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Joel Plaskett and all that jazz

Below is an excerpt from a live review written by Todd MacLean for The Guardian about this year’s PEI Jazz and Blues Festival.

At 9:30 p.m. it was time for the Nova-Scotian-pride-filled-phenomenon, who could perhaps be hailed as the Duke of Dartmouth sometime if he keeps making it glow on the map as the home of one of the nation’s most adored artists, Joel Plaskett, complete with his band, The Joel Plaskett Emergency.

Tight and yet loose and free, rehearsed and yet on-the-spot innovative, intense and yet lighthearted, passionate and yet never taking himself too seriously — these are the names of Plaskett’s live game — and he was on it in a big way that night.

The Emergency’s truly-rocking 90-minute set featured songs like Through and Through and Through, A Million Dollars, Penny for Your Thoughts, Face of the Earth, Harbour Boys (done solo acoustically), Park Avenue Sobriety Test (new tune due out on next album), an unbelievable cover mash-up of Royals, Kung-Fu Fighting, Do Wah Diddy, Cupid and Work Out Fine (which was also so cool to hear Plaskett’s own song seamlessly mixed in the midst of these covers), Love This Town, Nowhere With You (a massive rock-out and crowd sing-along), Extraordinary and two encore tunes including one of the first hits from The Emergency’s 2001 debut album Down at the Khyber, Cry Together.

And through all the tunes (and many on-stage Polaroids taken) Plaskett kept the crowd wrapped around his finger at every turn.