What can be said about the legendary Mike Blackmore that has not been said before other than he is bordering on mythical? He is one of the most versatile musicians in the city with the ability to entertain an audience no matter what he does or how many people are on stage.
For the October 7, 2016 performance at Cheeky Monkey’s First Friday event, he chose to play beside himself in the guise of ‘Blackmore + Blackmore’. The name did cause some mild confusion, but once Mike started playing it became clear he was his own one-man-band. Utilizing a looping machine, Mike laid down tracks as his background to play in front of. Sometimes he recorded drum beats using his ever present d’jembe. Sometimes it was guitar rhythms and he’d bring the d’jembe front and centre. Either way, it sounded great. He has used this looping technique in previous shows here, but this time it was implemented much more. Also we noticed less songs with vocals. Mike created, what sounded like polished yet spontaneous, intricate instrumental pieces that were simply beautiful. When he did sing, his rich, deep voice added yet another warm element to the songs.
While Mike took a break, some of the cast members from ‘Rock of Ages’ the musical being performed at Imperial Theatre starting October 21st, stopped in to sing a few songs. We expected perhaps four or five members, but were pleasantly surprised to see it was more like 15 of them. For those not familiar with the musical or movie, it follows the journey of small town girl and big city boy looking for their big break in the Hollywood music scene of the 1980’s as told through the hit songs of the era. The Theatre Sarnia cast, all in character, did a great job singing songs so familiar the audience joined in on many of them.
Also at Cheeky Monkey, outside on the corner on the beauitiful fall evening, were members of the Girl Guides selling their delicious mint cookies. We have heard they had very good sales and lots of fun seeing all the goings on during First Friday.