Ryan Gaio wanted local music in Niagara-on-the-Lake and that’s exactly what he brought to the Legion on Saturday.
And people were there for it — about 150 of them, dancing the night away.
It was a surprise for Gaio, who would have been happy with a crowd of 50.
“I think it went amazing. I’m just like so stoked and thrilled with how it all went,” he said in an interview.
“It just blew me away beyond my wildest dreams and (I’m) already dreaming about the next one,” Gaio said.
“”I was like, if we can get 50 at the max, I’ll be pumped and we definitely surpass that.”
The NOTL musician, now 32 and based in Toronto, had dreams of playing on stage in his hometown ever since high school, when he says lots of local bands were playing regularly in town.
So he made that happen.
The show was a celebration of the release of his album, “The Best Ain’t Happened Yet” — a rock album available to stream at ryangaio.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-aint-happened-yet.
He said after an article appeared in The Lake Report, ticket sales had a “huge lift.”
The show also featured NOTL musician Matt Meagher, who played an acoustic set for the crowd before Gaio’s six-piece band and back-up singers hit the stage.
He said he plans to host another show eventually, likely next year around the same time.
“We’ll need a bit of time, but I definitely want to do another show like that,” he said, noting the Legion was also happy with the turnout.
“I think they made a good amount of money. It’s just a huge win-win for everyone.”
The highlights of the night for him were seeing everyone out having a good time, dancing to real NOTL music.
“Just before we went on, we all went out on the fire escape and just had a little team huddle and we’re like, ‘You know we’ve worked a long time to do this and here it is. We’re ready to go. Let’s go rock.’ We just had a little moment of calm before the storm.”
He was also happy to see a diverse crowd in attendance — the audience was filled with people both young and old.
Part of the show seemed like a NOTL reunion.
“My parents saw old friends they hadn’t seen in a long time. I saw old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Yeah, just all different age groups represented.”
Gaio had nothing but thanks for the community.
“”It really does take a village, so I’m so appreciative of all the community support,” he said.
“I think it really is a good reminder of the true meaning of community — people coming together, supporting each other, helping out, making cool, fun things happen.”
While he plans for another Legion show maybe next year, “I’m also just dreaming about all kinds of other shows — acoustic shows and any kind of artistic performances that we can come up with. Let’s make stuff happen.”