Monday, July 23, 2007

Reviews:: Joel Plaskett Emergency Live at Alderney Landing

Joel & the legendary Dave BoydAs I mentioned Friday, P and I checked out the Joel Plaskett Emergency show on Friday night as part of her birthday celebrations. It's the only show Joel & Co are playing in Halifax this summer, and it just so happened to fall on P's birthday, so it seemed like a good fit. The show took place at Alderney Landing on the Dartmouth waterfront, and also featured Jenn Grant and Peter Elkas. I'd never been to Alderney Landing before, but it's a pretty cool spot right on the waterfront with a very cool view. Well the view would've been awesome if the fog didn't make it seem as if the world ended 30 feet to the right of the stage, but it didn't rain, so I won't complain.

The doors opened at 8PM, and Jenn Grant came on stage at about 20 after, so the many early arrivals didn't have to wait long for the proceedings to begin. Petra and I had ventured over to the special fenced off booze section and I had a delicious Molson Canadian (note: it was not delicious) while P declined my gentlemanly offer to buy her a Smirnoff Ice and had to go without as, unbelievably, not one of the options written on the side of the cardboard box being used as a cash register was wine.

So I drank my beer as Jenn opened up with a new song she'd written for her dog called "Heart Of Sticks". It was cute, but not sure if this one will make her next album. Jenn was wearing a blue & white sundress, which was a pretty brave choice considering how windy and foggy it was. But the weather didn't seem to bother her and once her band the Night Painters joined her, the set picked up nicely. Not sure if Jenn had played a big outdoor venue like that before, and her stage banter came off a little shy, but she didn't hold back in her performance as she played most of the songs on Orchestra For The Moon. Unique New York was a highlight for me and her finale of Dreamer was really quite good to see live.

I thought it was a good showing for Jenn and she genuinely seemed excited to be part of the show, and the crowd picked up on that I thought. The majority were still in the fenced off beer & Smirnoff Ice section, but they were still very appreciative.

That appreciation continued for Peter Elkas, who was up next with a tight set from his latest album Wall Of Fire. Like Joel, Peter's been touring since he was a teenager, so he's at ease up on stage, even with a large, anxious crowd like the one that had assembled by the time he came on. Opening with the wistful Sweet Nancy, the songs from Peter's latest album sounded great live with a big assist from the Elkas band (or the Elkaholics if you prefer, and I do). Jeff Heisholt is listed as the man on the Keys on Pete's myspace, so I'll assume that's who was manning them Friday night, and he deserves some props for ripping it up. Fall Apart Again sounded great, which isn't surprising as it's a great song. I also enjoyed Wall Of Fire, which was a little more uptempo and jamming done live, and Everybody Works off Pete's previous album Party Of One got the crowd moving. Peter wrapped up with a raucous version of Something Beaming which he added some crowd participation to and that got folks hyped up for the main event.

The main event of course being similar to Saturday Night's Main Event, with Joel Plaskett playing the role of the Hulkster and peeling off his sweater vest instead of tearing off a yellow wife-beater when it was time to crank it up a notch. Joel came on stage with a smile and almost seemed as happy to see his hometown fans as they were to see him. Perhaps because of this, the energy from Joel and his Emergency mates, Dave Marsh on Drums and Chris Pennell on Bass, was there right from the start as they launched into an array of catchy songs from Ashtray Rock. Pete Elkas joined Joel and the band on stage for pretty much the entire set playing the keys, harmonica, and even some guitar. I believe Peter has played with Joel a few times before, so he seemed to know the songs pretty well. About halfway through the 3rd song, Gordie Johnson appeared on stage fresh from Texas in a 10 gallon, matching black western shirt and some spiffy cowboy boots. I don't think Gordie knows Joel's catalogue all that well, but he was very game and played for almost their entire set, filling in on the Tambourine or maracas when necessary.

All in all I'd have to say it was the kind of "hometown" show you'd expect from someone like Joel who, by all accounts, is proud to still call Halifax home. I do believe he played every single song from Ashtray Rock, even some like Chinatown, which he said he hadn't really played live before. One of the highlights for me of the Ashtray Rock stuff was Snowed In/Cruisin' which was a fist pumping blast to hear from our position almost dead centre in front of the stage. Of course Drunk Teenagers was very good and they even played Instrumental and had Joel's wife Rebbeca come to the side of the stage and recite the spoken word bit she does on the album while Joel looked on proudly.

Joel's father also joined him onstage for a couple acoustic songs from Joel's solo album La De Da. They did a stripped down version of Happen Now, which is my favorite from that album so I enjoyed it plenty, and of course they did P's fave, the Halifax ode Love This Town, which P and everyone else enjoyed tremendously. You can still suck it Kelowna!

Here's a little tip, if you'd like to see a posse of people from Halifax lose their collective wigs, play them Nowhere with you It seems we like that song here. Favorites from Down At The Khyber and Truthfully Truthfully were also played with enthusiasm by Joel and the band with Joel even paying tribute to the late Bob Switzer of Taz Records fame during a psychedelic rock out in the middle of Maybe We Should Just go Home. Gordie Johnson got to take the lead and play a little Hot For Teacher in the middle of Teacher Teacher, which seemed like an appropriate time for it. The first encore found Joel switching to the drum kit as Dave Marsh took over the geetar and they played a rousing version of Fashionable People. Joel even played the little acoustic outro from Ashtray Rock where he mentions Dave Boyds' subterranean swimming pool election plans and changed the lyrics to mention that he'd recently heard from Dave. Haven't we all though?

In fact Dave was in attendance Friday night and was kind enough to send the hill the lovely pic of him and Joel you see at the top of this review. Joel played for pretty much 2 hours, and although we had all been standing on concrete in the pea soup Dartmouth fog, I don't very many people left before the show was done. The crowd was a nutty mix of high school kids, younger kids with their parents, college kids, weird drunk dudes, old people who brought their own chairs, and overgrown kids like P and I who went to school with Joel. One thing is certain a good time was had by all, especially by the semi-annoying Canada' Next Top Model wannabee in the glitter hat who was rocking out in front of us. Big ups for knowing the words to every song, glitter hat girl, but perhaps try doing the rockin' out fist pump/sexy dance once every couple songs. Anyway, I digress, kudos to Joel & Co for putting on a great show.

stream:: Jenn Grant - Dreamer
mp3:: Peter Elkas - Fall Apart Again
mp3:: Joel Plaskett Emergency - Fasionable People
mp3:: Joel Plaskett Emergency - Drunk Teenagers

Posted at 11:17 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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