By: Craig Dubecki
If you have not been to The Registry, you must go soon. Many very talented artists come through there every year. The seating is excellent as are the acoustics. The theatre provides a very nice, intimate venue where it is easy to connect with the performers. The estimated sixty of us in the crowd were treated to a rare and magical night.
Back in the 1980’s, ahead of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, Guitar Player Magazine named Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits the Best Guitarist in the World. Now I am personally not a huge fan of Mr. Knopfler and, I felt a bit bitter as Jimmy Page has forever been my idol, but I do seriously appreciate what a tremendous guitarist Mark Knopfler is.
When I heard that local guitar slinger Dan Beacock & The Local Heroes was doing a tribute called: The Music of Dire Straits, I had a hunch it would be a very special experience. I was so right!
Dan Beacock is a native of Waterloo. Having attended Bluevale High School; he was a standout guitarist at a very early age. Back in Grade 7 & 8 even, at Margaret Avenue School, he shined on stage with his white Stratocaster. Later, his path took him to Wilfrid Laurier University where he studied classical guitar.
The Registry on Frederick Street in Kitchener has been the home of many a great show and this one night was no different. The Local Heroes is made up of: Dave Mansell on guitar/vocals, Tyler Wagler on bass, Rob Cardy on drums and Mr. Peter Beacock on keyboard. Dave Wiffen on saxophone was magnificent as the special guest. The only complaint I have of the show is I wanted to hear more of him with the band. That being said, once they guys got over the initial sound adjustments, the talent of each and every artist became evident.
Mark Knopfler is very, very difficult to play. I would not even attempt without lessons from someone such as Dan Beacock who, played him perfectly. Not only was the guitar stellar, Dan sings and sounds like Mark Knopfler. I sat there in awe as I listened. It felt like I was listening to Dire Straits. That is incredibly hard to do: sing and play Dire Straits at the same time. Knopfler does not play just rhythm guitar. He plays lead, ads fills, arpeggios, and incorporates time changes and shifts from rock to jazz to blues all in one song. He does this while singing and so did Dan.
Starting the show off with “What It Is”, two sets and nineteen songs in all were played including: a tremendous “Sailing To Philadelphia”, “Brother In Arms”, “Money For Nothing”, “So Far Away”, “Romeo And Juliet”, “Sultans Of Swing” and “Walk Of Life”. Some of these songs sent shivers up my spine! They were that good! A two-song encore ensued with, “Get Lucky” followed by a rousing version of “Twisting By The Pool”.
Kudos goes to the entire band for pulling this off however, this is about guitar-rock and Dan Beacock is the real thing. He is a member of Will Currie and The Country French. He plays with Stealing Dan; Canada’s great tribute to Steely Dan and teaches at The Beckett School of Music in Kitchener. Dan has come a long way since grade 7 in maturing as a guitarist, as well as a performer.
I have not heard or seen Dan Beacock and The Local Heroes play before, or since. That is a shame! This band could play anywhere, anytime, as they are nothing but Solid Rock!