Carry on up the Khyber

Roche Uhntraal watches the fireworks.


Efforts to re-open The Khyber Club are still underway, but assuming this closing is official, the Halifax institution was given one memorable sendoff. The public paid its last respects on February 19 and reminisced along with surprise solo performances from two of the arts community’s most illustrious sons: Matt Mays and Joel Plaskett. The former mused nostalgically of El Torpedo’s first-ever show, which was at the venue. Plaskett — fresh off literally demolishing The Pavilion’s stage during a roaring rendition of “Come On Teacher” two days prior — serenaded the capacity crowd with five songs including those he recorded upstairs for his sophomore solo record, Down At The Khyber. Cue the equally as surprising fireworks.

Much Mainstreet

The Danny Mainstreet Band is making its MuchMusic debut with its single “Bulletproof and Ignorant.” The video entered light rotation last week in time for the group’s three appearances during East Coast Music Award happenings in Charlottetown this weekend — including a position in the Rock Showcase on February 24 with In-Flight Safety, Jonny Stevens, Sproll and My Antonia.

Ryan’s hope

Following her participation in the ECMA festivities — including a slot in the Sneak Peak Rising Star showcase — Newfoundland classic country starlet Sherry Ryan will be paying a visit to an old home. Ryan was in the midst of a seven-year stint living in Halifax when she discovered the artist who inspired her progression in music.

“It’s funny, I wasn’t really into that music until my sister sent me a Lucinda Williams CD in 1998, when I was back in Halifax,” says Ryan, who also lived in Mississippi while practising occupational therapy. “I’ve always liked country music, it was something we kind of grow up on here in Newfoundland. We listen to these country classics on the radio and all that kind of stuff.”

Ryan also recorded her debut album, Bottom of a Heart, in the city with Charles Austin before releasing it both here and her current home of St. John’s. She has taken the record all over the country, and even to a showcasing opportunity at the ROCKRGRL conference in Seattle. The event is a three-day celebration of women’s achievements in the music industry. “I was sent an email about it from a music association, and I applied because I saw Patti Smith’s name there and thought that was pretty cool,” she explains. “I wasn’t really expecting to get accepted for a showcase, and then I got accepted. You make connections, and there are hundreds of women from the States and Canada, and they weren’t all rock, there was some country. And since I do all of my own booking, management and publicity networking is so important.”

Sherry Ryan performs on March 2 at Gus’ Pub with Ruth Minnikin and The Reels.

Still more shows

Four venues secured some high-profile talent this week. On the heels of supporting Simple Plan in December, Hedley returns to headline for all-ages at the McInnes Room on March 31. Screamo enthusiasts will be ecstatic to learn Silverstein will make an all-ages appearance at The Pavilion on April 1. (The 3pm start time conveniently allows you to hit up Broken Social Scene afterwards at the Halifax Forum.) High fives all around for Martha Wainwright’s visit the following afternoon at the CARAS Songwriter’s Circle at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on April 2. Ron Sexsmith and others will also be on the bill. And, for what has become our weekly token non-Juno announcements:Stars hits The Marquee on April 4; The Constantines, The Meligrove Band and Andre Ethier will grace the Marquee Club for a pair of evenings on April 7 and 8 and Josh Ritter plays a solo show on April 21.

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