CONCERT REVIEW: Brent Doerner’s Decibel – 3/10/2007, Edelweiss Tavern, Kitchener ON

I keep finding these old concert reviews that I forgot to post here!  Enjoy this one from former HELIX guitarist Brent Doerner.  This was written the day of the show.  Photos from an old crap Motorola phone.

BRENT DOERNER’S DECIBEL – March 10 2007, Edelweiss Tavern, Kitchener ON

It was only an hour ago, but it is already a blur.

Just after 9:30 pm, Brent Doerner’s DECIBEL hit the stage at the Edelweiss with earthshaking volume. The three Gibsons of Shane Schedler, Ralph “Chick” Schumilas, and Brent himself were crystal clear and gelling beautifully. I can’t even remember what song they opened with, but it might have been “Taking The Colour Out Of The Blues”, one of the best tracks from their debut CD. This was only their second “real” show, and the new lineup (featuring bassist Hilliard Walter and Brent’s twin brother Brian Doerner, fresh off a Saga tour) sounded hot. Most importantly, the pressures of playing to a hometown crowd didn’t phase them at all, and they looked like they were having an awesome time.

Brent Doerner has evolved from Helix’s lead gunslinger to a frontman in his own right. I suppose if one is in a band for a decade and a half with a guy like Brian Vollmer, you’re bound to learn something about being a frontman. Yet Brent has his own style. He points to the crowd, he interacts with them, he slings his guitar to the side and sings to them. He hoists his guitar like a shotgun for emphasis, and does it all as if it’s second nature. The guy is a natural, no doubts there.

All the best tunes from the CD were played, in effective order, along with four new ones. And let me tell ya, folks, these weary heavy-metal eardrums of mine rarely hear a song as good as “Maybe Love”. The song has only been played twice, and they band are still working out the kinks, but could you tell? No, this song smoked, as more than one person in the audience noticed. As my fiancée noted on the way out, “that song was the single.” And yes, indeed, if Decibel were to suddenly press up a slab of 7” vinyl, that would be the song to put on the A-side.

Video for “Maybe Love”, after some lineup changes and a name switch to My Wicked Twin

The show was not without technical problems, but the band overcame with lots of comedy courtesy of Brian Doerner, and a wicked impromptu drum solo from the rock god. In the dark. He couldn’t have even seen what he was doing, but did that solo ever smoke. While some bands would view a blackout as a disaster, Decibel turned it into a rare chance to see a drum solo by one of Canada’s most underrated percussionists. And he made sure that lots of people got complimentary sticks, too, which was really cool.

One of the many highlights of the show was Shane Schedler’s vocal turn on “Never Turn Your Back”. Not to be outdone, however, Hills Walter kicked out the jams on his vocal “Dancin’ Frogs” featuring not a dancing frog, but a dancing blonde in a top hat, fishnets and Decibel panties. Sweet!

Such was the reaction from the crowd that Decibel were unexpectedly forced to retake the stage after they had already said goodnight. Having nothing else to play, they played “Taking The Colour” one more time, this time with even more excitement. The crowd ate it up, every last morsel, and left very very satisfied.

You simply must see the band live. If you care about rock and roll, if you care about local artists, then you must see this band live. If you don’t, you are the only one missing out.

Good show boys. See you next time, front row center.

5/5 stars

18 comments

  1. Hi Mike – Nice post. I like these glimpses into the time capsule although I don’t know these bands. One suggestion… How about adding a brief “where are they now?” paragraph?

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    1. Good suggestion! Didn’t think of that.

      For now I can say, Brian Doerner is currently gigging in Klaws with former Helix guitarist John Claus, and a Supertramp tribute band called Crisis What Crisis, as well as teaching.

      Brent’s doing well with his video production company, and we have plans to collaborate on something video wise in the future, watch this space!

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  2. This sounds really interesting. Always thought Brent was an underrated player and the coolest guy in Helix. Do they have an album out?

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    1. Heck yes! Two albums. The first was under the name Brent Doerner’s Decibel, and the second was under the name My Wicked Twin, after Brian joined the band. If I see them, they’re yours. Did you like the video for Maybe Love?

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      1. Haven’t watched it. I must have missed it somehow. That’s what happens when I’m on the comp when I shopuld be in bed sleeping… ;)

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      2. Yes, Mike. That was awesome! Right up my alley. The production wasn’t very good, though. But the song was a killer!

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        1. Yeah agreed! If only they had some better sound. Of course the CD does sound better than a youtube video as well.

          I think you’ll like the albums.

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      3. Why did he leave Helix anyway? Couldn’t he just play with both bands? Everybody else are in several bands nowadays.

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        1. Well Jon, Brent’s a very talented guy, and he does a lot of video work now…which pays well enough…and he loves it. Brent is very creative and he likes expressing himself, and that’s not really something he got to do songwriting-wise in Helix. I remember he was quoted as saying his record sales were “the shits” as a solo artist. I imagine finding success at something else creative, such as the video work, makes him happy.

          This is all just speculation based on what he’s said.

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  3. This sounds like a fantastic show. I’m glad you got to see it! Need to read stuff from back in the day, when yer lovely wife was yer fiancée. Also wonder why they would replay a song in the ipromptu encore. Surely they know a cover tune or two that could be fun?

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