Whether one plays sports or enjoys the arts, “a win is a win.”
A Kamsack audience of around 100 people reaped the benefits of a “win” at a concert on Saturday night at the Playhouse when an up-and-coming band with strong hometown ties gave a memorable performance.
A member of the group Dead Levee, Rylan “Ray” Klapatiuk, was born and raised in Kamsack, and the performers were “on fire” as they gave an inaugural concert at the Playhouse.
Dead Levee lived up to its promise to deliver a “spectacular rock n’ roll show” and then some.
The evening started with a warm-up act performed by Jayden Raabel of Kamsack, a friend of the band. Raabel, saying it was his first-ever live stage performance, has a mellow, laid back style, and delivered a wide-range of musical offerings from Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan, to Johnny Cash with Folsom Prison Blues.
The Playhouse was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the main act, which took to the stage around 8:30 p.m. and “owned it” for the next two hours, starting with a hard-hitting rock n’ roll tune.
“Hello Kamsack. Show us some love,” said frontman and lead vocalist Dane Von Hagen to the audience as he introduced Rylan Dusyk on slide guitar, Taylor Morgan on Bass, Preston Laschuk on percussion and Klapatiuk on lead guitar.
The band delivered a high energy rock show, complete with smoke effects, guitar stunts including the “upside down guitar man,” and audience interaction made possible by wireless instruments.
The band members are young, all in their early twenties, but they exude a confidence and style of veteran performers, interacting seamlessly onstage. Add to the fact that these five have only been together for less than two years and one begins to understand the magnitude of their individual and collective talent.
Although a stiff northwest wind was blowing snow flurries around outside, inside the Playhouse the Kamsack audience was basking in its own climate of “Love all the time,” a mission statement that Dead Levee embraces and exudes.
The band performed original tunes from their debut, self-titled CD, including Outside the Lights, Transistor Love and Retrospective.
The covers they sang were easily recognizable, but were made distinctly their own: The Weight, by Canadian group The Band, evoked Woodstock on the Kamsack stage; Rocky Mountain Way, a Joe Walsh tune, and Rock and Roll (It’s Been a Long Time) by Led Zeppelin.
Saying “Let’s party!” the group broke into a fast-paced medley of Elvis hits, including Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock.
Von Hagen shared an intimate and memorable soliloquy with the audience when he spoke of how Dead Levee has a mission statement of “All love, all of the time,” and encouraged audience members to “go home and pick up the phone and call the people you love and tell them you love them.” A simple, yet powerful message to receive at a rock n’ roll show that contained a smattering of country and blues.
The high-energy, hard-hitting, concert was reminiscent of a bygone era of confident rockers who have graced numerous stages in the past, including the likes of Jim Morrison and The Doors. The look, the sound, the moves, the intensity the sheer entertainment; Dead Levee has that, and more.
After the concert, the audience chatted and took “selfies” with the personable members of the band, who seemed to have unlimited energy.
Klapatiuk’s parents, grandmother and extended family were members of the audience. “I’ve seen them play probably more than a dozen times, said Janet Klapatiuk, Ray’s mother. “They get better ever time I see them.”
“They sure put on a fantastic show!” “These guys are good!” Sure glad I came to this concert!” and “Wow! Loved it!” were just a few of the comments head from audience members who left wanting more.
Memories were made, fans were cemented, and just maybe, Dead Levee will go on to “put Kamsack on the map.”