Melanie Peterson: Live at Clifford Brewing Co.

Melanie Peterson

Team GDW recently enjoyed an extended weekend in Southern ON (to unofficially celebrate the arrival of spring), spending three nights in three different postal codes, and taking in three consecutive evenings of live music to boot.  Believing that our travel plans were finalized, a last-minute online announcement from Toronto-based singer-songwriter Melanie Peterson advertising a casual Sunday afternoon gig caught our attention – especially as we would both be pointing our vehicles towards the city of Hamilton around the same time. Suddenly the addition of a fourth live music event became a reality.

We last caught up with Melanie at Burlington’s Sound of Music festival last summer, and took great delight this past Sunday arriving at Clifford Brewing Co. in east Hamilton to spend some time with her once more – hey, it’s always nice for an artist to see some familiar faces in the crowd, right?  Accompanied by Peter Collins (bass/vocals) and “Lucky” Pete Lambert (drums/vocals), the trio would add guest-guitarist (and Hamilton’s own) Frank Koren, who added so much extra punch with the ringing tones of his custom-painted Telecaster.  Oh, and lest we forget Audrey, Melanie’s canine companion, who made sure the band played tight and did not miss their cues. “She’s our little mascot,” Melanie offered mid-set. “She loves the sad songs.”

Sticking to the same successful formula as witnessed last summer, the band chose to perform both their 2020 “We Got This” and 2022 “We Got This – Side Two” EPs in their entirety – and sequentially, with only “Tightrope” being dropped from the set this time around.  “How are you guys doing this afternoon,” Melanie asked. “It’s kind of cool to play some tunes on a Sunday afternoon.” Taking time to share some insights about releasing the first EP during the pandemic, Melanie would explain that the title track earned plenty of airplay on CBC radio – “because I think a lot of people were struggling in their relationships.” With no ‘festival stage’ time constraints this time around, however, Melanie and her band had the opportunity to add many additional tunes to their set list – some old, some new, and some popular covers too.

Melanie Peterson

“So, I was named after the folk singer Melanie Safka. I don’t know if any of you guys have heard of her?” Melanie offered, prior to performing the first of three covers during the latter half of the show. “But we’re gonna do one of her songs today, because she’s a good singer, and this is a good song. If you know it, please sing along.” Some quick guitar rings from Frank definitely prompted a few nods of appreciation throughout the room. “Well, I’ve got a brand-new pair of roller skates / You’ve got a brand-new key / I think that we should get together / And try them on to see…/ Oh, I’ve got a brand-new pair of roller skates / You’ve got a brand-new key.

Mixing in a pair of new and unreleased tunes, including one “about a busker in love,” the band would ultimately close with their singalong cover of John Denver’s “Country Roads” – complete with additional high-and-low end guitar twang from Frank, and enthusiastic participation from the room when prompted.  With a solid 1 hour and 10 minutes of non-stop entertainment, Melanie and her bandmates sure made our ‘bonus’ concert was a fun and memorable one for our first visit to Clifford Brewing Co. With a selection of great hand-crafted brews on offer, we’ll definitely be back. And yes, a six-pack of their East Hamilton Lager made the journey back to PA with us…

Set List:

  1. Back To You
  2. Do You Want To Be Loved?
  3. Damaged Goods
  4. Tailspin
  5. We Got This
  6. Somebody’s Somebody
  7. Diamonds And Pearls
  8. Heaven On Earth
  9. One Tequila
  10. Ruined Lovin’
  11. Passenger Seat
  12. Brand New Key (Melanie Safka cover)
  13. Unbreakable
  14. Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson cover)
  15. Love You Tonight (**New**)
  16. Cinema Girl
  17. Corner Of Your Street (**New**)
  18. Country Roads (John Denver cover)

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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