In his 20-year career, Joel Plaskett has never played the Olympic Hall. But for the native Haligonian, growing up in the city meant countless viewings at the ancient auditorium, including a rare East coast performance by Fugazi in the late ’90s. But a lot has changed since Plaskett first saw the pioneering punk band play the venue in 1998. Thankfully, the concert hall is no longer used primarily for bingo. And the 800-odd teenagers who once packed the club to witness the Washington, D.C. hardcore stalwarts have gracefully aged into adulthood — adopting receding hairlines and cabs to concerts, while holding onto their flannels and jeans. So it was fitting that on March 28, after nearly a year away from the city, Halifax’s 30-somethings would sell out the historic dancehall to catch a glimpse of Plaskett and the Emergency’s brand of nostalgic, throwback rock’n'roll.
Noise Floor is a Boston-based music blog with a focus on live reviews, photos, news and commentary on everything interesting in the world of compelling people making compelling sounds.
Veteran Canadian indie rocker Joel Plaskett performed a rapturously received acoustic set to a sold-out O’Brien’s on Wednesday night. World’s Quietest band and Cause a Rockslide opened.
Plaskett’s musical resume is a rather impressive one: Polaris Music Prize nominee, Juno Award winner, primary songwriter of Canadian alt-rock band Thrush Hermit and leader of the Joel Plaskett Emergency, not to mention a triple-album (!) and several more releases under his own name. Plaskett seems a minor celebrity in the music scene of his native Canada, but remains curiously overlooked here in the states. Even in a room as small as O’Brien’s, however, Plaskett’s charm and natural showmanship were undiminished. (more…)
On one of the snowiest nights of the winter, I took in one of the year’s best rock shows. It was a mostly acoustic set by Joel Plaskett, who began rocking out as a teenager twenty years ago in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Eight albums later, under such band names as Thrush Hermit and the Joel Plaskett Emergency, plus a near-score of notable albums he’s produced for other artists, Plaskett is a highly developed songwriter who flashes great rhyming instincts and an instantly likable and charismatic performing style. Following a great warm-up set by young band, The Great American Novel, a denim-clad, lanky Plasket stepped on stage in the Studio at Webster Hall by himself, playing a bright-sounding Gibson four-string tenor guitar. This weathered instrument, which to my ear shared tones and sonic qualities with hammered dulcimer and autoharp, jibed beautifully with Plaskett’s bright pop melodies and voice, resting as it does somewhere in the upper register. After a bit, he was joined on stage by Peter Elkas, who played a Gibson acoustic fitted out with de luxe pickups patched in to a Fender amp with plenty of fuzz and reverb, providing a sonic counterweight to Plaskett’s treble tones. Peter is a hot lead guitar player, so though this performance had no full band, it had more than full enjoyment of chops, and a real rock feel. The duo worked comfortably through a full sampling of Plaskett material, “Through & Through & Through,” “Let Me Down Easy,” “North Star” (my personal fave of the whole evening), “Love this Town,” and “Deny, Deny, Deny.” At one point during these offerings Plaskett invited to the stage female artist Ana Egge, whom I had heard sing back-up with Rose Cousins last year. Now a trio, the harmonies became more enveloping and the tunes even sweeter.