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Joel Plaskett's Microcosm of Community

It’s Sunday morning. Last night Michelle and I saw Joel Plakett Emergency play at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, which is a big deal because Joel Plaskett almost never comes to Vancouver.

Reflectively poetic interruption:

I love Maritimers. In fact, Maritimers are probably my favourite kind of Canadian folk. Fun fact, Martin Renauld is probably my favourite Canadian, mostly because he’s from Quebec and won’t know exactly how to react to this comment. Anyway, like I was saying, I love Maritimers. One of the greatest years of my life unfolded in Lennoxville, Quebec during which time I lived with three fantastic gentlemen from Halifax (Cole Harbour), Nova Scotia. Jon, Justin and Adam were/are in possession of the sort of mischief, poetry, kindness, storytelling, and intangibly-unique-sociability reserved for folks from this part of the world. For years I have enviously listened to their stories of The Plask’s performances in person, over the phone and watched their posts/videos online – my theory is that he plays in either Halifax, Moncton, Charlottetown, or somewhere in the woods of Cape Breton once a week. And I’ve been jealous because I love Joel Plaskett almost as much as I love Maritimers. So last night was a pretty big deal for me. For all of us in Vancouver.

Here are my three favourite things about the Joel Plaskett Emergency show in Vancouver:

1. “Joel Plaskett: What a Beauty!” This was an overheard from the guys behind us, which was inspired by Joel (I feel like I can call him Joel) laying on his back as he sang, told stories and nearly killed himself by getting tangled and electrocuted (“electrangled” ©Copyright John Horn 2012) in what he described as an “overly ambitious stage show” – the show included red-light-rock-n-roll-monkeys and they were/are awesome. Also included on the list of things that make Joel Plaskett “a beauty” are the following: Canadian unpretentiousness (he arrived on stage wearing jeans, a jean jacket and, you guessed it, a jean shirt), soul of a poet, friggin’ hilarious, weird quirkiness (best evidenced by some of the most amazing hand gestures I’ve ever seen), and the stage presence of a truly gifted showman Showman.

2. “Do not deviate from the set list.” Following multiple requests for certain songs from certain audience members, Joel responded to the group (he was brilliant with his fan-engagement throughout the evening) with this quotation. And then he told a story about why he thought that this was the funniest thing anyone has ever yelled at him during a show. Fantastic.

3. Diverse Musical Stylings. Joel Plaskett can rock with the best of ‘em (“Lightning Bolt”), he can make you tear-up with a love song (“I’m Yours”), he can make you dance with a catchy pop song (“Through & Through & Through”), and he can make you laugh with some of the most creative lyrics this side of K’Naan (“North Star” or “Come on Teacher” or “Extraordinare” or “Fashionable People”). Oh, and he’s got some sentimental gems that get to the heart of community (“I Love This Town”).

In conclusion, from his Canadian Tuxedo to his storytelling to his balls-out rockin’, Joel Plaskett is a community-builder (unless you’re from Kelowna) through and through and through.

His cross-Canada tour just kicked-off and you should check out when he’s coming to your town. Because Joel Plaskett is all kinds of awesome.

by John Horn, Daily Gumboot