Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Projecting a sense of fun onto the Lion’s Bar scene

Posted by Kimberly on April 18, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
April 18, 2008 (543 words)

Lately, it’s been a little difficult to ignore the reputation that MGM’s Lion’s Bar has managed to amass in what appears to be a very short period of time, all good of course. And while that had plenty to do with their first act “HB Wild,” the latest addition to Macau’s happening night-life, in the form of The Freddie James Project, has taken it to another level.
Also hailing from Canada, specifically, Montreal, the six-member group consists of Freddie himself (vocals), Alan Springer, lead guitar; Anthony Cooperwood, keyboards; Ben Vezina, drum; James Challenger, bass and Katie McNally, vocals/backing vocals, who will perform at the Lion’s Bar until May 12.
Asked about the reason behind the name, Freddie responds by suggesting it’s a project “and we’re never satisfied.
“We’re always in the works, new clothes, new steps, new songs and always in motion.
“I don’t think we’ll ever stop and say we’re done otherwise the band is finished,” he adds.
Those that have yet to get themselves over to Lion’s Bar have been missing out on the energy and rhythm the group exudes, with music ranging from  Motown, R&B, Hip Hop and Soul and pretty much anything goes.
That means George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Bob Marley or even AC/DC, with Freddie adding “we don’t stay in one style.
“We look at the age of the crowd to pick up the vibe in the room and the determine our sets,” he says.
Those sets play out over six nights a week, with four sets during the week and five on weekends, the latter of which can go right up till 3.30 am!
Freddie himself has been a part of one band or another for the past 21 years, with the rest of the group having come on board over the course of two to eight years.
What makes the band work, in Freddie’s opinion, is the members’ ability to read the signs; sign language that is, with no words necessary to indicate next songs.
“We don’t use a song list as it stops the monotony…there’s a certain structure to it [the gig] but mostly unstructured.
“Life in unpredictable and I want us to be unpredictable,” says Freddie.
The group describes themselves as a party/show band, with more clothing changes than a diva at the Grammy Awards, or at least that’s the goal!
Motivation comes in the form of crowd’s energy, “when people are going crazy then my night is made,” says Freddie.
“When some people come in and say they’ve only come for one drink but end up staying till 3:00 am, then my job is done,” he adds.
And when it comes to lasting impressions, it’s about letting the audience know that the group have given 100 percent of themselves.
And even though his decision is the final one, “everybody’s got their ideas of what they want to do,” he says.
Yet if Freddie is the bow of the ship, then the rest of the band are the engines that drive it forward.
And that forward movement isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, with Freddie citing Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett as performers who’ve proved popular through generations.
“I can re-invent myself any time.
“We’re always going to need music. Always.”

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