REVIEW: Midnight Shine – CBC Plaza, Vancouver – July 19th, 2019

CBC Plaza Vancouver

Midnight Shine are in town to attend this weekend’s Vancouver Folk Music Festival.  Hailing from Northern Ontario the band came together almost as a happy accident.  As Adrian Sutherland tells it, he was invited to open for Trooper in a show in Timmins but needed to find a band to back him up.  The band that was only supposed to be around for one good show, is, eight years later still going from strength to strength to strength.

Before hitting the main stage at the VFMF on Friday night the band checked in to the CBC Plaza in Vancouver for what, I think, has been the heaviest show so far. Adrian’s voice backed by some metal-like shredding from guitarist Zach Tomatuk, were backed by bassist Stan Louttit, and the bands newest recruit, drummer, Charnelle Menow.

The roots rockers have a very broad appeal, with songs that range from ballads to full on ragers, the lyrics are just as strong as the music during largely from the bands collective experience living in the far north. Their latest claim to fame is a cover of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold which mixes English and Cree lyrics. It was this song that the band closed this afternoon’s set with to rapturous applause.

Although I will miss their show on Friday evening, I look forward to seeing with at the festival when they take stage on Saturday with Alberta’s Copperhead, and Celeigh Cardinal. There is still time to pick up tickets, but you will have to be there early as they are scheduled to play at 10am.

If you can’t make it to the festival this weekend, then you can pick up music by the band at the usual outlets. The band have three albums under their belt, the self-titled Midnight Shine, Northern Man, and the latest High Road.

As well as playing damn good music the band are active in bringing attention to issues faced by people living in our northern communities.  Adrian Sutherland relayed his own personal experience of having three generations of his family, including his kids, growing up without access to clean drinking water. This is something that most of Canada takes for granted.

Midnight Shine are Adrian Sutherland, Zach Tomatuk, Stan Louttit and Charnelle Menow.

You can follow them at

Gallery: Stewart Johnstone