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James Barker Band brought their ‘Game On’ to Algonquin

A crowd of about 800 people were on their feet for the sold out James Barker Band country concert in the Algonquin Commons Theatre Wednesday evening.

The show was the band’s sixth stop in its 21-date tour across Canada with opening acts from Jojo Mason and Meghan Patrick. For Mason, who was born in Regina, Sask., it was his first time in Ottawa.

“It’s amazing. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be, but it’s so sweet, everybody here is so nice and treated me with so much respect. I got nothing but love,” said Mason.

The band opened with its 2017 hit, It’s Working, and that seemed to do its job of getting fans into the vibe right away.

“Everybody just freaked out. As soon as the band came on stage, everyone was on their feet clapping. Everyone was singing along. They also played their new song coming out on Friday and of course, everyone loved it,” said Rebecca Lafrance, radio host of New Country 94 and Algonquin Broadcasting-Radio graduate.

After playing their new single, Better Together, the band announced that they would be releasing a new album this summer.

They continued to play a few of their songs off of their 2017 album and then closed with their song, Lawn Chair Lazy.

“I enjoyed it. They did a really good job, and it was fun to dance along,” said country fan, Kaitlyn Cantle.

After a few minutes of a dark and empty stage, the crowd started to cheer for an encore performance. Each band member came back on stage and added to the freestyle jam session started by lead singer, James Barker. Then they broke out into an 11-minute encore, covering everything from The Killers’ Mr. Brightside, to Nelly’s Hot in Herre.

For many attendees, the highlight of the night was this encore mash-up. One group of Ottawa students said it was the band’s version of Taylor Swift’s pop hit, Style, that left them blown away.

“I feel like they get better and better every time,” said concert goer, Taylor Wilson.

This was the first time the Game On tour has played in a theatre venue, and it seemed to be a good fit.

“It’s a great listening crowd so it’s been a nice change from the other shows that we’ve played,” said Patrick.

The tour headed out to western Ontario after its show in Ottawa. Then, they travelled to western Canada and ended the tour in Vancouver on Feb. 10.

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