By: Amanda Hather
If you live on the east coast you probably know about the ECMAs and East Coast Music Week. The celebration this year took place in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, as a part of our 2014 celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference. This year is big for Charlottetown and the ECMAs definitely lived up to expectations.
All weekend long there were hundreds of performers playing at various venues for showcases around Charlottetown. I was able to attend two of the showcases: the Slaight Rising Star Showcase on April 3rd and the TicketPro Pop/Rock Stage on April 4th. Both had outstanding acts in the lineup and blew my mind with the talent that they had.
The Slaight showcase had a whopping 10 performers for the six hour showcase. Starting off the night was Shaun LeBlanc. I had never heard of the New Brunswick pop/rock artist, but after that night I will make sure that I keep up with his music. His set, although only 20 or so minutes long, was enough to show off his talent. After Shaun was Cape Breton singer/songwriter, Breagh Mackinnon, also an amazing performance but a little too slow for my taste in music. Then came Don Brownrigg, originally from Newfoundland, the singer/songwriter was absolutely amazing. Again, he was another performer that I was not familiar with, but after the performance I made sure that I looked up his music. His powerful voice stole the attention of everyone in the room. Whitney Rose, a Charlottetown country artist also took the stage. Her songs were a mix of upbeat and mellow and had the audience dancing along. Moncton French band Les Hôtesses D’Hilaire put on an amazing performance, showing off their rock/blue sound. Although I am not fluent in French and didn’t really understand the words to their songs, they have a very entertaining stage presence and a real talent for playing music. The award for the Rising Star Recording of the Year was also awarded and handed out to The Town Heroes. Nova Scotia band E.B. Anderson & The Resolutes also put on quite a show, but again, not really my taste in music. PEI folk band Ten Strings & A Goat Skin were up next. They put on an amazing live performance with traditional east coast music and performed their cover of “Team” by Lorde, which they had done for the Hot 105.5 FM Hot Lounge a few weeks prior, which was where I had first heard of them, and if possible, it was even better live. Canadian Beats favourite, RocketRocketShip from St. John’s, Newfoundland also took to the stage. I had seen them live once in 2013 and made sure that I went to as many of their performances for this weekend as I could. They performed some of their new songs, including “Hey Black Widow”, which features their producer Chris Kirby, who they also brought up on stage with them for the song, and “Here’s To Us”. If you have ever seen them perform live, you know that they give it their all every time, even if they are extremely tired from the drive from Quebec. Closing off the night were Charlottetown band North Lakes, and Halifax rapper Kayo.
April 4th was the TicketPro Pop/Rock Stage featured five acts for the almost four hour showcase. New Brunswick band, The Olympic Symphonium opened the night with a great performance, and like many of the artists that performed, I had not heard of them prior to the showcase, but made sure that I looked them up afterwards. Second was Nova Scotia artist Kim Wempe. I was absolutely blown away by her performance. Her raspy voice something like Serena Ryder had the entire audience’s attention from the moment she stepped on stage. She also brought up Chris Kirby, who had produced her latest album. Following her was Charlottetown band Colour Code, who also had a great live performance. Next was again RocketRocketShip, and performed the same songs as the night prior with two additional songs from their upcoming album. Being a six person band, I am still not quite sure how they managed to fit on the small stage at the venue, but they did and were still able to jump around, but not quite as much as usual. They had the packed bar dancing and singing along with them, and I am more than certain that they gained a few new fans that night. Closing off the night was Nova Scotia singer/songwriter Jenn Grant.
Two amazing nights of live music introduced me to a few new bands that I have become a fan of and made me remember exactly why I was a fan of others. There was no way that one person could take in every band that performed this weekend, so be sure to check out the artists that performed on the ECMA website http://www.ecma.com/. Also be sure to check out the list of winners from the weekend at http://www.ecma.com/ecmw/2014/awards.
Below are a few of the albums that I think you should definitely check out if you haven’t already:
Here’s To Us – RocketRocketShip: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/heres-to-us-single/id690163494
Coalition – Kim Wempe: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/coalition/id684343384
It Takes All Kinds (To Make This World I Find) – Don Brownrigg: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/it-takes-all-kinds-to-make/id714339330
Corbeau – Ten Strings and a Goat Skin: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/corbeau/id652164656
Kaleidoscope – Shaun LeBlanc: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/kaleidoscope/id640153457
Chance to Fate – The Olympic Symphonium: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/chance-to-fate/id797480210
I’m a Toronto girl born and raised but have been living in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick since 2010. Music and writing are my two passions, so what better place for me to be than a writer with Canadian Beats? I have been writing for the blog since May of 2013 and have had so many great experiences because of it. I listen to almost every kind of music but my favourites are pop rock, rock, indie, folk, and any other combinations of them. Concerts are definitely my favourite place to be, especially when you’re right against the barricade and can feel the energy from the band and the crowd, everyone singing the same lyrics and moving to the music. I also have a college degree in Business Administration and hope to one day be able to publish a novel.