Toronto hovered around the freezing mark on Friday, but inside of The Phoenix Concert Theatre, things were hot, sweaty, and fired up as James Barker Band brought the Game On Tour to town with Meghan Patrick and Jojo Mason.
As one of the fastest risers on the Canadian country music scene in the last few years, James Barker Band (JBB) have gone from the small stages in local bars, to the stages of sold out country bars in the city, and now they’ve hit a new level as they sold out The Phoenix – just nine months after they released their first EP at Canadian Music Week 2017.
The Game On Tour is in full swing, and if what we saw in Toronto on Friday night is any indication, there are going to be a lot of satisfied country music fans across the country when it’s finished. All three acts on the bill brought their A game to the stage, playing hits, fan favourites, and peppering in a few fantastic covers that only added to the excitement in the crowd throughout the night.
Jojo Mason kicked off the night with a tight 25 minutes of music that revved up the Toronto audience and started the temperature rise in the building.
The Saskatchewan native looked right at home at The Phoenix, hitting the stage with his band and bringing the energy that he’s become known for. And as the 2017 Canadian Country Music Association Rising Star nominee rolled through songs like Red Dress, Good Kinda Love, and his current single, Edge Of The Night we could hear the crowd singing along simultaneously warming themselves up and getting the party started.
By the time Jojo wrapped his short set with It’s All Good, it was clear that things were only going to get louder and hotter on the Toronto stop of the Game On Tour. Jojo Mason did his job, and we should all be looking forward to the next time we get to see him on stage.
More photos below…
Jojo Mason Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto
🎤 Edge Of The Night 🎤 Red Dress/Chicken Fried 🎤 Good Kinda Love 🎤 Something To Wrap My Heart Around 🎤 No Diggity [Blackstreet] 🎤 It’s All Good
After a brief intermission, Meghan Patrick, the 2017 CCMA Rising Star and Female Artist of the Year awards winner, hit the stage at The Phoenix.
The Bowmanville, ON star came armed with a 10 song set that included songs from her debut album, Grace & Grit, and her January 2018 release, Country Music Made Me Do It. And as she played tracks from each album, the crowd got louder, more involved, and showed her the love that the pseudo-hometown concert had to offer.
Note: Meghan also took the chance to wish a happy birthday to the one and only Dolly Parton before she broke into a rousing rendition of Jolene.
Accompanied by a full band of five dudes on stage, Patrick’s sound was full and tight. Her voice, which has always been a strength, ripped through the speakers and met the voices of the Toronto fans as they sang along with her.
And to see and hear those country music fans sing along to new songs like Country Music Made Me Do It and George Strait with the same love that they use to belt out Grace & Grit and Bow Chicka Wow Wow serves as a confirmation (not that it was needed) that Meghan Patrick truly has become a star, burning bright and hot in Canadian country music.
More photos below…
Meghan Patrick Setlist, Game On Tour, Toronto
🎤 Hardest On My Heart 🎤 Long Way From Waylon 🎤 Country Music Made Me Do It 🎤 George Strait 🎤 The Bad Guy 🎤 Grace & Grit 🎤 Jolene [D. Parton] 🎤 Be Country With Me 🎤 The Buzz 🎤 Bow Chicka Wow Wow
In August 2015 we saw the James Barker Band on the Boots & Hearts stage as finalists in the Emerging Artist Showcase… in the two and a half years since the boys haven’t slowed down a bit.
The Game On Tour serves as JBB’s first headlining trek across Canada, and with a fist full of Canadian country music chart hits and fan favourites, these boys came ready to play in Toronto.
From the jump, the warmed up (hot and sweaty) Friday night crowd was all in on the JBB set. And from the opening notes of It’s Working, they were loud and engaged. There were cheers and screams and laughs as James, Taylor, Bobby, and Connor played their set, cracking jokes, having fun, and clearly enjoying the chance to play for a sold out Toronto audience.
The band’s set was a well thought out mix of tracks from their 2017 EP, Game On, new songs that we expect to hear on their next record (including the brand new single, Good Together), and covers of Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, John Michael Montgomery, and Hank Williams. The pacing was smooth, the energy in the room never dipped, and it was clear that James Barker Band was in complete control of the crowd on the floor in front of them.
These boys are serious about their music in that they work hard and have released some excellent songs, but they don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t remember that this is supposed to be fun. So when they called up volunteers from the crowd to make their cover of Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) an interactive event, it fit perfectly.
Note: When we talked to James before the tour started we asked about Sold and whether we should expect it in the set. James told us that he wasn’t sure it would be a JBB show without it, and we’re glad that was his answer.
With radio hits like Just Sayin’, Lawn Chair Lazy, and Chills in their set, we were ready for a lot of singing along, and we got it. The country music fans in Toronto weren’t shy about participating in the action, raising their voices to meet James, and making sure that they contributed to the overall sound at The Phoenix.
It all came together to create an amazing atmosphere and a Friday night party in the city.
The Game On Tour wraps in Vancouver on February 10th, but that doesn’t mean that James Barker Band are planning to slow down. Be ready to see a lot more of them soon, and if you have a chance to catch them before the tour is over, do it!
James Barker Band, Game On Tour, Toronto
🎤 It’s Working
🎤 Going Places*
🎤 Just Sayin’
🎤 Good Together
🎤 Hey Good Lookin’ [H. Williams]
🎤 Living The Dream
🎤 I’m Gonna Miss Her [B. Paisley]
🎤 Keep You Happy*
🎤 Sweet Thing [K. Urban]
🎤 Looking At You*
🎤 Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) [J.M. Montgomery]
🎤 Lawn Chair Lazy
🎤 Rock/Pop Medley
*new songs, unrecorded, names may be inaccurate.
James Barker Band Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)
Meghan Patrick Photos, Game On Tour (Toronto)