The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer James St. North, Hamilton ON, September 13

The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer James St. North, Hamilton ON, September 13
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
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Joking about how nice it was to be back in Hamilton even after not bringing home the JUNO award for Blues Album of the Year, the duo of Shawn Hall and Matt Rogers made an excellent case for future nominations as the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer by roaring through a set of hard driving blues rock tunes. Hall's gravelly vocals and honking harmonica were bolstered by Rogers' axe-work and kick-snare combo, which he played with his feet.
 
"Are there any other strong shin bands in Hamilton?" Hall wondered aloud. "Of course I mean bands that have really muscly shins from standing and playing kick drum, not a band that sounds like the Shins."
 
Joining the duo onstage was fellow West coaster Dawn Pemberton, who added an extra helping of soul to "My Paradise," the stomping "Mama's in the Backseat" and the playful "Act Your Age." Her vocal power had the crowd cheering in a handful of moments where she got to show it off solo, while Hall and Rogers brought the house down with their own solo skills on an extended run through of "Get Out" that closed the show.