Last weekend was quite the time to be out and about.
One of those winter weekends where so much seemed to be going on - and certainly no one was anywhere near hibernation-mode - it featured some fantastic performances, intriguing cultural presentations and even some monumentally sad farewells.
It started Friday evening when I experienced a bit of peaceful serenity as the free Moonlight Concert, featuring the Taiwan-based Insightful Praises Choir and the Chin Yun Chinese Orchestra from Asia, melodically-mesmerized the nearly-full Homburg Theatre that night.
Saturday night began for me actually not at a music venue, believe it or not, but at the packed Chin-Wan Young Sports Centre at UPEI, where I watched the league-leading Panther men's basketball team pummel Dal. (I know this seems odd to comment on in an entertainment column, but, as far as entertainment goes - wow! This team is just something else! Go Panthers!)
Then it was on to the much more low-key Baba's Lounge, where Two Hours Traffic lead singer Liam Corcoran set the mood to begin the night with a handful of captivating songs, including new Two Hours Traffic material.
The band is set to play Canadian Music Week in Toronto in March with a revised member roster but is hinting that a Charlottetown sneak-peak of the new sound might occur at a spontaneous time and place next month. Keep your eye out for this.
The brand new and buzz-generating Ontario trio known as Belle Starr then took the stage to perform two sets for the small-yet-appreciative Baba's audience.
Miranda Mulholland on lead vocals/fiddle, Kendel Carson on vocals/guitar/fiddle and Stephanie Cadman on fiddle/vocals/step-dancing proceeded to enchant with their own versions of songs like Dolly Parton's Jolene, Fred Eaglesmith's Summerlea and Neil Young's Love is a Rose, all the while accompanied by beautiful texturing guitar lines from Charlottetown's Chris Corrigan.
Check out their new video for Jolene on youtube (or see it on CMT). I've got a feeling this trio is set to take the national country scene by storm.
My night could not end without making a stop into The Alibi Lounge, as word on the street was out that this was going to be the very last night of business for this venue.
And before a crowded room, The Love Junkies (with about a dozen different local indie musicians performing throughout the night) rocked out one final set of classic rock ‘n' roll numbers to a grooving audience who drank the bar dry and just did not want to stop dancing.
"We did this for you," co-owner/operator/keyboardist Chris Copland said to the applauding room, with partner Jen at his side, in some last words from the stage near the end of the night.
It feels, in a sense that The Alibi Lounge has suffered and has now met its demise, through what I call the "crime" of clientele neglect. If those who loved the unique place, its delicious food and its great live music setting actually frequented it as much as they could/should have (me included), then we would still have this place.
And, if we did do so, interestingly enough, then we would get to say that we had an alibi in The Alibi, to bear witness to the fact that we were not regularly committing the crime of venue-neglect.
But now, after this "crime" has been committed often enough, there is no more venue, there is a significant missing piece between Baba's and Hunter's in the Charlottetown music scene and in our clientele "crime" we have no alibi, because there is now no more Alibi.
I'm sure many of the 220 people there last Saturday night were thinking the same as me: "If only this kind of crowd came out to party every weekend ..."
I'm wishing Chris and Jen the best of luck in wherever life takes them next and let's hope that next time a cool spot like this comes along, we'll all be able to keep it going for the benefit of our community.
Next week: Charlottetown's non-hibernation-mode continues this weekend, as I'll be checking out the Jack Frost Festival tonight.
Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 626-1242. But he won't be offended if you don't.
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