Thursday, May 31, 2012

Willie Nile, the Carleton, joel plaskett emergency

WILLIE NILE meets the EMERGENCY, again. For the third year running NY based rocker extraordinaire,Willie Nile ( One Guitar, Vagabond Moon, The House of a Thousand Guitars) returns to Halifax and Mike Campbell and Mike Rhodes', Carleton Bar and Grill, for a night of Backstreet running and gunning. And again, Chris and Dave, The Emergency, will back him up, with our pal Jay Smith ruling the axe. It's always been one of the highlights of the season, baby.
 Below is a post from Willie's first visit and my jet lagged jump straight from the airport into rock and roll cruise control.
pS. Willie's been doing Nowhere With You in his shows sometimes and looks like Joel will be up for a tune ce soir, Also, young punks Gloryhound, soon to be found all over the new True Love Rules album , will rock out a few they've been working on with the Jewel of the Nile himself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Willie Nile played the Carleton in Halifax last night and he was flippin' amazing . Great songwriter . I know because we made it to the show ; straight from the 7 am lobby call in Surrey to the 8 pm arrival at Stanfield International . Wasn't a whole lot left in the gas tank after the weekend and a great show at the Surrey festival but Willie summoned the reserve out of us with two highly entertaining sets . Bit of rockin' guitar , bit of piano , whole lotta talent , it was fab . Nice work from Robbie Crowell too . Big props to Mike Campbell for his inspired booking .

