Showcase P.E.I. 2012: A slam-dunk

Todd MacLean
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Last weekend’s music industry event gets rave reviews

Have you ever watched the NBA all-star game’s slam dunk competition?

You know, where you’ve got the best dunkers in the league facing-off against each other, pulling out their best moves before an audience of judges and fans who are blown away with every new sensational jam?

(Note: in the face of the NHL lockout, the purposeful and spiteful steering away from using hockey in this sports analogy by this Canadian boy.)

If you know what I’m talking about, you may also know that there’s a point in the midst of these kinds of events where the unbridled display of talent almost becomes almost ridiculous in some odd way — where the other players watching just have to stand around in awe, shaking their heads saying things like, “What the? Ah, man, now this is just gettin’ off-the-hook.”

(Note: profanities were omitted from player’s example quote.)

It’s sort of that funny feeling of, “Holy man, these guys are good ... and we’re sorry that this is so overwhelming for people.”

This is exactly how I felt in the midst of taking in the performances at Showcase P.E.I. 2012 this past week — like a player watching the unbelievable slam-dunks of my comrades before an audience of delegates who were blown over time and time again with each new jam.

Presented by Music P.E.I. and title sponsor Hunter’s Ale House, 2012 Showcase P.E.I. performances took place this past Sunday to Tuesday at Harmony House, Marc’s Studio, The Trailside Café and the Guild.

There were 32 international delegates in attendance, representing a good range of festivals, production companies, record labels, entertainment agencies, and PR companies from North America and Europe.

And, getting the big chance to showcase before these delegates was the following lineup of P.E.I. artists: Tim Chaisson, Teresa Doyle, Sam Carter, Racoon Bandit, Paper Lions, Nudie, Richard Wood and Gordon Belsher, Meaghan Blanchard, North Lakes, Max Keenlyside, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Catherine MacLellan, English Words, Dennis Ellsworth, Ashley Condon, along with this year’s up and coming “Next Wave Artists,” Ten Strings & a Goat Skin, The Meds, Coyote, Jordan Cameron and Colour Code.

So, as you can surely tell from looking at this list, each showcase was quite the onslaught of talent to be taking in.

It was at The Guild this past Monday night that I had the pleasure to be in attendance — where I was happy that the minister of tourism and culture, Robert Henderson, spoke about the importance of maintaining supportive funding for Music P.E.I.

That is especially true with all the provincial positives that come about through a strong Island arts community — and where acts like The Meds, Coyote, English Words, North Lakes and Paper Lions pulled out all the stops for a packed-in crowd of delegates and lucky members of the public.

Then on Tuesday, I watched the incredible ragtime piano player Max Keenlyside astound his audience of well-fed delegates in the Trailside Café, as

showcases by Teresa Doyle and Richard Wood and Gordon

Belsher rounded out that afternoon.

And picture it, for one more example of showcase brilliance: an eight-minute long “Wizard” Wood finale set, abounding with zipping melodies, blazing improv moments, mesmerizing intricacies, and even bookended with Led Zeppelin riffs.

Yep: All I could do was stand around in awe, shaking my head and saying, “What the? Ah, man, now this is just gettin’ off-the-hook.”

(Note: profanities omitted from columnist’s example quote.)


Next week: I’ll be heading to one of the events in my Picks...Can you guess which one it’ll be? If you guess correctly when I see you out this weekend, I’ll give you a piece of gum.


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 or at 626-1242. But he won’t be offended if you don’t



Organizations: NBA, NHL, Ale House Harmony House The Guild

Geographic location: North Lakes, North America, P.E.I. Iceland

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