So it finally happened. Ron Hawkins live again. And, oh yes, every single one of my absurdly unobtainable expectations was met. The show rocked.

Hawkins Acoustic

The first half of the show featured Hawkins performing a range of songs from previous albums including the Low and Rusty Nails tunes in a solo acoustic format. He was later joined by Rusty Nails dummer Mark Hansen and bassist Dylan Parker* and together they performed much of the material released on Hawkins’ new album Chemical Sounds including the song “Anonymous,” which Hawkins introduced as a song about leaving behind a fingerprint on the world as a trace of your presence. Maybe that’s a good analogy for life, because what else is it that we try to do with every friend we make, every person we love, everything we say, write, create? The fact that so few of us will actually be remembed only adds to the poignancy of our acts.


I like the material on Chemical Sounds. As with most of his more recent albums, it includes a combination of rock songs and ballads which somehow manages to let him be thoughful (even sentimental–I uncharacteristically love the song to his daughter because it comes straight from the heart) and fun at the same time. One of the reasons I think that I gravitate toward Hawkins so much is that I self-centeredly think that we are at the same place in life. It’s a good place to be–past the heady rebel yell days of youth, newly aware of our own limitations and limited time here. But maybe that makes it a scary place to be too because we are–well, I am–at a crossroads.

As Hawkins explained in an interview with Niagara Gazette reporter Kevin Purdy prior to the show, the name of the album is a tribute to the Toronto recording studio where the album was made which has since been demolished to make room for new condominiums. The album itself was a solo effort since other band members could not take the time off work necessary to complete the studio work. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s an acoustic release, because Hawkins laid down all the tracks necessary to achieve the rock band sound he’s best known for. (I’m sparing you all the starry-eyed genius compliments running through my head, but those of you who know me will recognize the tone of an adolescent schoolgirl crush anyways.)

Hawkins’ Amp

Thanks, Stan, for the awesome photos.

*And, thank you queen_of_google for pointing out my misidentification of bassist Dylan Parker!