Arts + Music » Music

The last jump

Chris McCluskey resolves to hear more music.


Several local bands travelled further and for longer, but none ventured as far north in 2006 than melodic rock act Turnstiles. The quartet fulfilled a desire to tour across Canada this summer, and topped it off with three shows in Whitehorse. Now, life circumstances have deteriorated any hopes of the group following up its LP 13 Telephone Towers in the forseeable future.

“Our drummer”—Shane Bannister—“is leaving for Toronto in a week, and guitarist—Olivier Jarda—is “going to Oxford,” explains keyboardist Pete Gorman. Jarda “got a Rhodes Scholarship so he should definitely do that.”

Time is running out for the act, which also includes guitarist Jesse Griffith, who will wrap things up in a hastily organized final performance.

“It hasn’t really been planned,” says Gorman, “as much as it slowly crept up and we realized we were running out of time.”

Turnstiles say farewell on January 5 at the Gorsebrook at Saint Mary’s University.

BA’s annual birthday bash

Events during hard-drinking birthday parties are often hazy, but at least one Halifax musician is going to have recorded documentation to reference this year. BA Johnston is set to star in his first DVD while celebrating his annual barfin’ birthday bashes at Gus’ Pub on January 19 and 20. The multi-instrumentalist, who turns a year older at the stroke of midnight during the first show, says the project is the result of fan demand.

“People were always talking to me about it a lot, saying ‘your albums aren’t like your live show very much.’ Like, they would rather have the live stuff,” says Johnston, home for the holidays at his parents’ in Hamilton, Ontario. “For me, I just wanted something else to sell to people really.”

The final product, being produced by Just Friends music video director Mat Dunlap, is more than a cash grab.

“We’re going to hopefully do interviews of people in the crowd, pre-show build outside Gus’, the after-show energy of what I’m like at 3am after the show,” says Johnston. “I don’t just want a lame concert thing. I don’t want it to be a total piece of crap.”

As for what the rest of 2007 holds for Johnston, don’t expect the prolonged marathon-style tours of the year just passed. For a change of pace, he will stay closer to home, touring when the time is right.

“I think I’m just going to do two weeks out west, two weeks out east…I’m not going to do the tour of death anymore,” he says. “It really hurts power sliding, you wouldn’t believe. You don’t think you’re hurt, but then the next day your knees are bruised and swollen…and once people see you do the power slide, you have to keep doing the power slide. It’s terrible.”

Johnston’s birthday kick-off on January 19 (to 2am the following day) will include sets from The Stance, The Maynards and The Just Barelys. For round two on January 20 (the real birthday) he will share the stage with Die Brucke, Windom Earle, Brent Randall and Old Man Luedecke.

Big Joel

Several local recording projects will see the light of store shelves before the first half of 2007 is behind us. At the top of that list is Joel Plaskett’s latest effort, for which he is deep into recording sessions in Toronto with Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar). The album is being prepared for March (if the MC at Plaskett’s New Year’s show is any authority).

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