Saturday night marked the first time that Ambush has played the Barley Mow chain of restaurants and I was in attendance to see the concert. Ambush always draws a great group of people as they play all the crowd favourites to dance the whole night. They’ve won a CMA for their original country recordings, but typically, they cover the songs we all know and love to make the night fly by.
The Barley Mow’s newest location, on Merivale road where most of us know as “Gracie’s” offers the same musical layout as we all enjoyed growing up with a central stage, and great sound system. The updated and vastly upgraded bar area, now that’s it’s opened as a Barley Mow, is much less closed off than it used to be and has a more upscale feel with higher class furniture and décor. The layout is still roughly the same as it has been over the past multiple bars/restaurants that have operated in that location since Grace O’Malley’s. With this new location, the Barley Mow is attempting something new for their successful chain, and that’s bringing in bigger concert names, and even charging cover for some of these bands which is normally unheard of at the Mow. Coming up in April, you’ll find Burning Halos, and Nectar as well as a second performance from Ambush. This new thinking is clearly important to the chain with full ownership and senior management in attendance last night.
Last night was the first of these “big names” with Ambush taking the stage for the first of two shows over the next couple months. Anyone who has seen them in the past, knows that they put on a non-stop, high energy show with few breaks between songs and they pack the dance floor to capacity. Despite lead singer Mark McDonell’s broken foot, last night was no different and as he even said to me walking (on crutches) out the door at the end of the night “It’s rock and roll, the show must go on.” Starting out as primarily a country band, Ambush still holds on to those roots, but much less than they used to where only about 1 in 3 songs are pure country, and even as a non-country fan, I knew the songs and found myself singing along. Their mix of music spans decades with crowd pleasers from the 70s right up until today’s pop music (with their own spin on it of course). Also included in their show this weekend was a great drum solo highlighting their new drummer. And finally, they capped off the night with the second of two slow songs to wind the crowd down for a romantic moment. If you’ve never seen them play, I highly recommend going out to the next concert, again at the Barley Mow Merivale on Saturday April 29th. Or if you can’t make that date, refer to their website https://www.getambushed.com/ for their full tour dates.