Here we go! A weekend of schmoozing, star-sightings, drinking, and most importantly, experiencing great live music is here. For those who aren’t in the know, this is the Juno Awards weekend and it’s a music writer’s dream come true.
Especially this music writer. Ever since I knew I’d be missing South By Southwest - AKA the world’s largest collection of bands that you actually listen to - earlier this month in Austin, Texas, I decided I’d throw my body and mind into the Junos.
If there’s a late-night singalong with Sloan, The Super Friends and the other members of the Halifax Pop Explosion Class of ’95 - I’m there. If there’s a 20-minute long rendition of “Cause = Time” at the Broken Social Scene show - I’m all about it. If Diana Krall decides to dress up in a Ms. Claus outfit to promote her 5-time Juno nominated "Christmas Songs" album and hang out with me at Second Cup on Saturday at 1 p.m., I’m most definitely there. I’m at your mercy Coast readers. I’m headed to the frontlines for you. That and the booze, of course.
The craziness began with me writing just over 6,000 words for The Coast’s Juno preview edition within the space of a week, something I hadn’t done since university. After a couple days to allow my typing fingers and brain to heal, I started to plan out my itinerary for the weekend. That means choosing from 80 acts over 15 venues that comprise the JunoFest line-up on Friday and Saturday nights. It also means figuring out which after-parties to attend, if I can actually get into them (more on that later this weekend…). Not to mention, what I should wear, and what to say if I actually meet Chris Martin from Coldplay (“Um, how often do you shave and cut your hair?” and “What do you think of the name Banana for a boy?” are good choices).
But first things first. Tonight is the “free” concert on Grand Parade in downtown Halifax. I say “free” because I’m certain that taxpayers had to dole out for this somehow. Someone had to pay for the bands, equipment and security. Part of me knows corporate sponsors didn’t shill out a lot because if they did, we’d be seeing someone from Canadian Idol performing. However, the line-up is strictly east coast – the one thing I like about it.
The show kicks off with 2005 Junos blues winner Garrett Mason, followed by Jimmy Rankin, then Dartmouth-living heartthrobs with big hair: Joel Plaskett and Matt Mays and El Torpedo. The night is capped off with The Trews, whom I actually don’t mind in a live setting. Let me tell you, it’s too bad certain bands have to put CDs, because no recording is going to ever represent The Trews the way they play onstage.
Anyway, I’m going to miss Mason (he’s playing as I write this) and Rankin. Sorry, but I need to get pretty and fill up on some grease before this long, fun-filled weekend begins. I’ll let you know how it went as it happens. It's all for you, my friends. Enjoy!