Rolling report

Chris McCluskey is Rolling with it.

The Common was the best place to feel like you weren’t in Halifax last weekend, with a massive stage, bleachers and numerous concession tents materializing on previously familiar territory. About the only reminder you lived nearby were the sheets of rain.

Halifax-bred group Sloan represented the east with a short set before a longer (and cover-laden) set at the Seahorse shortly after the Stones’ finale. The quartet didn’t miss the opportunity to strike a chord with the demographically diverse crowd, launching into their signature brand of driven guitar rock while adding a taste of the new with several selections from their recently released eighth record, Never Hear the End of It.

The downpour reached its peak during Alice Cooper’s set—coinciding with the “shock value.” The longtime horror rocker appeared on stage wielding a baton and built on his theatrics, emerging at one point draped with a live python. For those not old enough to know Cooper during his heyday, his performance was a pleasant surprise, and the reason we all tried to rent Dazed and Confused the following day.

Kanye West exuded contemporary mainstream appeal. Accompanied by a Halifax-staffed orchestra and DJ, West’s passionate set got the crowd grooving in the miserable weather. Also notable were several covers and samples including Gnarls Barkley and The Verve, which were well-received.

The rain eased shortly after nightfall, while fireworks and giant screens—as part of an overwhelming production—set the atmosphere for The Rolling Stones. Launching into “Paint it Black,” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had the crowd transfixed through the course of the roughly two-hour set. Members of the world’s longest lasting rock band made several hearty jabs at the rain, but the 50,000 or so audience members never let damp weather turn into dampened enthusiasm.

While the crowd dispersed following the first encore, and the Stones didn’t play their final planned song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” those in attendance got what they needed.

Plaskett hearts Dartmouth

Thousands will take the Dartmouth ferry into the town on October 5 to celebrate Alexander Keith’s 211th birthday with the region’s two most famous resident musical acts. Matt Mays & El Torpedo and the Joel Plaskett Emergency co-headline at Alderney Landing, which Plaskett considers to be the city’s best outdoor venue.

“The best part about being in Dartmouth is I can just walk to the show,” says Plaskett over juice. “The only thing you’ve got to prepare yourself is for a bit of the wind and water, you know?”

His single “Nowhere with You” has received significant radio play across the country since he last appeared with Mays at City Hall during the Junos. He says he’s making progress on his new full-length album, but it’s far from complete.

“It’s shaping up to be a bit of a concept record,” he says. “It’s kind of fiction, based on my own experience. Essentially what I’m doing is romanticizing and fictionalizing my childhood playing music with my friends. It’s kind of the story of teenagers in Clayton Park who want to play music, and there’s a girl figure prominently in the equation.”

While the Emergency likely won’t debut new tunes in Dartmouth, Plaskett’s excited about celebrating the legacy of a fellow Nova Scotian. In-Flight Safety kicks off the festivities at 5pm.

Kick it:

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