The Joel Plaskett Emergency
14-Dec-2007 02:56 am
Contributed by: pete
The Horseshoe is celebrating its 60th anniversary! To mark this massive milestone, the venue has two weeks of celebration concerts booked that started last week with a private party that included The Sadies with special guest Gord Downie (from The Tragically Hip). It continues with a night of Blue Rodeo next Monday, another night featuring Danko Jones, and wraps-up with with two nights of The Skydiggers. But the big event (in my mind) is this week: Joel Plaskett is playing 6 shows in a row - one for each decade The Horseshoe has been in business - playing through each one of his five albums, one per night on Monday through Friday, and then an all-out everything show on Saturday. To this day Down At The Khyber remains my favourite Joel Plaskett album simply because it is the one that introduced me to his music. It was his second full-length album, which meant it was scheduled for Tuesday, and when I discovered that Major Grange (a band that shares members with The Golden Dogs) was opening on the Down At The Khyber night, I knew it was the right night.
The Joel Plaskett Emergency
It's a pretty bold move to play six nights in a row, but it's not unheard of. There have been more than a few marathon concert series at The Horseshoe in the past, so it just seemed fitting that The Horseshoe would host one for their 60th anniversary. It's even more impressive when the series of shows sells out. Out of the seven people I spoke to on Tuesday night, five of them were planning on being there for Joel Plaskett every night. Whoa. I only planned one night, but did I ever pick my night well. It was pretty much the perfect Plaskett concert for me.
The first hour of the night was the band playing the entire Down With The Khyber album, from start to finish, in order. Which meant the set opened with the title track... one of my favourite Joel Plaskett songs of all time... and also meant the song Maybe We Should Just Go Home was third in the set, a song that is often reserved for the last song of the night. The second hour of the show consisted of a mix of stuff, including a few more of my favourites such as Extraordinary and Work Out Fine as well as a few songs from his latest release Ashtray Rock (which, admittedly, I haven't given a fair chance to be my favourite Plaskett album yet). Joining Plaskett on stage was Peter Elkas on keyboards, who also opened the Thursday night show (the La De Da show).
Plaskett put on an amazing performance, doing his trademark loose-legged-slide around the stage while playing a few of the guitar solos. The songs were performed with the kind of feeling that you're there to see, all along with a collection of odd hand gestures and facial expressions (see the full photo set for an example). In between songs Plaskett provided some background on how a few of the tunes came to be - where he was and what was happening at the time - which gerenated a few laughs. The crowd sang along with many of the songs, sometimes yelling out the lyrics along with Joel. Other times Joel left the crowd to sing on their own. I was already a fan of Joel Plaskett, but this concert increased my status to: Official Fan-Boy. Plaskett has become a Canadian music icon. No wonder so many people are willing to spend six nights in a row with him. Just awesome. Two nights left. If you can get in, be there.
Info: The Joel Plaskett Emergency | Connect: MySpace
Major Grange is a three-piece local band that shares two members with The Golden Dogs, a band I previously described as my favourite Toronto-based live act. However, the shared members are shifted around in Major Grange with Neil Quin on drums rather than guitar and Taylor Knox on bass rather than drums. The band appears to be mostly lead by Dave Dalrymple (vocals, guitar), but as far as I could tell the song-writing is shared between Dalrymple and Knox, as are some of the vocals. There's a mild blues sound to their garage rock which is juxtaposed with Dalrymple's clean vocals.
Info: Major Grange | Connect: MySpace