go, so live it up now! He performed a song he said he wrote for his wife called “Slide Over” about spending more quality time with your loved ones. “She Don’t Drink Whiskey Anymore” resulted in a stadium full of cellphone flashlights and lighters waving in the air above the heads of the enthralled crowd.
Then in a surprise twist, Tim calls out Jason Blaine to sing with him on “I Got A Feeling”…. the fans went insane! Jason and Tim started “crowd wars” during the song, pitting one side of the concert hall guests against the other to see who could scream the loudest, while Tim tossed out camouflage ball hats to the lucky folks who had front row seating. Just when I thought there were no hits left, Tim began getting the crowd to sing the “woah-woah-woah” vocal line to “Stompin Ground”, followed up with his early fan favorite “Get By”, which everyone sang along to every word. he then claimed to feel like rain was coming, confirming with his guitarist that he also felt a raindrop… then “Here Comes the Thunder” kicked into gear with heads bopping everywhere. Tim thanked the crowd for coming out and wished everyone a great night, the band put their instruments down, and the show concluded.
…or did it?

Suddenly the Tim Hicks backdrop banner fell to reveal a red logo of a bottle of beer with a muscular arm doing an arm-curl… the crowd went totally ballistic. Tim and his band returned to the stage to a wave of applause, and he introduced the “song that wasn’t supposed to be a song”: “Stronger Beer”- a Canadian fan favorite, and everyone knew the words and sang along. Tim and his bandmates closed the show with a tune I had not heard before from the Shake These Walls album called “Forever Rebels”, leaving the crowd satisfied and wanting more at the same time. A night of true rocking Canadian Country hits, with amazing light shows, guitar picks thrown out to the crowd, this show fits at the top of any concert. I ran to beat the crowd to the merchandise table to get my Tim Hicks Shake These Walls tshirt, with Jason Blaine 5 feet away from me patiently signing autographs and taking pictures with his fans; a true class act. Photo By Dwight Edwards

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