By Samuel Stevens
On the evening of November 20th, 2018, Nova Scotia’s own Ria Mae brought her Canada crossing Never Coming Down Tour through the prairies with a stop at The Garrick in Winnipeg. Along on tour was RALPH with a special appearance by fellow Maritime musicians, Neon Dreams.
The first act to emerge onstage was Toronto Synth-Pop artist, RALPH. RALPH brought everything she could to the stage and delivered a remarkable set to her Winnipeg fans. Despite the freezing cold outside, RALPH warmed it up inside The Garrick as she had fans dancing along and screaming the lyrics back at her from in front of the stage. RALPH’s influences of Prince, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac all bled through as she performed “Girl Next Door,” “Cold to the Touch,” “Tables Have Turned,” “Cereal,” among others.
Following RALPH’s marvellous performance was the main attraction, singer-songwriter, Ria Mae. This marked Ria Mae’s first time back to Winnipeg since the Scott vs. Ria Canadian Tour at The Pyramid Cabaret in fall of 2017.
Ria first performed five or so songs before welcoming Neon Dreams to the stage to perform three songs. Ria went on to perform from her entire discography including “Ooh Love,” “Red Light,” “Thoughts on Fire,” and “Clothes Off.” Her set featured a few new numbers among the fan favorites including the recently released acoustic track “It’s You” and the -at the time- never released song, “Not at Peace.”
Ria Mae shared a few stories of her previous visits to Winnipeg on stage between songs. One story was about a multitude of Boston Pizza visits while another was about how she first met her bandmate, Chris Wong, while he was in the opening act at the Red River Exhibition in June 2016. She went on to jokingly say “she stole him for her own.” Ria Mae ended the set by inviting Neon Dreams member, Frank Kadillac, back to the stage to perform the song the two have together, “Hold Me.”
Neon Dreams members Frank Kadillac and Adrian Morris made their way to The Garrick stage for a three special song performance that night. Neon Dreams opened up their set with their new song “High School Dropout” -the music video for which will be released January 4th, 2019. The duo ended their special set with “Times Square.”
Ria later made clear she had invited Neon Dreams out on tour to finally get across the country as the bands were set to embark on two separate tours throughout the year. Neon Dreams were last in Winnipeg for Indigenous Day 2017 at The Forks Stage, which was also the bands debut performance here in the city. Hopefully the band sees a more positive time of getting out across Canada in the future.