Review: Patrick Watson at Black Sheep Inn (Wakefield)

A month ago I saw that Patrick Watson was coming to try out some new material at the Black Sheep Inn.  All those words pointed to an immediate “I NEED TO SEE THIS!”  Unfortunately for me, I figured I had enough time to talk with Vero to see if it was alright and to ask Jean-Francois if he wanted to come along.

Turns out that 60 minutes is too long in the land of Patrick Watson coming to the Black Sheep Inn.  Both dates were sold out within minutes and I was left a broken shell.  (Of course I’m dramatizing!)

Fast forward a few weeks later and I see a Facebook post pop up….’Additional date added to Patrick Watson at Black Sheep Inn!’  I couldn’t believe it!  I jumped on it.  Two tickets, bam!

I’ve only been to the Black Sheep Inn once in my life to see Matt Mays with Adam Baldwin.  Years ago it was already known as a legendary venue and it’s still the same today.  On one side of the main strip through Wakefield you have the Black Sheep Inn.  On the other side you have the taste of Quebec with a view of the Gatineau River.  I was trying to find a history of the Black Sheep Inn and the closest I could find of its modern history was an interview with the owner Paul Symes.

I’m already regretting not snapping a photo of the Inn with its beautiful view of the river!

Image result for black sheep inn wakefield

I found this image on Google.  This gives you a better idea of how it is set up.

I arrived after nearly an hour of driving the highways of Ontario into the highways of Quebec.  The highways of Quebec are other-worldly are you are weaving in and out of the Gatineau hills.  Parking was an issue at the Inn so I managed to find some parking at the community centre which was a quick five minute walk from the venue.

You can already tell that the Inn is a different kind of venue when I walked in.

“My friend isn’t here yet.  Do I have to wait for him or can I go inside?”

“No problem, what’s your name?  Just tell him to give us your name when he comes in and we’ll mark him off on the list.”

That’s it, that’s all.  None of this ‘Where’s your ID?’ or ‘No, everyone needs to be together to come in.’  I knew I was in heaven already!

The Inn was already packed when I got in so I managed to find a couple of tall seats up against the wall instead of getting us a table.  I sat there with beer in hand and marvelled at the intimacy of the venue.  Mina showed up as well and we had to fend off the vultures for our chairs.  At one point we both got up for a beer then I said “Maybe I should go back to hold our chairs” and there were already vultures out to grab it!

Everyone was pretty excited to be amongst the privileged few (75 people maybe?) who got tickets.  Not a bad seat in the house!

I like how the Inn makes the event special.  They put out candles on the table and turn off the lights when the band hits the stage.  Patrick Watson!  What a show!  What a privilege to witness new music.

It’s pretty interesting to hear that the band finished recording their new album two days and ago and figured they should book some time at the Inn to figure out how they would translate those songs in a live setting.  It’s interesting to see a band struggle a little with things like forgetting lyrics to new songs or missing cues to start/stop certain parts of the song.  It’s really interesting to be part of that process…they could have just hung out and jammed with themselves for weeks on end, or just hit the road for a bit and play in front of people while they were figuring things out.  It also looks like they have a new drummer and a keyboardist along this time.

After the show.  We saw the band outside when we were leaving and said “Great show!”.  I have a feeling that they were probably going to hop back into the Inn after their cigarette and just jam to whoever wished to stick around.  I would like to think that this DID NOT happen otherwise I’ll be kicking myself for leaving!

Check out how amazing Mina’s camera is in night shots.  Google Pixel for the win.

The new songs are interesting and add a little more different beats and keyboard pads than usual.  They also completely re-imagined Lighthouse during the encore so I don’t know if that was just a ‘Black Sheep thing’ or if this is indicative of what they want to accomplish during the upcoming tour.

I feel privileged to have been in a small tavern with 75 other people who got to witness some new songs come to life, shared some maniacal laughter with the crowd and just felt overwhelmed by the entire experience.

I didn’t even realize I chose some seats under our friend Che!

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