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Cheezies, GST cheques, discount bacon, wing night & Geddy Lee

As part of the ongoing transformation of the Marconi Cultural Event Centre, the truly unique Canadian singer-songwriter B.a. Johnston will be performing at the Legion Bar in the Marconi Cultural Event Centre
During a previous visit to the Sault in 2019, B.A. Johnston performs at the New American. Stephen McGill/Pigeon Row

Last month, the Marconi held the successful “Marconi Meet World event,” a 3-day cultural festival in the Marconi parking lot near Jamestown that featured performers like Tom Wilson (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings/Junkhouse) and Digging Roots, as well as fire dancers, carnival performances and much more.

“Not exactly your typical event for the area, but needed to revitalize Jamestown ,” says Elise Nelson, Sales Manager at the Marconi Cultural Event Centre (MCEC).

“This transition is important to bring the MCEC into the future.”

The Marconi has been more exclusive in the past.

“We are working hard to change people’s minds about that and we’ve been lucky enough to have owners and management that allow us to think outside the box. The Marconi Meets World event was a successful display of that.”

In her role, Nelson is in charge of overseeing, booking and managing all of the events that occur at the MCEC.

“Whether that is an event that gets booked by clients or events that we host and organize ourselves,” she says.

“This leaves a lot of room for creativity and fun, which is something we definitely have.”

And more creativity and fun is coming soon.

Later this month, the Marconi will be bringing singer-songwriter and outrageous showman B.a. Johnston back to the Sault to perform at the Legion Bar which is currently being hosted at the Marconi.

“I think B.a. is one-of-a-kind and his show is like nothing else I have ever seen,” says Nelson.

“It’s neat because he’s been doing this across Canada gig for so long and his show hasn’t changed too much yet people still come out to see him. They know what to expect and they know they will have a great time so they return again and again.”

“For those unfamiliar, B,a, he sings about the things of the common people like Hawkins Cheezies, GST cheques (or direct deposits now), drive thru beef, alley beers, Geddy Lee, discounted bacon, self service machines and wing night.”

Nelson adds that he may make audience members “hammer a beer” and crush the can on his head.

“He may also serenade you into the bathroom and wear twenty sweatshirts just so he can take them off one-by-one through his whole set,” she laughs.

“If you don’t want to see or hear any of those things then, B.a. isn’t for you.”

B.a. Johnston’s performance will be in the new Legion Bar, located downstairs at the MCEC.

“The Legion moved in a few weeks ago and they will be there for two years,” says Nelson.

“They have many [of their own] events planned, however, if we can help to activate the space it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Nelson notes that it was exciting to see the Legion move into the old bar downstairs at the Marconi.

“They have a lot of their memorabilia from the old Legion set up and it’s definitely the right mood, especially for shows. It’s a throwback to your typical bar in Canada, places like the New A, and the Nicolet, which aren’t around anymore. The prices are exactly what you would expect from a Legion Bar and that in itself is a huge selling point. I’ll take two small drafts any day over a huge pint.”

Opening the B.a. Johnston show will be local surf rock band, Dynowaves.

“Dynowaves are so good,” says Nelson.

“I love that they’re instrumental. That doesn’t happen very often anymore. Loud surf rock is sure to get any crowd going before a high intensity show like B.A.”

For Nelson, her gig at the Marconi is a perfect compliment to her skill set.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to find a job that incorporates many of the aspects of the [Girl Friday] promoting that I was doing solo before the pandemic, but now I earn a paycheck for it. It’s the best of all the worlds for me.”

B.a. Johnston will be performing on Thursday, August 25 at the Legion Bar in the Marconi Cultural Event Centre.

Tickets for the show are $12 and available at the Marconi office from Tuesday-Friday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM or online at Brown Paper Tickets.

For more information on the show, visit the event page on Facebook.


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