© Submitted photo
Saskatchewan power pop rock group Penny Reign are seen, with Prince Albert member Gary Ostafichuk seen at far left. The group is opening up for Nazareth in Saskatoon on Tuesday and in Prince Albert on Wednesday.
When he became a fan of renowned heavy rock group Nazareth in his teens, Gary Ostafichuk never dreamed of opening a show for them.
This week, he‚Äôs going to do just that with his ‚Äúpower pop‚ÄĚ hard rock group Penny Reign.
‚ÄúI speak for all of us -- that we‚Äôre all Nazareth fans,‚ÄĚ Ostafichuk said of his band. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôre definitely one of my influences, so this is going to be a real honour to share the stage with them.‚ÄĚ
Penny Reign -- a Saskatoon-based band although Ostafichuk lives in Prince Albert -- will open for Nazareth in Saskatoon on Tuesday and at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll do our set and try to get the crowd warmed up for them, but as soon as we punch the clock on our set, I‚Äôm going to just be a fan, there to watch them as well,‚ÄĚ Ostafichuk said.
‚ÄúPeople don‚Äôt realize how deep their catalogue is,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúMaybe not every song was as popular as ‚ÄėThis Flight Tonight,‚Äô but they had a lot of really great material.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
Nazareth‚Äôs long stream of catchy hard rock songs remain radio staples -- most notably their cover of Love Hurts and their original Hair of the Dog.
These catchy hard-rock pop songs have influenced Penny Reign during the group‚Äôs six years together, Ostafichuk said.
Like Nazareth, they‚Äôre out there to have some fun.
‚ÄúEverything‚Äôs pretty catchy and I wouldn‚Äôt say it‚Äôs too heavy,‚ÄĚ he described. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs some dirty guitars and whatever, but we try to keep everything upbeat and energetic.‚ÄĚ
Although Ostafichuk‚Äôs day job is at a family farm near Wakaw, music is where his heart is -- specifically in songwriting.
In addition to serving as the band‚Äôs lead guitar player and backing vocalist, Ostafichuk is passionate about songwriting. The band is currently readying their debut full-length album for release under the title ‚ÄúWeird‚ÄĚ (a running title with no meaning, Ostafichuk noted).
They‚Äôre definitely one of my influences, so this is going to be a real honour to share the stage with them Gary Ostafichuk
This week‚Äôs two 45-minute opening act performances will best epitomize why Ostafichuk and his four-member band do what they do.
‚ÄúSometimes when you‚Äôre doing three sets a night it‚Äôs hard to get up for each set, but (with this week‚Äôs shows) you get out, you give it your all and you leave it all on the stage,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúWe have a philosophy where we don‚Äôt just want to make it sound good, we want to put on a good live show as well.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want to just be cardboard cutouts just playing our instruments. We don‚Äôt leave the stage until we‚Äôre drenched head to toe in sweat. We give it our all.‚ÄĚ
The current incarnation of Nazareth is without 45-year front man Dan McCafferty, whose personal health issues forced him out last year.
Following extensive auditions, fellow Scotsman Linton Osborn filled McCafferty‚Äôs spot in the band.
Although the band picked up a new guitar player (Jimmy Murrison) and drummer (Lee Agnew) over the past couple decades, original member Pete Agnew, who has been on bass with the band since 1968, remains on stage.
Wednesday‚Äôs Nazareth show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre.
Local rock group Blackwater will join Penny Reign in opening for Nazareth.
Tickets are $34.50 and are available beforehand at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre and at O‚ÄôBrian‚Äôs Automotive at 3033 Sixth Ave. E.