​Jonny and the Cowabungas / Bleu / Maans / Slick Nixon

The Ship, St. John's NL, March 6

​Jonny and the Cowabungas / Bleu / Maans / Slick NixonThe Ship, St. John's NL, March 6
Photo: Heather Nolan
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On a night of brain-freezing temperatures, when The Ship's bar was lined off for the night and coats, scarves and purses were scattered everywhere, Slick Nixon, a five-piece indie rock band comprising a number of seasoned locals, provided the opening chords to a night of music.
 
People started dancing almost immediately. There was a mildly obnoxious and super excited drunk guy trying to claim front centre stage as his own mosh-pit territory and who, along with dozens of others, is singing along to every word. I kicked myself: "How haven't I heard of this band yet?" Despite the temperature, the riffs felt warm and sunny, as if I was listening to Slick Nixon on a beach in L.A. This theme would continue throughout the evening.
 
Up next was Maans. The night was just two sets in and my love of surf-rock was rekindled; that feel-good happy vibe continued, as the crowd started singing along again. The crowd went wild, fist-pumping in time with the drumbeat. Though the band is just over a year old, the tunes were tight.
 
Bleu played its first set ever this evening to a hungry crowd who were excited to hear what would come out of this solo act turned four-piece band. If Marcus McLaughlin had a half a dozen more arms and a few more legs, maybe he would still perform solo, though judging by the crowd, his target audience is now looking for a bigger spectacle, and McLaughlin and crew provided it. Though he refused to admit how his band name is pronounced — Is it French? When asked mid-set, McLaughlin told the audience he'd never tell — he still captivated, and his band emitted a contagious level of excitement.
 
Jonny and the Cowabungas finished off the evening of headbanging, moshing, dancing and crowdsurfing. Wearing tank tops and basketball shorts, they continued the happy beach vibe the crowd was already feeling. Add in an almost inaudible but still appreciated bongo beat and The Ship might as well have been Long Beach.
 
The crowd had ditched their jackets and sweaters, anyway — they wanted to imagine a warm, sunny, happy place away from this cold, rocky island, and the middle of the dance floor, created by the excellent bands on this night's stacked bill, was about as close as you're gonna get to a sandy oasis.
 
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