Grandstand Music Stage
Embark on a trip down memory lane this fall by coupling your top fair eats (like back bacon on a bun) with the fan-favorite anthems of The Trews featuring Julian Taylor Band, Marianas Trench featuring Virginia to Vegas, and Co-headliners Trooper and Platinum Blonde - find more information below.
Concert tickets include admission to the Fair
Tuesday, September 10th
Headliner: The Trews
The Nova Scotia-bred, Hamilton, ON-based combo of singer/guitarist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek, and drummer Chris Gormley — songwriters all — has won universal acclaim for both their dazzling live performances and wildly accessible songs. The Trews have been one of Canada’s most successful rock bands of the past decade, earning 17 Top 10 Rock radio singles (including two #1’s) and two Gold-certified albums (House Of Ill Fame; Den Of Thieves). The quartet has also received multiple East Coast Music Awards, a CIMA Road Gold Award, an Independent Music Award (US) in 2009 for Best Rock / Metal Song, and numerous JUNO Award nominations.
The band’s current, sixth studio album, the towering and multifaceted Civilianaires, was cut in Toronto with fast-rising producer Derek Hoffman and features marquee assists from Arkells main man Max Kerman, super-producer Bob Rock, and celebrated singer/songwriter Serena Ryder and received a 2019 Juno Nomination for Best Rock Album.To date, The Trews have played over 1,000 shows worldwide, on their own as well as supporting the Rolling Stones, KISS, Robert Plant, Guns ‘n Roses, Kid Rock and Bruce Springsteen.
Opening Act: Julian Taylor Band
The voice drifting into the lobby from the soundcheck sounds so timeless it might be emerging from some ancient well of souls at the end of the world, but it’s also fresh and vulnerable. Sometimes he sings in riddles celebrating sexuality, courting, pleading, lonesome and profound. Other times, lost in the dreads, the voice comes up out of the shadow summoning ancestral tones of Maroon resistance or slipping into a high Mohawk register.
So…not a monotone experience at all. And well beyond stereo. In fact not of any one genre. Not limited that way. You get doors opening on doors. There’s no dissonance. In fact it’s a harmonic whole. Not a revivalist, but a musical revisionist, Julian Taylor masterfully re-combines and updates the vintage sounds that inspired him, to create bold, innovative songs.
Taylor, of both West Indian and Native Canadian descent, is a charismatic frontman, prolific songwriter, and endearing individual – the kind who immediately connects and makes you feel at ease. That character of warmth and generosity permeates everything Taylor does. A calm, somewhat self-effacing person offstage, Taylor morphs into an intense, incendiary and almost shamanistic presence onstage. Toronto poet Robert Priest describes him as “the kind of artist forever in the zone, the voice limitless, the songs full of feeling and memorable hooks.”
Wednesday, September 11th
Headliner: Marianas Trench
Increasingly people are saying that the album is dead. With Phantoms (604 Records) Marianas Trench prove that the reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. “I think we’re going to see more artists just releasing singles,” says Marianas Trench’s Josh Ramsay, “but that doesn’t inspire me.” What does inspire Ramsay is creating a self-contained universe for the band’s songs to exist in. On Phantoms, a house possessed by the spirit of lingering loss whose inhabitant is driven to madness by the ghost of a former love.
The band drills down into the consequences of that loss deeply on lead single, ‘I Knew You When’ – a track that showcases Ramsay’s staggering vocal range and the band’s ample musical chops in equal measure. Like past records, Phantoms finds the Vancouver-based four-piece pushing their musical boundaries relentlessly. From the jaw-dropping a cappella opener, ‘Eleonora’ to its unapologetically epic closer, ‘The Killing Kind’, Phantoms sheer emotional weight and brutal honesty will leave a lasting mark on listeners.
“It’s about messy, real-life love with consequences; a relationship that takes years to build,” Ramsay says. “And Phantoms, I think, will allow people to connect on their own stories to the ones that we’re sharing.”
Opening Act: Virginia to Vegas
Virginia to Vegas, aka Derik Baker, is an American-born Canadian singer-songwriter. After being discovered on YouTube, Baker was signed to Wax Records in 2013 and released his first single “We Are Stars” January of 2014. Baker is best known for his indie-pop choruses and sticky electronic melodies, which have awarded him critical acclaim and several platinum certifications. In 2018, Baker expanded his reach internationally, co-writing the single “IDWK” with blackbear and DVBBS. Virginia to Vegas recently dropped his EP Hartand St., which includes the new single “Just Friends.”
Thursday, September 12th
Co-headliners Trooper & Platinum Blonde
It goes like this: millions of records, a couple dozen hits, a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) for Band of the Year and ongoing sold-out shows across Canada. Universal Music acknowledges them as “one of Canada’s top five selling bands of all time” and the Vancouver Sun has called them “Canadian rock heroes of the first order … the best performing band in Canada”.
Trooper’s ten studio albums have earned multiple gold and platinum awards and their 6 X Platinum greatest hits, Hot Shots, continues to be one of Universal Music Canada’s best selling catalog CDs and one of the country’s most enduring party soundtracks. In celebration of the band’s 35th anniversary, a totally updated and re-mastered collection - “Hits From 10 Albums” - was released, featuring songs spanning the entirety of their recording career. John Kereiff, writing in Gonzo Magazine, dubbed the collection “THE summer album of 2010.”
“We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)”, “Raise a Little Hell”, “The Boys in the Bright White Sportscar”, “Two For the Show”, “Pretty Lady” “Good Ol’ General Hand Grenade”, “Round, Round We Go”, “Santa Maria”, “Janine” - just a few of the Trooper hits that, according to writer Ryan Sparks, “have woven their way into the fabric of this country like no other bands have been able to do. Tune into any radio station from Vancouver to St John’s and you’re bound to encounter one of their dozen hit radio anthems that are still featured in heavy rotation to this day.”
It’s no exaggeration to say that Trooper has become a Canadian legend. They continue to perform their huge collection of hits with the vitality and sense of humor that has served them well on their steady march through the hills and valleys of Canadian Rock and Roll.
Platinum Blonde is a New Wave group that was first active from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. The band originally consisted of Mark Holmes from Mansfield, England on vocals and bass, Sergio Galli on guitar and Chris Steffler on drums. Scottish musician Kenny MacLean later joined the group as the bassist. The name of the band was inspired by the 1931 Jean Harlow movie Platinum Blonde.
The band’s popularity on the airwaves led to a triple platinum (300,000) album, featuring four hits including two Juno Award nominations: “Standing in the Dark” and “It Doesn’t Really Matter”. Their music videos were placed into high rotation on the newly created MuchMusic, a national music video network. In 1985, the band released a second album called Alien Shores, featuring the addition of a fourth member, Kenny MacLean. “Alien Shores” went five times platinum. Hits from the second album included “Situation Critical”, “Crying Over You”, “Somebody Somewhere”, and “Hungry Eyes”.
Platinum Blonde was inducted into the Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame on March 12, 2010.