Big Sugar brings theatrical performance to River Run Centre

Power trio makes Guelph stop to celebrate iconic album

GUELPH, ON February 27, 2024  The legendary Big Sugar is set to rock River Run Centre’s Main Stage on Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m. The Guelph stop is part of a cross-Canada tour celebrating the deluxe vinyl release of their groundbreaking album, Five Hundred Pounds. The show is part of the Sleeman-Spring Mill Music Series, which features a lineup of Canadian icons and international heavy-hitters.

First released in 1993, Five Hundred Pounds stands as a defining masterpiece in Big Sugar’s discography. The album marks the pivotal moment that Gordie Johnson defined his own genre with the perfect blend of blues, rock, and reggae. Driven by Johnson’s masterful guitar and accompanied by his soulful blues falsetto, the album floored fans and caught the attention of critics. Now nearing its thirtieth anniversary, the iconic album is being celebrated for its definitive mark on Canadian music.

Jack White is the founder of Third Man Records and attributes his own approach to songwriting and guitar playing to his early inspiration from Five Hundred Pounds. White calls the album “the best blues-based record to ever come out of Canada.” He recounts having purchased his copy at a Big Sugar show in Detroit in 1993, the album was officially released in the United States two years later. Based on Big Sugar’s booming reputation as a live band and quickly growing fan base, the album sold 10,000 copies by word of mouth before it gained significant airplay. Five Hundred Pounds was certified Gold in Canada in 1999.

Gordie Johnson is joined by Anders Drerup on bass and Roo Valach on drums to round out the current iteration of Big Sugar. Together, the power trio celebrate the groundbreaking album with a two-set theatrical performance. Fans can expect to hear the album in its entirety and more hits as the band revisits Big Sugar’s career from their early blues and jazz-tinged songbook which has influenced generations of guitarists. “The theatre setting gives us the opportunity to explore a much wider range of styles,” says Johnson, “while still presenting a Big Sugar rock ‘n’ roll show!”

Big Sugar is known for their live shows blowing away crowds. Though it is indeed a theatre, River Run Centre’s Main Stage is equipped with state-of-the-art sound tech to support the biggest, loudest rock bands. Fans of the band’s music will appreciate experiencing their sound at River Run. Tickets for the March 22 performance are selling well, don’t miss out.

Tickets to Big Sugar are $69 for adults, $67 for patrons over 60, and $39 for those under 30 years old. For more information or to purchase, please call 519-763-3000, visit River Run Centre’s Box Office at 35 Woolwich Street in Guelph, or go to

For Information

Kasia Rusiniak | Program Manager, Development and Marketing
River Run Centre | City of Guelph
519-837-5662 extension 2589
[email protected]