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My April Wine Riot

Busted ! Here's an article on the anniversary ( 32 years...Jeez zus ) of the Halifax/Dartmouth April Wine Cross Harbour Ferry Melt Down Riot. Twas not my first brush-cut with John Law... but a very rock and roll one; the usual stuff... Rock and Roll show, poor planning, poor judgement, paddy wagons, nite in jail, meet yer brother inside...y'know, everything 16 was cracked up to be.An April Wine promotional photo, circa 1982, at the height of the band's popularity.
An April Wine promotional photo, circa 1982, at the height of the band's popularity.
IMAGINE letting 1,000 or so rock fans stampede onto a boat that only holds 395 passengers.
Not exactly Crowd Control 101, but this is what happened after an April Wine concert in Halifax 32 years ago.
Trouble was already in the offing as packs of rowdy fans headed downtown on April 22, 1980.
Bus windows were smashed and trash cans were tossed overboard from the ferry. On Citadel Hill, police rounded up a battalion described in the Halifax Daily News as “dope smokers and liquor drinkers” and marched them into the Metro Centre.
Hours beforehand, promoter Donald K. Donald warned the show would set an attendance record for Halifax.
The riled-up crowd roared when April Wine took the stage following a short set by opening act Red Rider. Most of the audience had watched a TV special featuring a Le Studio performance of the latest April Wine single I Like to Rock.
The testosterone-fueled rendition, now one of the loudest videos on YouTube, was enough to make a teenaged boy want to smash his fists into a pile of broken glass. And indeed, within the first few bars of the tune the Metro Centre erupted into what one reporter labeled “bouts of fisticuffs.”
All the numbers from the band’s new record Harder … Faster brought down the house, especially Brian Greenway’s masterpiece Before the Dawn.
But Halifax concert reviewer Pauline MacDonald hated April Wine’s shift to hard rock. “April Wine is certainly a changed band – and not for the better,” she huffed of the band that had formed in Nova Scotia ten years earlier.
After griping about “mobs of screaming, rampaging youths” at the Metro Centre, she scoffed at the group’s global ambitions. “For a group that hopes to make it internationally, April Wine severely lacks quality in its music.”
However, Harder … Faster turned gold in America, and their next album hit platinum with over a million U.S. sales.
On this night in Halifax, April Wine’s final encore was shrouded by a haze from the evening’s supply of smuggled smoke bombs, bottle rockets and hash oil.
As fans hit the exits, the houselights revealed a floor strewn with liquor bottles and blood.
A large crowd raced for the new Halifax ferry terminal, which was still under construction. Dartmouth electrician Mike Mader recalls the scene: “It was pouring buckets, everyone was running. The terminal was packed, there was no ferry waiting. We had to stand around and wait.”
Incredibly, most of the teens were locked out in the rain for over half an hour. In retaliation, someone cracked open the temporary panel and briefly killed power to the terminal.
When the doors finally opened, the jean-jacketed mob surged forward, overpowering the ferry staff. The unstoppable mass, largely decked out in Greb Kodiaks, rumbled down the concrete ramp and stormed the Dartmouth III.
At least 100 passengers were forced off the overloaded boat by the crew and two Dartmouth cops. The ferry, still treacherously crammed with soaked teenagers, started its crossing with many standing on the chairs, clutching the steel ceiling for support.
Mike Mader was downstairs and describes what he saw: “There was no room for your feet. They were standing on seats and everywhere. I didn’t see any police. The ferry kind of lurched. A guy was off balance and the ceiling came down with him. Someone else saw him and did the same thing on purpose. Once he tore down a piece, it went nuts. There was no stopping it once it started.”
David Dumaresq, 15 at the time, had found refuge in the center stairwell. “It was a safe place to stand. It was chaotic downstairs. I don’t remember police or anyone from the ferry staff. I was worried we were going to sink.”
Dumaresq, who now lives in Beaver Bank, described what happened when the ceiling came down.
“I remember the pieces going from downstairs to upstairs to the outside deck. It was like a firemen’s line. We had no choice, it was coming at us.”
Meanwhile, the youths up on deck tried to escape the rain. “Everybody tried to jam into downstairs,” said Mader. But the kids on the packed stairs fought back when the crush began.
And then all hell broke loose.
Ninety orange life-jackets stored under the seats flew over the gunwales. Next, a large lifeboat was inflated and heaved into the harbour.
With the two policemen nowhere to be seen, some of the passengers trapped below began demolishing the interior of the new ferry by ripping down fixtures and more ceiling panels.
Girls screamed as some of the passengers began to throw up.
By the time the ferry docked in Dartmouth, the ten-minute rebellion had wreaked $20,000 in damage.
Well after midnight, those still waiting in Halifax got word the ferry wouldn’t be coming back for them. Police dispersed the Dartmouth teens, forcing them to walk across the bridge in the rain or call for rides from pay phones.
The next day, city officials scrambled to explain what went wrong. Dartmouth police inspector Phil Malcolm admitted the police were unprepared.
“We didn’t anticipate that much of a crowd. There must have been twice as many coming back as went over.”
While discussing the ferry riot with a reporter, Dartmouth police chief Rob Smith grossly underestimated the true number of culprits when he claimed there were only three who were responsible for the damage to the ferry.
When asked about the police aboard the ferry, Dartmouth city administrator C.A. Moir simply replied, “There obviously weren’t enough.”
The authorities had good reason to downplay the bungled crowd control.
Only four months earlier, 11 fans were trampled to death at a Cincinnati concert given by The Who.
The following year April Wine returned to Halifax.
This time, guitarist Myles Goodwyn sent the fans home with an order that bounced off the Metro Centre roof and echoed all the way down to where an army of policemen waited at the foot of George Street: “Don’t wreck the ferries!”
New Ross resident Bruce MacNab was aboard the ill-fated 11:15 ferry on April 22, 1980. Bruce’s non-fiction book The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini is being published by Goose Lane Editions in 2012.

This story is dedicated to the memory of five teenagers who died in a car accident following an April Wine concert in Sydney, Cape Breton on April 23, 1980: Raymond Fraser, Joseph Robert MacLellan, Diane Baxter, John MacNeil and Norbert Preuss.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Granville St. Vancouver

Granville St., Vancouver

We lucked out with a good Mexican place just down the street from the gig at the Vogue Theatre. Here, on the stroll back, we stopped at a light and the natural light was just right for a mugging.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Laura Merriman

Here's a great new song by my friend Laura Merriman and her band ,The Hard Tickets, produced by Brian Murray. We'll be playing together at her cd release in June at the Carleton in Halifax.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Joel's New Wheels

Joel bought a wicked Japanese German car. It's now on a train, heading to Nova Scotia...where the rust licks everyone's lips.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Scrappy Tour-ists out west

The Elk in natural habitat
Scrappy scrapes out west.

Steve 'Snickers' Smith