The lost Pearlman

Chris McCluskey adds up the losses and gains.

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Some believe the music industry is the scum of the earth, but promoter Ben Pearlman presents a strong argument for the opposing point of view. The local promoter began working with bands in the fall of 2001, eventually establishing himself as one of Halifax music’s biggest assets. We’ll only have him for another week though, as Pearlman just graduated from the University of King’s College.

“I’m moving to Toronto. I am hoping to continue on working with music,” says the soft-spoken promoter, who is originally from Ontario. “I’ll have to see what’s available.”

In five-and-a-half years, Pearlman was successful in luring the talents of acts no one believed would entertain the thought of playing Halifax. Notable shows on his resume include Steve Earle, NOFX, Motorhead, Rise Against and Wilco—in addition to an impressive line-up of local talent.

“In terms of shows, I find crowds here really appreciate stuff,” he says of why he’ll miss Halifax.“Like at the Wilco show, it felt like it was a special event, whereas in bigger places it doesn’t quite have that vibe.”

He’ll also remember the early shows where he honed his skills—specifically The Dears and Pilate at the Ceilidh Connection in October 2003.

“It was in the middle of the day, totally bright and sunny inside and maybe 60 people paid,” he says. “The Dears offered to give me a ride home, and during the ride the singer went on about how it was the worst show they’ve ever played...he stopped when he realized I was in the car.”

He’ll leave a void (his slot as Halifax Pop Explosion talent director is now vacant), but Pearlman’s optimistic someone will fill his shoes.

“I think Halifax will be fine,” he says. “There are a lot of independent promoters actively seeking out stuff and that is the crucial difference between now and when I moved here.”

Mind game

Following up 1999’s Here in the Moonlight, John Chiasson’s new release It Never Entered My Mind is a collection of classics performed with old-school feel and new-age edge.

“It’s a collection of standards from long ago. It’s was a really nice point where songwriting was a beautiful art, and it still is, but there were such great chord progressions and melodies back in the ’40s and the ’30s,” he says. “I always liked that style of music.”

Chiasson, who has spent 15 years lending his talents to Cape Breton acts The Rankin Family and Natalie MacMaster on tour, will celebrate his CD release on December 8 at Stayner’s Wharf.

Les annonces

A mere three weeks remain in 2006 and it’s last call to see Mardeen and Contrived on back-to-back weekends at The Attic. The former headlines a stacked bill also featuring The Sleepless Nights on December 8, while Contrived performs on December 16 with Yellow Jacket Avenger. Kris Kristofferson stops in on December 15 at the Metro Centre, and on Boxing Day, Buck 65 and Skratch Bastid—whose recently recorded album together will drop next year—will headline a hip-hop extravaganza at the Marquee featuring JoRun, Gordski, Fatt Matt, Alpha Flight and Kuttin Kracker.

Email’s an all-ages venue: scene@thecoast.ca

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