Lonnie Glass of Thunder Road singing with bandmate Shelley Sweet Potato Brown. (Debra Lynn photo)

Lonnie Glass of Thunder Road singing with bandmate Shelley Sweet Potato Brown. (Debra Lynn photo)

Thunder Road – A Bruce Springsteen Experience rocks Port McNeill on a Saturday night

As the show went on, the intensity gradually grew for both band and audience


The Thunder Road concert held at the Gate House Theatre on April 23 not only featured the music of Bruce Springsteen, but it was also quite the party!

I’ve often pondered what prompts people to form a tribute band. I now realize that it is because they find they were born with a famous voice. In the case of the lead singer, Lonnie Glass, the similarity of his voice to that of Bruce Springsteen is uncanny. It is a very deep throated masculine voice that is ideal for emulating the hard-working blue-collar rocker-type music of Springsteen. He certainly looked the part too, wearing a visor, jeans, and a plain t-shirt. He also had the well-defined arm musculature of someone who looks like he’s swung a few hammers in his time.

The evening started out on a high note and went higher. This was facilitated by the relatively large band that produced an intense wave of sound in the small theatre. As the show went on, the intensity gradually grew for both band and audience. Several audience members got up and danced. The Marine Detective—Jackie Hildering—was so taken by the performance she spent most of the evening dancing at the side of the stage! She was joined from time to time by many others. By the end of the concert more than a dozen people were dancing before the stage. A couple of young women made their way right onto the stage to do the dosey-doe with Glass! The “party” even included the singing of “Happy Birthday” for one audience member.

I think it is quite the feat to go on stage night after night and perform. You can’t just “do the job,” you must really put yourself into it. The success of a performance, I think, is measured by energy, by the “spirit” of the show. At this, I think, Thunder Road succeeded, as was evidenced by all the audience participation. I suppose this was accomplished, in part, by the fact that they seemed to be having a good time. Along with Lonnie Glass on guitar and vocals, this group also included Charlie Fox on keyboards, Sheldon Bordal on bass, Alex Campbell on drums, Shelley “Sweet Potato” Brown on acoustic guitar and vocals, Stewart McLellan on strings, Paul Wainwright on sax and Sarah Smith on guitar and vocals. Apparently, three band members were unable to make it to this show. I wonder what the intensity would have been like with them included?

The opening act was Sarah Smith, who later joined the band in the main act. Smith, a folkish type of artist, has an outgoing temperament and, consequently, a good stage presence. She has a good range in her voice: she can really belt out some notes but can also use her sweet, soft voice, too. I’d classify her as an all-round good performer. It was regular “folkish-sounding” music, but with her own distinctive sound and message. Her “signature style” comes from life experience and/or a deep dive into her own psyche.

Debra Lynn has a BFA in art and design from the University of Alberta and an MA in art education from Concordia University in Montreal. She is the instructor and coordinator of the “Little Picassos,” “Paint Club” and “Adventures in Art” art programs for kids in Port McNeill

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ConcertsLive music