Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Night with Joel Plaskett (plus friends and family)

Joel Plaskett makes you happy to be where you are.

He served up Canada in two rocking sets tonight in Kamloops. He didn’t come down to the level of the audience but rather, right from the beginning, brought everyone up to his level for a dazzling night of genuine, home-cooked hooks and hardworking rhythms that could only be fostered during those long, drunken Maritime evenings. With some help from his dad and two lovely ladies, Plaskett showed his strength as a musician and emphasized wholesome patriotism, a rarity in popular music.
His unhinged rhymes and uncanny dialogue had the crowd in stitches. From his “Hi-Fi” keyboard reminiscent of Ghostbusters to his tuning anecdotes, there were smiles all around.
The Pavillion’s acoustics further accentuated Plaskett’s soaring vocal range and his feet on stage moved like his fingers on the fret board; moon-walking the lead guitar and stomping out the rhythm. His main goal was to promote his new 27-song, triple album “Three.” He featured many songs including “Heartless, Heartless, Heartless,” “Through and Through and Through,[1]” “Rewind, Rewind, Rewind,” the heartfelt “Lazybones,” “Rollin Rollin Rollin” and “In the Blue Moonlight.” He also supplemented each song with contextual details which made Plaskett more accessible to his audience.
In a blue collared shirt, his sinewy arms and thick veins rocked five guitars, a bass drum and a snare (both played by hand) and his $6 second-hand keyboard. The ladies also took over keys, percussion, guitar and mandolin with his father picking progressions and lead on his own guitar. All contributed vocals and each member of Plaskett’s band played an original too.
Their chemistry on stage was like watching a bunch of old friends jamming into the wee hours around a kitchen table in the prairies. It was natural and effortless. His emphasis on Canada (and the Interior’s) beauty created an interesting correlation between the outside world and the dimly lit theatre.
This 34-year old is also a clever man. His continuous crowd interaction and laughter at his own “foolishness” for releasing a triple album showed his carefree, casual, oh-so-Canadian demeanour. Even when he accidentally said “Kelowna” and not “Kamloops,” he recovered smoothly, but his double apology showed that he truly did feel bad. The crowd harassed him nonetheless in good fun. Canadians love to over-apologize.
He dabbled a little bit from Ashtray Rock (the album he released with Emergency) which even caused spontaneous dancing during the “Fashionable People” encore. However, the big hit of the night was the radio-friendly “Nowhere with You.”
Local content and references (Dorian’s Greek House for example) reoccurred throughout the show—even though the last time he played Kamloops was in 1996 and he was too drunk to actually remember it. He saw how special the city “where the rivers meet” is, which helped us rediscover and reconnect with what we may overlook.
This foursome united a mosaic of Kamloopsians under good spirits, cheap beer, rock and roll and a love for our great country. Joel Plaskett writes songs that every Canadian can feel proud to identify with.


[1] Driving home after the show “Through and Through and Through” came on the radio. Like some corny montage that rolls at the end of summer camp, or high school, I replayed the concert in front of my rain-splattered, black windshield. I saw laughing eyes, wide smiles, times I wanted to celebrate life and times I wanted to retreat. All moments were fond and I truly think that I learned something from him. I hope I didn’t blow my car speakers.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Here's a little citizen journalism for you...

Ghost cars and yelling police disrupt rural suburbia Tuesday night shortly after 10 pm as the Kamloops Police Department arrest two suspects in a stolen car from Chilliwack.
The dispatch was notified that the four-door white import was parked at a “seedy Valleyview hotel” earlier today said an officer who debriefed my family after we witnessed the arrest at the bottom of our driveway. The police stealthily punctured holes in the car’s tires outside the hotel and assigned ghost cars to tail the suspects.
An SUV ghost car flips on its lights after deflating tires stop the thieves outside my house. Another cop car appears. “Hey there’s a cop with a gun outside our house,” I say, yanking my sister Larissa and Mom out of their romantic sitcom on Global.
I peer through the curtain to see a police officer pointing his gun into the driver’s side window as a ghost truck surrounds them from the top of the hill. First time I’ve seen a handgun in Barnhartvale, most locals around here only possess hunting rifles. (So I live among hicks, big deal.)
Mom’s heart rate skyrockets as she irrationally demands we all squat down and after turning off all the lights. Other police vehicles join the scene. I laugh at the absurdity of her overreaction because the police clearly had a handle on the well-surrounded vehicle.
They pull out the fairly slender, blonde, male driver and arrest him. Through the bushes we can’t really tell if he was thrown on the ground first before he’s forced against the back of the car in handcuffs.
“He doesn’t look too happy,” says Larissa as they shove him into the back of a police car. No shit.
Other approaching vehicles are instructed to turn around as they attempt to come down the hill.
I scurry into my room for a better view where my mom already has the window open to eavesdrop on the arrest. “They said that the girl was around 13 years old,” said Mom after the passenger in the car was arrested.
Police later state that they don’t know if the girl is local or not.
Mom calls Dale across the street to tell him to look outside his window and Larissa calls her friend, our neighbour, Alanna on her cell. We all assume that it’s one of the drug dealers who either live beside or across the street from Alanna. However, our immediate assumptions are wrong. For once something other than the usual drug bust draws police to Barnhartvale.
The black ghost truck parks in our driveway and a tall dark-haired policeman comes to our door. A coffee in hand, he debriefs us and my mom offers him more coffee while he waits for the tow truck to arrive. He kindly declines.
“I can’t put down my Timmies even if I’m at an enquiry,” he said, truly demonstrating the commitment Kamloops police have to their local watering hole. (God we have too many Tim Horton’s here.)
He apologizes for using “not so nice words” after Mom tells him about how she was so scared she turned off all the lights. I chuckle inside as he explains that they “had to speak their [the suspect’s] language” and be so strict during the arrest.
I was just excited that a story came to me and that I didn’t have to go hunt for one in this sleepy neighbourhood.
Kudos to the police for their sneaky tactics in avoiding a car chase and snagging a thief. After all, most of us are under the impression that they only ticket N drivers and speeders around here. You that can be easily executed with an Iced Cap or Double Double in hand.
Don’s Towing comes and hulls the car off of Todd Road at about 10:50 and Mr. Tim Horton’s Cop pulls out of our driveway.
Who needs cheesy romantic comedies on a Tuesday night when you can have real-life, dramatic episodes of Cops rolling outside your living room window? Now that’s what I call high quality entertainment.

**Google Image "Kamloops Police Cars" and this comes up ----------------------------------------------------------->>