It was just recently disclosed that Flash Lightnin’ has secured the opener slot for a number of ZZ Top’s Canadian dates.
Right now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Who the heck is Flash Lightnin’?"
To give you a better idea about the opening act set for next Wednesday night at Westman Place, their sound and to some extent, their look — well, it is very similar to the headliners.
I’d even go as far as saying when Flash Lightnin’ hits the stage, it might seem as if ZZ Top jumped into a time machine and set the controls for when they first started in the rock ’n’ roll biz. Seems fitting since this Toronto-based power trio has been borrowing the boogie-woogie stylings of Billy Gibbons and company from the get-go.
Birth of the band:
Their legend was born in 2007 at the Dakota Tavern, a wood-panelled and raucous basement bar in the heart of the Toronto’s Queen West district.
With their extraordinary chops and reverent, yet contemporary, approach to blues-based southern rock and roll, Flash Lightnin’s weekly residency at the Dakota quickly became one of the hottest nights in the GTA.
These whiskey-soaked Wednesdays also emerged as an important gathering place for Toronto’s musician community, as the band’s proficiency and explosive stage show earned them an overflowing audience that regularly included members of Broken Social Scene, Blue Rodeo, Billy Talent, Feist, and Metric.
Like an emergency-room doctor delivering a jolt to a flatlining patient, Flash Lightnin’s motis operandi is to wake the masses from its musical stupor.
The group consists of Darren Glover on guitars and vocals, Darcy Yates on bass, and producer Gavin Brown, who does double duty on the record, both twiddling the knobs and pummelling the drums.
"Basically, we want to be the biggest rock band in the world," Glover says.
And that’s why they enlisted Gavin Brown to produce. With an armful of JUNOs on his mantle, gold and platinum records crowding his walls, and a client list that includes Billy Talent, Three Days Grace, Metric, The Tragically Hip, and many more, Brown is one of Canada’s most successful and sought after record producers.
One listen to "For The Sinners" and it’s obvious that Flash Lightnin’ isn’t willing to settle for good enough, almost there, or second best. And you know what, neither should you!
Their debut EP "Destello" (pronounced des-TAY-o, meaning "flash" in Spanish), released in 2008, was an ambitious effort as the group produced it themselves.
The self-produced and semi self-titled effort features six original songs that capture the electric intensity of those sweaty nights at the Dakota.
The band boldly wears its influences however they wish. In fact, while most bands wear their musical influences on their sleeves, it would be safe to say Flash Lightnin’ wear their influences on a nude body suit covered in rhinestones.
Those influences not only include ZZ Top but a good mix of everything bloozy, from the Rolling Stones to Jack White.
The strength of that recording earned Flash Lightnin’ opening slots for the likes of Eagles of Death Metal, Metric and even accolades from Glover’s idol, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.
In 2010, they released their self-titled sophomore release "Flash Lightnin’," which includes 10 songs, some of which you’ll hear if you’re in the crowd next Wednesday.
The recently released "For The Sinner" album is their second full-length release and is garnering airplay in many rock radio markets across Canada.
The songs on the new disc are aggressive, succinct, and delivered straight from the gut. The record bristles with intensity. It’s the sound of three killer musicians pushing the envelope and playing like their lives depend on it. The result is electrifying.
Their sound was once described as "bad-ass sludge-boogie" (think heavier and louder Big Sugar).
To me it’s almost like they were made for this tour — it must be like a dream come true for the guys.
Their shows are generally a sweaty, beer-swillin’, raucous time, with electric guitars maxing to the drum slams. It’s fast-paced, in-your-face, loud rock.
There’s lots of electric guitar to the max on all three of their discs, so if you’re into anything from ZZ Top to the Black Keys cranked to 11, you’ll definitely want to pick one or all of them up. Their tunes are truly a bolt to the senses.
So, come celebrate the next best thing in hard-core boogie rock next week at Westman Place when Flash Lightnin’ opens up for ZZ Top. I guarantee they’ll provide a helluva lot more than just background music while you’re standing in the beer lineups. People in those lineups will be boogying!
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.