Sasquatch Prom Date is the great dance party band in Whitehorse.
It’s a must for any festival looking for a high-energy closer, and (full disclosure) I’ve been a fan since it started playing.
So it was with excitement that I found out I get to review its first CD, A Chilling End to a High School Romance.
Almost as soon as he arrived from Montréal, where he played in a rockabilly/psychobilly band, Ryan McNally made his presence known in Whitehorse as a virtuoso blues guitarist and singer.
But he’s shown himself to be much more than that. Collaborating with Kyle Cashen, he experimented with electronic music in Old Time Machine. More recently, he teamed up with Yellowknife singer-songwriter Dana Sipos as the folk duo, The Mountain Avens.
With Sasquatch Prom Date, he returns to those rockabilly roots with amazing energy and an equally amazing band. Drummer Patrick Singh, guitarist Ian Stewart, and slap stand-up bass player, Genesee Keevil easily match McNally’s virtuosity to form a tight, high-energy band that can get anyone twisting and spinning on the dance floor.
With A Chilling End to a High School Romance, that energy is carried through the studio to be the life of your next party. Sasquatch Prom Date make rockabilly sound as fresh and exciting as it was in the early days of rock and roll.
To prove this, just listen to their version of Red Hot by Billy “The Kid” Emerson. It’s fast, wild, has great guitar solos, and will have your feet moving wherever you’re listening to it.
And, as for energy, McNally practically screams through the song, My girl is red hot/Your girl ain’t doodly squat.
The band’s original songs keep that early rock and roll feel, with some occasional punk elements added, like the shouted backup vocals in Black Mary Tattoo.
Carrying on with this 1950s theme, Wasp Woman from Outer Space is a lyrical tribute to drive-in science-fiction B-movies. Even the artwork, by Stewart, has a vintage Tales from the Crypt comic feel.
McNally’s voice goes from near punk screaming on Red Hot to softer crooning on I Lost My Gal in the Yukon, to something closer to Elvis Presley on Old Shoe (with some added high-pitched hiccups). The band equally moves easily between cool jazz and something just shy of melodic hardcore punk.
The breakneck pace of Red Hot and Ball Tonight pauses slightly to make way for somewhat slower ones like I Lost My Gal in the Yukon and Old Shoe. But those slower songs are just a breather before Hillbilly Highway and Drived Me Crazy.
The CD was recorded by Bob Hamilton who also provides a country pedal steel on Old Shoe. Grant Simpson, using skills honed in the Frantic Follies, adds banjo and musical saw to I Lost My Gal in the Yukon.
Sometimes there’s a fear that a band known for its live performances goes into the studio, they will lose some of the edge that makes them so exciting. Lucky for us, that hasn’t happened with Sasquatch Prom Date.
Outstanding tracks: Red Hot, Drived Me Crazy