By this point, if you’re an Islander who hasn’t at least heard of local indie rock band Paper Lions, then I think you could be considered to be among a fairly minutely-populated ensemble of individuals.
That’s because since 2010, the foursome of Belfast boys — featuring John MacPhee, Rob MacPhee, David MacDonald and Colin Buchanan — has been regularly making P.E.I. proud in their successful musical pursuits.
They have toured internationally on the strength of their inaugural album, Trophies, and last year’s EP called At Long Creek. Their impressive list of musical awards and nominations continues to expand. Their viral YouTube video for their song Travelling is now at over four million views and still climbing. And, looking ahead to the new year, they will be touring amid select Canadian and U.S. shows in 2014, including a stop at NXNE in Toronto and two shows in New York City this June.
All this, as they continue to thoroughly entertain listening audiences with their brand of thoughtful, harmony-saturated, melodically-driven and emotionally-explorative songwriting in live performances that never fail to engage and evolve in a uniquely-crafted way.
Last Saturday night, on stage before an audience of several hundred excited hometown fans, Paper Lions celebrated the release of their new album, My Friends, in the new performance space at the Prince Edward Island Brewing Company.
Now, if you’re an Islander who hasn’t heard of this new performance venue in the P.E.I. Brewing Co., then, in this case, you are certainly far from being alone as this show marked the debut concert held in the brewery’s spacious concert area.
The P.E.I. Brewing Co. opened its doors in May of this year — and all it takes is a short walk around the beautifully-designed 25,000 square foot facility to see why it is now considered to be among the best breweries in Canada.
Smaller, intimate musical performances have been held in the lounge area/foyer of the Brewing Co. prior to last weekend, but the unveiling of the main stage area last Saturday night marked the beginning of what will now most certainly be a well sought-after venue for mid-to-higher capacity indoor concerts in Charlottetown.
Things got underway just around 9:30 p.m. as the cousin duo of Liam Corcoran and Kinley Dowling in The Express (supported that night by Mark Geddes on stand-up bass) enchanted the early crowd, who sipped their beers and swayed to the alt-country warmth of original songs like Kathleen and Nobody Knows.
Local progressive pop-rock force, Coyote, took the stage at about 10:15 p.m. and in a 45-minute set of intensity, they were a fireball of glowing energy which enveloped the room, lured all listeners in and which sounded solidly and truly spectacular.
All of this made way for the men of the hour, Paper Lions, who seamlessly rocked the brewery crowd from the get-go — from the opening song of Philadelphia (the lead-off single from My Friends), through to songs like Don’t Touch That Dial, Sweat it Out and Pull Me In.
Enhanced that night by the presence of backing guitarist/keyboardist/fellow Belfast native Bruce Rooney (of Coyote), the band was particularly full and vibrant, as Rooney fueled the presentation both in soundscape and in stage energy.
Songs like Little Liar, Stay Here for a While and Travellin’ kept the crowd belting it out along with them as was the case with the song My Friend, which brought the show surging to a climax as balloons and confetti dropped from the ceiling near the end of the musically-charged night. It was a night that, on the whole, was a true high point for the Island indie rock community.
If you’re looking to do some local-support Christmas shopping for the music-lover on your list, purchasing My Friend at Green Eye Designs on Victoria Row or Back Alley Music on University Avenue. You can also purchase it on iTunes. Visit http://paperlions.com for more information on the band.
The P.E.I. Brewing Co. will be hosting Artisans at the Brewery artist showcases beginning in January so keep your eyes open.
For more about the brewery, check out http://peibrewingcompany.com.
Next week: I’m off to the Hedgerow Christmas show at Beaconsfield Carriage House.
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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