As Joel Plaskett tells it, when he and his rhythm section stepped in to fill in for Neko Case at the last minute at this year’s Sled Island, he could see lightning going off as they were lighting into “Lightning Bolt,” off their latest, Scrappy Happiness. What he couldn’t have known when he was taking the stage at the Regina Folk Festival was that lightning overhead would make the Joel Plaskett Emergency the de facto headliner for the evening, as Blitz the Ambassador’s set got cut short and the Sam Roberts Band never made it to the stage.
Luckily, whenever Plaskett plays, he seemingly pours everything he has into every song. He was buoyant during opener “Through and Through and Through,” the consummate rock god during “It’s Catchin’ On” (an essential for Regina, for the “I’ll move out to Saskatchewan” line), and so electric during “You’re Mine” that you might worry he’d tire himself out. He even did the CBC Kids version of “Fashionable People” on request, which went over huge.
A monster, medley version of “Work Out Fine” and the requisite “Nowhere With You” closer were pure showmanship from Plaskett and the band, but the real highlights of the set were a pair of new songs he played, one dedicated to a neighbour of his from Dartmouth, NS who’d passed away. It was all a reminder that Plaskett’s not just an incredible performer, but a writer with plenty of honest work to put out there.
by James Brotheridge, Exclaim!
photo Peter Scoular