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Music Critic Live Review

From sea shanties to pop songs, from blues rock to straight up guitar wanking—Joel Plaskett really can do it all. His albums have run the gamut and his live show does the same with ease. In Calgary’s Mac Hall, he even threw in a lip sync version of his own ‘Fashionable People’, albeit the version he did for the CBC children’s show Mamma Yamma. It was a particularly special show for Plaskett, who celebrated his 37th birthday with the Calgary faithful, all of whom disregarded the nearby Coldplay show for their chance to spend an evening with the birthday boy.

Plaskett played a well-rounded show, with tunes from most of his albums sprinkled throughout the evening, including fan favourites ‘Love This Town’, ‘Through and Through and Through’ and ‘Come On, Teacher’. Surprisingly, though, the show’s best moments all came from his new album Scrappy Happiness. ‘You’re Mine’, ‘Lightning Bolt’ and especially ‘North Star’ proved not only what a great rock guitarist Plaskett is, but how powerful his three-piece Emergency band can be. Add to that dancing monkeys, a birthday cake, and Plaskett repeatedly referring to his band as the “Joel Plastic Energy Band”, and the night couldn’t have gone much better. As fans streamed out of the venue, nobody was wondering how the Coldplay show was.

by Nathan Atnikov