La Scéne de la Scéne
by Stephan MacLeod
The second annual Close To the Coast music festival will be hitting Baba's Lounge this Labour Day Weekend. The four day event will showcase the best of local and Maritime independent music from August 28-31. This year's show will bring back a few familiar faces from last year like Slowcoaster, Rock Ranger, Neusieland, The Rude Mechanicals, Port Citizen, Eyes For Telescopes, The Tuesdays, Windom Earle, The New Drifts, and Under the Hood. But a few new bands will also be introduced to the line up like Halifax's high octane, no-wave sex symbol, A/V, who will be bringing his shopping cart full of old school key boards and sequencers. Beatbox prodigy Kaleb Simmonds will team up with Halifax's DMC champion DJ Skratch Bastid. Former Guthrie, Matt Mayes and El Torpedo will play their first show in Charlottetown at this festival. And Happy Medium from Saint John will also make an appearance. All in all, this year's event promises to be an eclectic four days of music and Lebanese food.
You couldn't write a better success story for Summerside's Nathan Wiley. Besides becoming a finalist for yet another CBC contest, Wiley, has inked a deal with Atlantic Music Group. This means he will be under the helpful management of Louis Thomas, who is best known for his work as Great Big Sea's manager. Nathan will be performing in the semi-finals for The Great Canadian Music Dream contest on September 22 at the Rebecca Cohn in Halifax. This event will be recorded for broadcast on the CBC.
Tastes Like a New Band Local activist-core legends, Tastes Like Burning (Jonah Campbell, Greg Boone, Jamie Hanus, and Ryan Gallant) have called it quits after about three years of energetic and emotionally devastating performances in the Charlottetown all-ages scene. After recently releasing their second CD, The Imposition of Order, and going on a crazy tour in the United States the band has decided to switch gears and a new group has emerged with most of the members of TLB. Rock and Roll Party Machine describe themselves as a bit crazier and more melodic.
New Venue Growing concern over a lack in affordable venues to put on concerts in the independent music scene in Charlottetown has prompted a group of local youths to begin lobbying politicians to help them create a non-profit venue to put on concerts. If you would like to help bring a community center to Charlottetown, check out their website, http://freevenue.cjb.net for more information.
The New Drifts have recently released a CD of warm and smokey songs called Nemisis. This talented group from Summerside create an inviting vibe courtesy of their soft, pretty harmonies, hypnotic, repetitive grooves, and inventive use of percussion. This album is perfect for anyone who has a hankering for progressive roots music.
One Inch Punch
Local music promoters and entrepeneurs, Greg Boone and Mike Lecky, have recently acquired a 1" button press and already they are busy manufacturing pins for local bands. For twenty bucks, you can get 50 black and white buttons printed for your band, or outlaw biker gang. They will also make smaller orders at $1/button. Check out http://www.aioku.com/headtoheart for more info on buttons and other projects these kids are cooking up.
If I Hear One More Song About Mountains...
We arrived at the 17th Annual PEI Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival at the Rollo Bay Festival Grounds late Friday night. By late, I mean they were about to close the gates when we drove onto the festival grounds in the wee hours of the night. And by arrive, I mean we drove in the complete opposite direction for several hours, turned around, got a map at a gas station in Charlottetown, then drove another 45 minutes towards Souris. Even though we were setting up our tent in the middle of the night, there was still plenty of music to be heard between the hundreds of RV's and tent communities. Walking along the grassy festival grounds, we couldn't exactly find the various jam sessions but remaining quiet and following the sounds. For some reason the campfire bluegrass jams would just sneak up on us. As we walked, a giant stand up bass and a group of seasoned pros would just appear, and their traditional music would vanish without a trace by the time you walked by the next RV.
We found the area that The Tuesdays transformed into an outdoor version of Buzzy's, and we hung around there and ate barbecued sausages. John Mullins brought his new dobro and mentioned that after he saw that several of the best bluegrass dobro players in North America are very stout gentleman, he would have to start eating more. Wildfire, one of the headlining bands from Tennasee had a huge dobro player with amazing chops. This band was by far the most entertaining group of the weekend. They played faster and harder than any of the other groups there, and they had an excellent stage presence. Unfortunately, one of the many rules during the festival prohibited dancing (as well as spoon playing or loud talking) in the stage area, so despite the energy generated by Wildfire, we had to contain ourselves on the wooden benches and quietly enjoy the music. Despite the rules against dancing, alcoholic beverages, pets, and pleasure riding of bicycles, the atmosphere of the festival was extremely welcoming and the numerous late night jam sessions were filled with spontaneous teamings of amateur and professional musicians.