Garry Lowe’s passing from cancer in July not only affected Geordie Johnson and his other Big Sugar mates, but as evidenced by the packed Music Hall and the stacked guest roster, his passing touched many in the music industry.
December 28 would have been Lowe’s birthday so Big Sugar assembled quite the party to honour their friend along with nearly 1500 friends to witness. The evening was divided into two 90 minute sets with a 30 minute intermission in between the sets.
Guests included, but not limited to, a vast range of musicians who worked with Garry Lowe and Big Sugar in some capacity including Willi Williams, Danko Jones, members of Barenaked Ladies, Bedouin Soundclash, Sloan’s Chris Murphy, the Road Hammers, the New Deal and Edwin. Guests performed their own songs or Big Sugar songs or both, but the core Big Sugar band stayed on stage throughout the night.
Highlights included Maestro Fresh Wes powering through “Conductin’ Thangs” backed by Big Sugar. Dream Warriors also had a couple of highlights tearing thorough “Ludi” and “My Definition” to a rapturous crowd. The kids in Crown Lands were impressive. I hadn’t heard of them before but brought a youthful energy to the proceedings.
Molly Johnson was the most impressive, having been there pre Big Sugar. Her guest appearance had the effect of a comforting and reassuring presence, raising the atmosphere to the reverential.
While the night did not really flow in the sense a traditional gig would, I sure do hope that the night’s love-in was recorded for future release. If not, those assembled gathered and had the fortune to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a fitting tribute for a presence that not-so-quietly dominated over the musical landscape.