by Lindsay Kyte
I considered using a pseudonym like "Lynn Seakite" for this column so no one would ever suspect who I was. But I decided people would figure who I was soon enough. Especially because I keep telling people about the column.
What this column will be is my recap of various events for the month in PEI. This month has oddly turned out to be an all-music month, but I'll also be reviewing theatre, fine art exhibits, readings, whatever. And also by some fluke, I really, really liked what I saw this month. But don't count on my always being so enamored with what I see.
15-year-old Alix MacLean's Tibetan benefit concert was a great idea with a great line-up: Scott Parsons, Emery Kenny, Real Pelletier and the Rude Mechanicals. And a great emcee, Matt Rainnie. There were also great door prizes, like a prize-filled backpack donated from the Mad Hatter. What was not great was the turn-out, due mostly to a Halloween-pub-battling date. Memorial Hall looked like a wedding reception before the majority of the guests show up. Most of the audience was Alix's age, which led to a lot of balloon fights on the dance floor. But the musicians and the emcee impressively did their best. Réal Pelletier sang a funky "Allouette." The Rude Mechanicals held a costume contest. And Matt Rainnie told a bunny-costumed prize winner to "hop on up" to get her prize. Which she promptly did. Photo: Peter Forbes of the Rude Mechanicals
David Wilcox rocked Myron's on November 1 from the second he took the stage. Bald and dressed in jeans and sneakers, Wilcox' face and guitar had a life of their own-from his intense leaning down as if to coax the best sounds from his instrument to the swan-like craning of his neck as he enjoyed his efforts. And his enjoyment was frank, expressed by a teething-baby grin and a Louis Armstrong-escent widening of his eyes. The relaxed atmosphere felt like Wilcox was a bar-stool regular, who happened to be a master on the guitar. And we, his cronies, danced and cheered him on.
We heard a scream, yet no member of the band was at a mic. The sound had come from a pedal connected to the bass of Mike Lelievre, a member of Slowcoaster, who played at Baba's November 2nd and 3rd. The 3-member band from Cape Breton (Steven MacDougall-vocals and guitar, Devon Strang-drums) had quite an unusual and grooving sound. It defies description-sometimes reggae, sometimes blues-y, sometimes even country. Those sitting at tables listened with heads intently bobbing and those dancing danced with eyes intently closed. This band had our focus entirely, not because they were overly loud and prevented conversation, as is sometimes the case at Baba's, but because just when we thought we had puzzled out their sound, they would present us with something entirely unexpected and just as good.
And finally, the Jive Kings celebrated their new cd, as their song goes, "at the Mac on Saturday night." There was a great turnout of all ages to the starry, glittery MacKenzie Theatre November 4. The Jive Kings were, as usual, fabulously energetic. When Mike Ross sang their new song "Tugboat" (which I sang in my head for three days after), he looked like he had given up his soul to a musical god somewhere, his eyes heavenward, and what he became was pure music itself. Other playful new tunes, like "Mr. Magic," delighted the swing-dancing audience. What I always appreciate most about the Jive Kings, however, is how much they appreciate each other. When one member has a solo, all that exists in that moment for all other members is the sound of that solo. Perhaps such an exceptional camaraderie accounts for an exceptional sound and an exceptional energy.
So that was my magical musical tour of Charlottetown this month. Tune in again next month to read the strange, strange thoughts that make up my normal existence.