Alan Doyle, former front man for Great Big Sea and more recent solo artist, entertained current fans and newcomers to his music at the Royal Theatre last night. File photo

REVIEW: Soaring vocals, rousing beats bring Alan Doyle audience to its feet

Newfoundland musician thrills fans at Royal Theatre

By Jennifer Blyth

Monday Magazine contributor

With a generous serving of traditional East Coast tunes and rock-infused favourites, paired with plenty of heartfelt stories and good humour, Tuesday’s Royal Theatre audience savoured the ingredients for the finest kitchen party Victoria has seen for awhile.

Maybe since the last time Alan Doyle was in town!

“We’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time,” the former Great Big Sea frontman told the cheering crowd.

Backed by his Beautiful, Beautiful Band – including Kendal Carson, a fiddler with deep Victoria connections – Doyle promised possibly “the greatest kitchen party in the history of British Columbia.”

What followed were rousing renditions of traditional, sing-along tunes like “Captain Kidd,” “Lukey’s Boat” and “Old Back Rum plus songs from last year’s Week at the Warehouse release, previous solo albums and Great Big Sea favourites.

READ MORE: Western waterfront calls to Alan Doyle

Local folk duo Ocie ElliottJon Middleton and Sierra Lundy – opened the evening with a set of original songs, including several from their recent release: the title track “We Fall In and the second single from the album, “Run to You.”

The pair’s heartfelt harmonies were a good lead-in to Doyle’s powerful vocals.

Sharing stories of growing up in the small Newfoundland town of Petty Harbour, where the Doyles were the minstrels of the town, the engaging entertainer continued the tradition.

From the bluesy “Testify that got people to their feet to the powerful a capella song “Dream of Home that concluded the extended encore, Doyle rewarded longtime fans and likely won any newcomers in the audiences.

Additional performance dates follow in Nanaimo and Campbell River, but Doyle encouraged audiences to invite him back to Victoria – or to visit Newfoundland (Canada’s Hawaii, he jokes).

From the enthusiastic response, there’s a good chance local audiences will accommodate.

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