Walking Shadows at Grizfest

Lynsey Kitching

Ready for some good ol’ rock and roll? Well if so, you shouldn’t miss the Walking Shadows performance at Grizfest on Sunday.

Lead guitarist and singer James Mannion took a few minutes to sit down with the TR News and talk a little about what fans should expect at the show.

With members Brian Bray on bass; Bobby Gail on drums; and Mike Todd on lead guitar  and vocals, this classic rock and blues cover band has got the crowd up dancing and grooving during their past performances at the Trend Mountain Conference Centre, the Legion and, if the writers memory serves her right, at the Coal Bin.

So what should people expect for the big show at Grizfest?

“A good solid set of rock covers. We are trying to stick to the upbeat tempo songs for Grizfest cause we’ve only got an hour and 15 minutes with setup and tear down. We’ll be playing mainly rock/blues, more on the bluesy side,” says Mannion, then with a smile, “Hopefully energy, and life!”

The reason he says this is because he works nights and often when the group plays shows during the day he doesn’t get to sleep, for example the show they played at the Legion for Canada day. “That is usually what I havta do,” says Mannion, “Go to work and then the next day, for example the Canada Day at the Legion, I didn’t sleep and just went straight to play for, like, two hours.”

Now that’s dedication.

The group has been trying to prepare for the big stage as much as possible, but sometimes, work gets in the way of play.

“It’s hard ’cause I work nights all the time and they work days all the time. Before we knew it, it was two weeks and we just needed to practice. We’re trying to get Bobby to play drums as much as he can, but it’s kind of hard because he works a lot,” says Mannion.

Drummer Bobby Gail will soon be leaving the band and they will be looking for a new drummer; something most bands need, on top of at least one solid guitar player.

Mannion himself has been playing guitar since he was about ten and says with a cheeky smile, “It’s all I used to do back in Britain ’cause I didn’t have a job. I tried to make money that way.”

When he first moved to Tumbler Ridge (it will be two years in November) Mannion was on the lookout for people to play with, as back home, he and his two best friends learned everything together.

“I spent months playing on my own and I was so used to playing with people, I was kind of bummed out a bit, cause I couldn’t find anyone to play. I ended up finding people to play and then they would play with me,” he says, “I learned with two brothers, my best friends, we learned how to play together, how to harmonize together and stuff, and their dad had been in bands, he had a lot of pointers for us. He always tried to get us to sing songs in a normal accent and then try to deliberately put on a Scot accent or an East Indian accent just for fun.”

Well, though they may not be singing in fancy accents (though who knows what may happen) the Walking Shadows are sure to put on an entertaining and rockin’ performance. See you there!