Joel Plaskett

Concert Review: Cold Specks, Joel Plaskett, Rich Aucoin, July 14, Nathan Phillips Square

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


As a part of the celebrations associated with the Pan Am Games, the City of Toronto has been hosting a series of concerts in a few locations around the city, presumably to build up excitement for the games and to bring a bit of a party vibe to the city. With that in mind, Rich Aucoin was a smart booking for Panamania. With confetti cannons, an audience invasion, and wacky videos flashing across the screen, Aucoin brought the party – and that was just during the one song I caught from him. Aucoin is so dedicated to pleasing the people, he even put his cell number up on the screen with an offer to send a zip file with all of his music in it to anyone who texted him. Good times.

Following Aucoin on the adjacent stage was Cold Specks. And if the band’s moody, darker sounds weren’t an indication that the vibe would be a bit different from Aucoin’s set (though no less enjoyable), the dark yet hilarious stage banter certainly would have given it away: “This next song is a morbid tune about decapitation. I hope you enjoy it!” and “Some of us flew in from the UK this afternoon, so I’m wearing these shades to hide my cold dead eyes. Here’s another morbid tune.” The dark grey storm clouds that appeared overhead during their set seemed somehow fitting.

And while the storm did hold off for Cold Specks, the rain was coming, so a short break at a nearby pub for a pint was a smart move. After a brief rainfall, we returned to the stage to see Joel Plaskett and The Emergency charm a fairly large crowd as they played the hits along with a number of songs off of Plaskett’s latest, The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, initiating a few singalongs along the way . “Panamania! I guess that makes you all Panamaniacs!” said Plaskett before adding that they were considering opening with Van Halen’s “Panama.” Plaskett’s not afraid to get a bit corny – it’s one of his strengths really. He’s a good showman, and even if most of his tricks are old hat once you’ve seen him a few times, it’s never not fun.

Festival Preview: Toronto Urban Roots Fest [July 4-7, Fort York]

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Reviews | Leave a comment


Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) came out of nowhere earlier this year enshrouded by a haze of mystery. Initially, everyone was like who the hell was that, but as secrets revealed themselves, everyone went from curious to ecstatic as it finally dawned on people that we were finally getting a summer time music festival featuring some of our most beloved indie band.

What the hell is “urban roots” anyway? who cares. Lets take a look at 6 acts playing this thing next week.

Camera Obscura

The Scottish group recently released their fifth album – Desire Lines, recently and while it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, their music is a pleasant summertime affair. I thought they would be put on a later slot, but I always over estimate a bands poularity.

She & Him

Zooey Deschanel has made an entire career out of being cute and quirky. It’s as if she took a look at two words in the dictionary and said “I’m going to dominate those words”. Underneath all those sun dresses, quirky mannerisms and hello giggles is an interesting voice. This voice has been harnessed by M. Ward to form She & Him, a power duo that has released three whole albums of vintage inspired folk-pop songs. Conveniently named Volume 3, She & Him’s third album came out earlier this year and they’ll be eager to show it off (everyone will just want them to play In The Sun). Just to fuck you up, here’s a picture of Zooey with and without bangs.


Joel Plaskett

Surely by now this man has been declared a national treasure. Joel Plaskett returns once again to Toronto to delight us with his lively music. Last time he was here, he played five nights at the Horseshoe so this time around it’ll be a bit different. What won’t be different will be the elation of his fans every time he regales them with one of the many hits he has provided over the past decade. He hasn’t released anything since Scrappy Happiness, so maybe this show is just to enhance his own personal brand, or he’s just here to visit family or something.


Dawes was one of those bands whose name you couldn’t escape in Austin this year. They even joined John Fogerty on stage, and he called them ‘good ole boys’. Since this is a roots festival or sorts, it would only make sense that good ole boys with plaid shirts and beards would play this show. The LA quartet also recently opened for Bob Dylan.

Xavier Rudd

People freaking love Xavier Rudd. Who they are? I don’t know. I went to his show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre a few years ago and let me tell you, his fans are so fanatic that it’s almost cult like. It also reminds me of Christian rock for some reason. Perhaps best known for his extensive use of didgeridoos, Rudd’s on stage show is energetic and if you are one of those lost souls looking for a random cause to join to feel something, maybe you too might turn into one of those Xavier Rudd fans.

Belle and Sebastian

Basically one of my favorite bands ever, Belle & Sebastian are hitting the summer festival this year hard. This includes a headline slot at Pitchfork as well. It’s been three years since they have released an album but who cares? Their live show has progressively better over the years and I expect nothing less then a wonderfully delightful show to close off the first ever TURF. No better way to finish off a Sunday.

Concert Review: Joel Plaskett, Rusted Root, March 9, 9:30 Club, Washington DC

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

joel plaskett
Theme of the night at the Joel Plaskett/Rusted Root show: Good looooookin’.

The first thing that struck me when I walked into the 9:30 Club was just how darn good lookin’ Joel Plaskett actually is. The Nova Scotian musician is slim, smiling, and super well dressed (all-denim Canadian tux for the win!). His set was simple (both in the fact that he had no props and his banter was limited but friendly) and his music was clean and crisp feeling. My favorite tracks came toward the end when he played Nowhere With You (which starts with “hey good looking, why the frown?”) and Wishful Thinking. Since the show, though, I’ve looked up several of his tracks and, honestly, kind of love them all. Top picks include Sailors Eyes and Fashionable People. The artist is currently touring promoting Scrappy Happiness (such a good album title!) and is definitely worth a try if you haven’t heard him before … or even if you have.

The main act, Rusted Root, only added to the good lookin’ theme. First, the band was impeccably attired for the aged (or is experienced a better, more PC term?) jam band profile. Dreadlocks, aviator sunglasses, shiny-red-vinyl vests, and rasta hats were all sported with perfectly casual ease. Second, the inter-generational crowd they drew to the 9:30 Club had some notably amazing looks going on themselves: my favorites were the bobsey-twin 50-year old couple wearing matching Rusted Root T-shirts, cowboy hats, and plaid jeans. The show (not just the look) was great too. The band was perfectly past its peak if that makes sense: they exuded ease and familiarity on stage while also catering to the older crowd they attract by playing a 7:20 headliner set for the early show (Django Django played later at the 9:30 Club). Crowd favorites included Food and Creative Love as well as the band’s most famous song, Send me on my Way, which made for an awesome encore. The band is out promoting its newest album, The Movement, which came out October 2012.

Great line-up, great show, great Saturday night.

CMW Review: Joel Plaskett, March 21, CN Tower

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | Leave a comment

The Joel Plaskett Emergency played the top of the CN Tower to kick off the five day music festival that is Canadian Music Week. Seeing one of my favourite Canadian bands in one of the most interesting of Toronto venues was certainly a highlight of the festival. We got to rock out while enjoying a panoramic view of the city and gorging on baked pastries. How sweet is that?

The band has been featured on CBC as they record a song every week for their latest album Scrappy Happiness. As one would expect, the audience was treated to new material from the album as well as classics from the Plaskett discography. It was a good show at a memorable venue, but with a 6 pm start time, it felt a little, well, early. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would have been like with a later start time, some free booze a la SXSW, and maybe a few more die hard Plaskett fans.

Either way, it was a fantastic opportunity to see a band at the top of the world.