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Welcome back, friend 

BA Johnston returns with a new album and his usual hot mess of booze-fuelled vaudeville.

Your friend sends you a text message asking you to come to a show"---a BA Johnston show in particular. You are not acquainted (Christian Johnston, hailing from Hamilton, ON, unashamedly residing in his mother's basement), so you Google him. Pictures of Johnston's beer gut spilling out over beer-soaked denim, and YouTube clips of him shooting snot-rockets to the soundtrack of a busted Casio keyboard are assaulting to all senses.

But he's in on the joke---Johnston once admitted to The Coast during a 2008 visit that he was a "bad musician," and when you hear him, it's likely you'll agree. Still, his return to Halifax will garner a warm Maritime welcome. After all, the former resident recorded his last album here and probably entertained the pants off of your friends, so many drunken shows ago.

"I do consider it a homecoming in many ways, and you can't get donair sauce in Ontario," Johnston jokes via email, of his upcoming "low-rent Vegas floor show" at Gus'. He's playing 50-plus performances across our vast land, hitting a string of dive bars, to support his new record Thank You For Being A Friend. Johnston's advice on surviving such a tour: "You have to sleep whenever you can, try and change your socks, and drink a lot of English breakfast tea and Jagermeister. But not together."

What to expect: a folkier, blue-collar Dan Deacon (only replace the drugs with beer, and sampler with a guitar), songs about having a deep fryer in his bedroom (he likes poutine a lot) and self-deprecating humour. The booze will be flowing, the PA's will be cranked, and you're going to get an up-close look at one of the hardest working (shirtless) troubadours in Canada.

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