Toronto rockers Coney Hatch then and now. The spandex is gone and their hairstyles may be slightly different but their melodic hard rock sound remains as solid as ever. Catch them in action at The 40 this Saturday night. Tickets are $15 in advance at the front desk of the Trails West Motor Inn or pay $20 at the door. Brandon’s Fargen Gruben will play an opener set. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Come early for a sizzling steak sandwich for only $6.95.
Sure they recorded their biggest rock radio hits more than 30 years ago, but if you crank those tunes up to 10 on your stereo, you’ll soon hear why those tunes stand up to today’s hard rockers.
The cover for the Coney Hatch album “Four”, which was released last September. (SUBMITTED)
"Monkey Bars," "Devil’s Deck" and "Hey Operator" are just a few of their best that still receive airplay on many a hard rock station to this day.
Any guitar aficionado or classic hard rock fan will tell you these "Hatch" tunes kick some serious butt. "Monkey Bars," in particular, includes quite possibly the best out-of-key guitar solo ever to be recorded and distributed to the general public IMHO.
The band was named after the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum (18511993) in London and they were once dubbed "the Loudest Band in Toronto."
Coney Hatch formed in the late ’70s and began recording and touring in the early ’80s. This hard rock four-piece unit was also once regarded as the kings of the Toronto club scene.
Furthermore they were one of many bands from that scene to attain a record deal and rise above said scene. Most bands that came out of the bar circuit back then managed one or two albums, a couple of major Canadian tours or support slots with American counterparts or label-mates and then wound up in the "where are they now file."
But not the Hatch.
They recorded three albums on Anthem Records in Canada and Polygram for the rest of the world. In support of those albums they toured throughout Canada and parts of the States with some of the best in the rock ’n’ roll business.
After those three releases and many miles of success and rocky road under their belts, original members Andy Curran, Carl Dixon, Dave Ketchum and Steve Shelski went their separate ways in 1986. The days of opening for the likes of KISS, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick, to name a few, may be over but the Hatch are far from over.
In fact, they are back with a vengeance!
Present day Coney Hatch may lean more on the melodic rather than metal but the combination of those sounds are still served up by the band with a rejuvenated energy. You can hear it in the grooves of their latest album "Four", which was released last summer.
The story of their reunion is an amazing journey that only fate could be responsible for.
Late one night, on his way home from a recording session in Australia, a weary Carl Dixon had a near fatal head-on car collision that left him clinging to life.
While Carl was still in an induced coma, his wife reached out to the other members of Coney Hatch and asked them to offer words of encouragement over to the phone to Carl. She held the phone to his ear as he lay unconscious in his bed.
"I told him to get better quick," recalls Curran. "I said we had a lot more rockin’ to do with Coney Hatch. I really didn’t think we’d play together again but it just came out of my mouth… and Carl remembered it!"
Dixon returned to the stage with his three original bandmates in August of 2010 in Hamilton in front of 7,500 hungry Hatch fans.
News of that show travelled fast and the original Coney Hatch was soon invited to play Firefest 2011 for their first time ever in the UK. The rave reviews flooded in after that sweaty night in Nottingham and the band returned to their homeland to find a record deal offer waiting for an all new Coney Hatch release.
"All of us are thrilled to have recorded a fourth Coney Hatch record," Curran said. "We never thought it would happen but the stars aligned and hell froze over! The new material feels like it could have been the record after ‘Outa Hand’ before ‘Friction’... It’s raw and not too over-produced, but still has that vintage Hatch sound.
"Sonically we did a ‘2013 LA Botox facelift’ job and it sounds pretty fresh. The recording process was extremely challenging as the four of us all live separate lives in four different towns. It was honestly like herding cats, but eventually we got them all in the same bag!
"We’re very happy with the final outcome."
Free concert wraps up summer
The City of Brandon is extremely pleased to offer a free evening of music to wrap up the summer months. The second annual Summer Lights Music Festival takes to the stage "under the trees" on the Keystone Centre’s southeast grounds this Sunday, Aug. 24.
This event boasts performances by Brandon’s own oneman band, Shotgun Jimmie, and Winnipeg-based singersongwriter Kris Ulrich. Headlining the evening of FREE m u s i c a l entertainment for all ages is the Bros. Landreth, an altcountry group from Winnipeg who are currently nominated for multiple 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Performances run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for their listening comfort. Food and beverage vendors will be available on-site, and free parking is available in the Keystone Centre parking lot.
In the event of inclement weather, the festival will be staged at The 40 nightclub under an all-ages license. Watch www.brandon.ca for more details about the festival.
THE 40 PRESENTS THREE-BAND BLAST
The night before Coney Hatch invades Brandon, The 40 presents a three-band B-Town band blast! Check out stellar sets from Balloons for a Million, Just 4 Kicks and Fargen Gruben. Doors open 9 p.m., with the first set starting at 10 ($5 cover at the door).
Frank McGwire is a veteran of the local radio industry, a musician and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 21, 2014