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Music

Joel Plaskett w/ Family & Friends @ Sala Rossa, Rossa, Rossa

Posted by Margot / May 22, 2009

Joel Plaskett and Bill Plaskett at Sala Rossa McEachernThis photo was taken by Allen McEachern, who's new around Midnight Poutine and will be collaborating with us in the realm of picture-taking. His photography is off the hook, and so are the various projects he's involved in. Find out more at Allen's website.

It was a two-set spectacular at Sala last night when Joel Plaskett, his dad, and some talented friends played over two hours of assorted tunes. For those audience members who'd never seen him play live, it was an introduction to the kind of show we should actually take our time to go see. And for those who had seen Joel Plaskett in concert, it was a reminder of why coming back is such a good idea.

The Plasketts' east coast roots were showing during the first set when Joel and his dad were accompanied on stage by fellow Maritimer Rose Cousins and Ana Egge. Acoustic in nature, their four voices, three guitars and a mandolin started the show off with a collection of sweet melodies. Calm and almost mystifying, "In the Blue Moonlight" confirmed his competency as a songwriter, and Egge's "Farmer's Daughter" confirmed that he was in good musical company. But after a few quiet tunes in a row, Joel picked the crowd back up with the crafty use of an old Casio keyboard and some pre-recorded beats.

As expected, many of the songs played were from his latest album - he actually apologized a few times for the Three-heavy content of the concert. But his apologies were unnecessary; the new material is sharp, varied, and a pleasure to hear live. In the second set, and with the help of his old friends from the Emergency, Joel brought back all the energy from his older tunes. He and Peter Elkas even had a guitar duel before the night was out. Now that's entertainment!

Joel Plaskett McEachernA showman through and through (and through), Plaskett kept the audience involved and laughing with his witty inter-song banter, a sing-along about his elderly cat White Fang, and constant thanks to the crowd (and Montreal in general) for being so awesome. When his dad wasn't on stage for part of the second set, he could be found in the audience enjoying the show as much as the next person. The proud father wore a smile a mile wide for half the show.

He may not be a capital-m Modernist, but Plaskett knows how to make it new: he took an acoustic approach to Ashtray Rock songs that used to be heavier, added two new voices to old songs, switched up some lyrics (apparently, Kelowna's not so bad anymore), and could still get the crowd all riled up with "Work Out Fine" - at one point, a group of fans in front of stage right were full-out scream-singing along with the music.

For the last part of the show, Joel was joined again by the whole crowd, who as a collective played a few more old tunes and a couple new ones, and finished with "On & On & On," which really goes on and on (and on and on). They were having a good time with it, though, and so was the audience. Maybe he's been around the block a few times, but Joel Plaskett is anything but old news.

Discussion

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