get wac'd

Now if you're going to be here, come along with me, maybe I could show you something you've never seen. ~ 54-40, Come Here

As I pay for my new t-shirt at the refreshment stand I nod my head in agreement with the slogan on the t-shirt - “Live Music Is Better At The WAC”. The WAC stands for Watson Art Centre, a really neat old heritage building in downtown Dauphin, Manitoba that has been turned into this great art and music centre. My first encounter at the WAC was a small free flow writing class a couple months ago which was a huge success. While in the building for the writing class I noticed a sign for an upcoming concert - the band 54-40. I knew I had to attend.  I have lived in the Dauphin area for just over two years but had yet to take in a concert at the WAC. I thought 54-40 would be the perfect band for my first “get WAC’d” experience. I had seen 54-40 in concert a few years ago when I lived in Halifax and fell absolutely in love with their music. I had a hunch the concert room at the WAC with its amazing old features such as a spiral staircase, balcony and patterned ceiling would create some interesting acoustics for a concert. So with my previous 54-40 concert experience and hunch about the neat acoustics I eagerly purchased a few tickets to the concert and arranged a girls night out with some friends.

As my girlfriends and I drove to the WAC we pondered what the concert experience would be like. We were not sure if it would be standing or sitting, or if the crowd would be packed and pumping, or more relaxed and subdued.  We were open to anything and everything. We arrived at the concert and climbed the steps to the hall. Refreshments and t-shirts for sale in the foyer proved very popular with patrons, and the hall was set up quite nicely with round tables and chairs, a dance floor at the front, and dim candle lighting. My first thought was this is such a great, small intimate venue for concerts, I wonder if the bands enjoy this set up too? I made a mental note to try and gauge whether 54-40 enjoyed their own “get wac‘d“ experience throughout the concert. We found a table close to the front and settled in with our drinks. The crowd was an interesting mixture of old and young, alternative and more traditional. I took comfort in the crowd, it really showcased nicely how Dauphin is a community that comes together to support music and the arts and that it doesn’t seem to matter who you are or what your taste is, there is a spot for you.

The opening act, The Bad Marleys, took the stage. They were a wonderful, tight country meets rock musical group, and interacted in a joking manner with the crowd. Perfect choice as an opener for 54-40. After a brief intermission and my unsuccessful try at winning a raffle draw, it was time for the main attraction. A small group of people began to make their way to the dance floor directly under the stage in anticipation for 54-40. I admired how the stage was high enough that even if you were sitting at the back of the room at a table, or up high in the old fashioned balcony you had a perfect view from every angle. We chose to stay seated at our table, as free food such as popcorn and veggies and dip had been brought to the tables and it had caught our attention. But as the band came on stage and struck up their first song the food no longer seemed important and we became fixated on enjoying the musical show. 54-40 played for quite a while, and once they started playing their hit songs we were drawn to the dance floor to rock out with the band too. As my friend and I danced and sang the lyrics a man, a complete stranger, leaned in and sang the lyrics right along with us. It was obvious he was having a great time, and I was having a great time too knowing this type of entertainment was available in Dauphin. It was also very obvious 54-40 was enjoying their own get WAC’d experience, smiling and laughing and interacting with the crowd.

When the concert finally drew to an end we left happy. Getting WAC’d was reasonably cheap, close to home, and a great way to have a girls night out on the town. We are already making plans for our next get WAC’d experience! For more information on the Watson Art Centre and how to create your own get WAC’d experience please visit www.watsonartcentre.com.