Concert Review: Joel Plaskett, May 23, Massey Hall


TorontoJoel Plaskett and his band The Emergency played Massey Hall last Saturday night. It was a great show shock full of feelgood east-coast rock. The unassuming Mr. Plaskett is on tour promoting his latest album Three. He was joined on guitar by his father Bill Plaskett, as well as fellow singer/songwriters Ana Ege and Rose Cousins.

“Rock and roll’s wrapped ‘round me as tight as a noose.” – Joel Plaskett

The show started just after 8 pm and was broken up into two sets. The first was an accoustic set with Bill, Ana and Rose and prominently featured songs from Three. After a little a break, he was joined by his band The Emergency and rocked all the way to the 11 pm curfew imposed on Massey Hall. That’s nearly a solid 3 hours of music! The length of the set was as ambitious as his album, which consists of three CD’s (hence the title). It’s a good thing his music is so fun and easy to listen to.

Joel Plaskett puts on great live shows. He’s a consumate musician who knows how to play guitar and knows how to sing. In addition to his vocal prowess, Joel is a fantastic guitarist that plays with a straight-ahead blues-infused vibe that can really cook. I remember seeing him at Lee’s Palace a few years ago and was awestruck by the simple and powerful way he could rock out. This show featured a lot more of Joel the accoustic guitarist and singer/songwriter than Joel the rock guitarist. But this is consistent with his album Three which is a lot less rocky than his previous offering: aptly named Ashtray Rock.

Joel gives off such a clean-cut friendly vibe that I’m alway a little taken aback when he swears in some of his tunes.

One highlight from all this great accoustic stuff was the addition of Ana Ege and Rose Cousins.  Both are talented singer/songwriters in their own right. Adding them to the mix made the harmonies that much sweeter. Their voices really added a lot of padding to the mix and generally bumped up the atmosphere of the show in general.  Pairing Joel’s strong voice with these ladies’ harmonies was a smart move.

If there’s one thing that was a little out-of-sorts, it was the ticket price. Once the surchages are added, my tickets ended up being $50 a piece, which is a little on the pricey side. It certainly brings it home that I’m not seeing Joel in some quaint bar in Halifax, or even at Lee’s, but at Massey Hall in downtown Toronto.  Lucky for us that seeing Joel Plaskett live is such good clean fun. Joel gives off such a clean-cut friendly vibe that I’m alway a little taken aback when he swears in some of his tunes. If anything, it makes the experience that much more sincere.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts