Bobby Sproat @ The Manchester, Saturday, February 25th

A note to any future musicians looking to play a gig at a bar in downtown Windsor; avoid playing on a Saturday night unless you’re okay with your music going largely unnoticed. The scene is simply not one for a musician that’s looking for their talent to be appreciated as the crowd is generally far too drunk or busy being engaged in conversation to listen. That being said, Bobby Sproat’s performance at The Manchester on Saturday night, February 25th was definitely not one you’d want to miss. The 22-year-old Windsorite singer-song writer, armed only with his trusty acoustic guitar and impressive vocals, covered a variety of classic songs throughout the long night. This wasn’t my first time seeing him play as he frequently plays at many of the various pubs located off of Windsor’s Ouellette avenue. The Manchester is a relaxed British style pub often favored by the older crowds that have made the intelligent decision to leave their clubbing days behind them and opt for a more laid-back downtown experience. This doesn’t stop them from being rowdy, however, and at around 12:30 a.m the place was absolutely packed with a crowd that ranged from 20-something Frat Bros. to disgruntled 50-something businessmen desperately clinging to the delusional fantasy of leaving with a girl half their age. Amongst all this chaos, Bobby was providing hit song after hit song to keep the mood tasteful and lively. With songs that ranged from Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” to Oasis’ “Wonderwall”, every acoustic cover was packed with a special energy that managed to keep people going even after a long night of pub-crawling and more than several pints of imported beers. Bobby’s skillful guitar playing paired with his commanding yet gentle voice gave every song the just the perfect vibe for the venue at which he was playing. While the crowd was definitely not paying as much attention as they should have been, Bobby still managed to captivate everyone with classics such as Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” that had the whole bar drunkenly butchering the lyrics to. The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” was another song amongst the spectacularly chosen line-up of songs, along with The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. Every song played at this gig was picked for one simple reason; because everybody over the age of 18 should absolutely be able to sing at least the chorus. While noisy and jam-packed, the general consensus was that everyone was obligated to chime in for the famous words “and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more” then follow it up with a loud, messy “da da da” that would have made Ted and Marshall proud. The thing about a show like this that makes it dramatically different from, say, a concert at a music hall is the audience. At a concert, you know that most everyone around you is united by a common interest; a passion for the band or artist that you paid to see. For someone like Bobby, performing a free bar show like this means that your audience could consist of people with vastly different tastes in music. Because of this, the set list is absolutely crucial; it needs to be something that appeals to the majority and unites the audience, and that’s exactly what he did. To say this guy is a class act is an understatement; he’s the pinnacle of the young and talented local artist who provides a joyful background music that succeeds in bringing people together.

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