I started at the Murphy's Community Centre on Saturday afternoon. Bands were set up in a multipurpose room that reminded me of an old church gymnasium. The stage's curtains were rusty, red and ragged. Definitely could have been the same curtains from the night the place opened decades ago. That small issue aside, the sound quality was excellent and so were the lights.
Alana Yorke's set was great. Amazing vocals and extra style points for her drummer who not only pulled off a few stick tricks, he did it without looking like a tool. Many of the acts on this stage were quieter, more meldoy-driven bands. Something for the entire family!
After the Murphy's Centre I lit a smoke and walked up the street with David Driscoll, guitar player in my band, the Stogies. We popped in to the Hunter's Ale House K-Rock 105.5 acoustic stage sponsored by SpinCount and Bear River Road Music to check out Andrew Hunter and the Gatherers before we had to go play a gig of our own.
Stone Mary was busy shreddin' on their acoustics when I landed. While I waited for Andrew Hunter's set I sat and caught up with the Halifax rock band for a minute as they were working out their set list. Hunter took the stage to a warmed up crowd, who by now, were at the end of their first round and looking forward to the next.
The K-Rock 105.5 stage was built specifically for the ECMAs. Thank fuck. If you've never been to Hunter's before this past weekend you should know they used to have bands playing on the floor to the side of the bar or on the upper level at the back. Now, with a decent stage that's, above all else, viewable from every corner, the atmosphere was undeniably electric, even when it was acoustic.
After finishing my own gig, I hustled home to my mum's place in Cornwall to clean up and get ready to tear through the city some more. Noteworthy sets from Saturday night were Ruby Jean, Tim Chaisson and Morning Fold and the Grass Mountain Hobos at the Late Night stage at Hunter's.
Having never seen Tim Chaisson before, I was impressed at the quality of music the band was producing. Chaisson's got chops to spare on piano, guitar and the fiddle. Very cool shit.
Sunday night was the night most people were anticipating. And I dare say, no one was disappointed.
After another Stogies gig Sunday evening I showed up to the Delta on Queen street and made my way to the ballroom to take in the live acts and the gala awards on the satellite feed. Haywire shook the shit outta the place, stomping through all the old hits and misses. Everyone was pumped up and dancin' as Haywire finished and Paper Lions started. Not a huge fan of these Island pop tarts but I gotta give 'em credit, they sounded fantastic.
Although I was unable to get to everything I wanted to check out, due to my own gigs and responsibilities, what I did see gave me hope for the future of East Coast/Canadian music. The face-melting talent that took over Charlottetown for the week was nothing short of inspiring. With any luck it won't be long until the rest of the country and beyond figures it out.
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