Ever wonder what a “classic Saturday night in downtown Halifax” feels like? If you were at the jam packed Light House Arts Centre last night for Joel Plaskett Emergency, I’m pretty sure you understand the hype.
Eric Stephen Martin came across the bridge from Dartmouth with his band to heat up the stage and bring a few of his “life in Dartmouth” themed tunes to the eager Halifax crowd.
Joel Plaskett Emergency comes in loud
Joel Plaskett has been rocking for over twenty years with his backing band The Emergency, who’s main lineup consists of Dave Marsh on drums, and Chris Pennell on Bass, with Plaskett handling lead guitar and vocals. I have attended Plaskett’s gigs since 2004 when he opened for The Tragically Hip, and quickly defined him as one of the most reliable “no one will ever be disappointed” performers to me. Last night blew that expectation to the highest point yet again, bringing me back to the old days!
The band took the stage around 8:50pm warming up the crowd with “Lightning Bolt” from the 2012 “Scrappy Happiness” record. Following the ecstatic opener, the catharsis went into full swing with the “Truthfully Truthfully” smash hits “Work Out Fine” and “Mystery and Crime”, which Plaskett called rare. I have not heard the song live since seeing the band in 2006 and have seen them many times since. “Nothing More to Say” came next with loud reactions from the Halifax crowd, it was my first time hearing it live and is by far one of my favourite “angry” songs by any artist.
Mo Kenney storms the stage
As the show continued, supporting multi instrumentalist and vocalist Mo Kenney took the stage during the crowd favourite “Extraordinary” where they would remain for most of the night as they have held this role for the better part of the last decade, which has brought many neat projects(more later).
To wrap up the first full band set, the band went through the evening show’s title track “Snowed In” as well as other Ashtray Rock hits “Soundtrack for the Night” and “Drunk Teenagers”, and “Renegade” from Plaskett’s largest record yet “44”. Drummer Dave Marsh also took over the microphone to sing Backstreets Thread from his 2008 solo album as a shoutout to Halifax gig booking legend Greg Clark.
Joel Plaskett Emergency goes acoustic
Soon, was time for the band to take a rest, Plaskett tapped his acoustic guitar collection, a staple during Emergency Shows. “Love this Town”, which feels like our municipal anthem opened the segment as the fans sung back every word. Perhaps the highlight of this segment and even the night was support member Mo Kenney’s return to perform their vocal rendition of Plaskett’s own “True Patriot Love” from last year’s “The Window Inn Sessions” album.
To close out the main set, the full band returned for energetic renditions of “Three” album hits “Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’” and “Deny, Deny Deny”. The band also took the crowd through a work in progress “Campfire Song” that may see a release in the future. Finally, no main Plaskett should end without a foot stomping “hands in the air” “Nowhere with You” and that’s exactly what happened.
Joel Plaskett Emergency becomes “The Band” for a moment
Just when you thought the show reached it’s peak, it’s not over yet! Upon returning to the stage, Dave Marsh took the keyboards while Joel took the drum kit for another “Window Inn Sessions” original “What I Like About Charles”, the groups longtime recording engineer. Plaskett’s inner Levon Helm continued as he remained at the kit for the Ashtray Rock classic “Fashionable People”, bringing a very unique moment to the Emergency live experience.
The full band including Mo Kenney assumed their positions one last time to take everyone “back to school” with “Come on Teacher” and since “good things come to those who wait”, the band exited the stage a final time after “Through & Through & Through” as the lights went up.
It’s safe to say that the event didn’t exactly match it’s “Snowed In at the Light House” naming scheme as the sidewalks were pretty clear, but it’s no secret that this evening gave attendees the true “Saturday night” experience and we need to see the Emergency rock their hometown more often, as we will be there in droves. If you’ve never experienced Joel Plaskett Emergency, it’s an absolute must, and you’ll thank us later.
Thanks to Sonic Concerts for another show in our great city!