Live from Toronto

Chris McCluskey reports from afar.

The major grievance attending any event encompassing over 30 venues within a three-day period is the same: Too much to do, not enough time. You’re lucky if you catch even half of what you attempt to see—and this certainly applied in Toronto at last weekend’s North by Northeast, featuring Halifax scene representatives Adam Puddington & The Proof, Jimmy Swift Band, Wordburglar, Shelter with Thieves, Museum Pieces, Jesse Dangerously and City Field.

Puddington says his 45-minute set on Thursday was beneficial for him and his band, which also includes bassist Serge Samson, guitarist/pedal steel player Dale Murray, vocalist Kelly Sloan and drummer Nick Diak in place of Brian Murray.

“It was great to play with the band in Toronto for the first time. Also, playing in front of a crowd of true music fans is always nice,” says Puddington. “The biggest reward is the chance to meet so many music enthusiasts in one night—to network with other musicians and industry folk.”

Puddington played to a jammed house at Healey’s on June 8, the same evening City Field—with Rob Benvie manning bass duties—jammed The Silver Dollar to near capacity. The festival has been a great launch pad for our city’s talent, who attract droves outside the Maritimes.

Turn a Light on

Steven Bowers built a following as a popular university act, and he’s evolved without alienating his fanbase. His latest, Tired Light, features contributions from almost 20 additional musicians— including Ron Hynes, who co-wrote the song “Only One”—and is set for release on June 17 at the Seahorse.

“I did a lot more co-writing on this record,” says Bowers. “It helped open my eyes to different directions of writing.”

Tired Light’s 11 songs maintain Bowers’ roots-rock reputation, a discernable shoegazer ambience coupled with a healthy dose of pedal steel.

“I’m finally starting to feel like I’m writing songs. Before, I was doing the stream of consciousness thing,” he says. “I like this one a little better. It took us a year-and-a-half to record the whole thing so I’ve been writing this one for two years. It’s by far the most amount of work I’ve done on one project.”

Shows, shows, shows

Confirmation that The Rolling Stones will appear September 23 on the Common is pending, but tickets for Sarah Harmer’s <@body alt>appearance the same day will go on sale June 16 at the Rebecca Cohn. Dalhousie campus will also host country/folk icon John Prine on September 8 and 9. Tickets for those dates are on sale now. Moving downtown, Buck 65, with his new band Le Film Noir, will perform with Matt Mays & El Torpedo on June 16 at The Seahorse. To avoid disappointment, call the Cohn immediately (494-3820). Canada Day weekend will provide a mix of the old and the new. Kim Mitchell will be joined by 54.40 at Casino Nova Scotia on July 1. The following day, in Dartmouth, Joel Plaskett Emergency, In-Flight Safety, Carmen Townsend and Caledonia will prevent locals from migrating to PEI (where Sam Roberts and the Hip will be) to celebrate the nation’s birthday. Halifax Metro Centre is also becoming much busier with birds of play Live, Hilary Duff (again!), Dixie Chicks and Randy Travis all performing there this summer.

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