Tom Harrison of the Vancouver Province newspaper said, "Massop is an able folk/pop writer. His songs have a contemporary polish and a measure of sophistication. He writes homilies with a rock edge whose wisdom occasionally hits the ground like a hundred pound rail."
Brian Hazelbower, CHLY radio programmer said, "There are ten solid rockin' tunes on Theo's CD 'Choices' and they all have something to say. I have dubbed it, thinkin' man's music."
Rick Salt, manager and chief engineer at Blue Truck Hotel studio said, "Theo's CD 'Choices' is one of the finest projects to come from this studio. Great songs and great performances."
Michael Baginski, reviewer for The Entertainer magazine said, "Massop's strengths lie in intelligent lyrics, catchy mid-tempo songs and ballads."
In the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper, John Hogbin wrote, "Massop has a pleasing voice and he takes the trouble to let the listener understand what he's singing."
PORT HARDY — Once you filter out the neon glare of superstars’
names on arena marquees and unplug the glossy marketing of hitmaking
machinery, rock and roll comes down to the simple matter of making
music. And that’s just what the Theo Massop Trio delivered Saturday
at Port Hardy Civic Centre in the fourth event on the North Island
Concert Society’s 2010-11 schedule.
Massop, a Nanaimo-based singer-songwriter, was joined by longtime collaborator Blaise Zhiam on bass and Pat Hetu on drums in an intimate performance stripped of gimickry and hi-tech hijinx. Massop’s music has been described as roots, rock, country, Americana, folk, blues and various admixtures of those wide-ranging genres. When a group requires that many modifiers the best course of action is to show up with an open ear and toes ready for tapping. Those who did so Saturday were treated to a show of intricate yet accessible songcraft by performers comfortable in their musical skins.
At the heart of Massop’s songwriting is, well, heart. He pens songs of life experiences that can be as personal as the loss of a loved one, as on Massop’s spare, plaintive rendition of the ballad Goodbye, and as universal as the human condition, as on the up-tempo rocker Start a Revolution from his 2006 CD Choices. Massop, who played electric-acoustic guitar and harmonica, has performed solo and in groups in venues ranging from pubs to festivals, and has a varied catalogue he tries to suit to each audience. In Saturday’s case, that meant heavy doses of original compositions with just a couple of cover tunes — a folk/country version of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young and an encore performance of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song that started as an alt-country tune and wrapped up as a blistering blues rocker.
While it seemed the audience at times was reservedly waiting to hear something familiar, a careful listen revealed hints of familiar artists, such as on the Neil Young-infused Canada 1952, Gordon Lightfoot’s influence on Hummingbird, the Tom Petty-esque rocker I Need Somebody and even the reggae stylings of Truth from Massop’s debut album Voyager, which contain darker, more brooding echoes of 10cc’s Dreadlock Holiday.
Massop’s low and occasionally growling vocals were offset by Zhiam’s high-register harmonies and occasional vocal input by Hetu, who stepped in front of the drum kit to take a turn on the South American Cajon drum on a pair of songs. Zhiam proved particularly capable of filling potential voids in the three-instrument lineup, applying his bass as a rhythm, percussion and even lead instrument with his high-note plucking opposite Massop’s harmonica work on the intro to the driving blues-rocker Not For Me.
Get ready to dance the night away this Saturday when Nanaimo-based
group BoodAbooM brings their eclectic sound to the Shady Rest. “I’m
really excited to hear them,” said Rosalee Sullivan, who promotes
bands for The Shady. The band is just as excited to play at
Qualicum’s oldest business for the first time. “The Shady has been a
very popular place to play lately,” said band leader Theo Massop.
BoodAbooM mixes the quieter sounds of roots and reggae music with
the driving edge of rock and country-rock.
It’s a blend that Massop said not only grabs and keeps the audience’s attention, but requires a versatile group of musicians to play. Luckily, the trio of players in BoodAbooM come with years of varying experience. Massop has played, written and produced music for several decades in many bands both under his and others’ direction. His songs have been heard around the world and have received particular popularity in Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. He is joined in this band by Marisha Devoin on bass. Devoin graduated from the VIU music program and went on to play theatre shows, cruise ships, concerts and more in the past few years. She started gigging with Massop five or six years ago. In fact, it was after one such gig about a year ago in Nanaimo that they met drummer Rich Bazille. He jammed with the duo and joined ranks after finding, as Massop said, they fit like a “hand in a glove.”
As for their band’s name, it’s not just a random collection of letters; it’s all about the sound. BoodAbooM sounds kind of like a drum beat, explained Massop. He also said it sounds a bit like “Buddha,” who inspires many of his songs. Although Massop isn’t a Buddhist, he said he has “found a lot of wisdom” in the teachings and these lessons are reflected in his music. In particular, some of his songs talk about approaches to living such as living peacefully and being still. Don’t think that BoodAbooM is here to lecture you, however. The band plays a lot of “up-tempo, danceable tunes.” They also have a large selection of cover tunes under their belt, which they’ll focus on at The Shady this weekend to encourage people to get up and dance. Both Massop and Sullivan at the Shady hope people will take to the dance floor. “People will stand up and dance at their table,” said Sullivan. “It’s awesome to see.”