If you walked by Hunter’s Ale House late last Friday night, you may have heard some spirited flying colour pouring out onto the corner of Kent and Prince streets.
That’s because after much anticipation, the new CD by Charlottetown indie rock group Colour Code was launched in a well-attended album release party at Hunter’s where free CDs were given to every crowd member and everyone soaked up the awaited live performance of the album in its entirety.
Even more buzz has been firing about “the Code” lately, too, as it was announced last month that the band is nominated for three 2014 Music P.E.I. Awards surrounding this new recording called “Houle,” including pop recording of the year, group recording of the year and new artist of the year.
Despite the recent parting-of-the-ways of bass player Jon Millington (Coyote bassist Evan McCosham has stepped in to fill those shoes) the five-piece group is still carrying on strongly, and last Friday was certainly a fine example of this continued strength.
Before Colour Code took Hunter’s stage that night, though, the evening began with an opening performance by a new dynamic cover band on the scene, Yak Bak.
Consisting of Bruce Rooney on guitar/vocals and Evan McCosham on bass/backing vocals (both are members of local indie force, Coyote), along with Evan’s brother Alex McCosham on drums, the band kicked off the night with a joyously-received hour-long set of greats.
Playing a sweet mix of oldies tunes, straight through to the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, Yak Bak ripped through songs ranging from Greased Lightning to Hip to Be Square to The Boys are Back in Town to even some hilarious riffing on ’90’s sitcom themes.
Fueled by the exceptional skill on the electric guitar by frontman Bruce Rooney, the group kicks out a remarkably full sound for a three-piece. And with some spontaneous stage-jump-up additions of musicians like Josh Carter and Colin Buchanan, it all proved to be quite the entertaining opening set.
Just shortly before 1 a.m. Colour Code hopped on stage, as Sam Rayner on vocals/guitar, Emilee Sorrey on vocals/guitar/keytar, Evan McCosham on bass, Morgan Wagner on violin/keyboards and Mitch Gallant on drums fired up the late night crowd with one of their eruptive and long-standing hits, May.
After a couple of other classic Colour Code numbers, the band then paraded into the six-track ensemble of tunes that makes up the “Houle” EP: 77, House on Fire, DNA, Gone to Sea, Worth and Good Hart Worker.
I should mention that the album seems to explore a slightly darker feel than some of their earlier material, but it is still threaded with the same kind of bright-pop shine that has come to be known as the Colour Code sound. The title is in recognition of the historic Houle House, a 19th century downtown historic property, where three of the band members have lived for the past while.
After an intense performance of the full live EP, the crowd chanted out “one more song!” demands for an encore — and the band delivered two — which then even culminated in the stage being stormed by a number of fans, as they helped in the belting out of the last soaring song of the night.
You can catch Colour Code next at the P.E.I. Brewing Company House of Rock on Friday, Jan. 24, which I will be hosting and trying my best to decode these flying colours in interview segments as they go head to head on stage with Wildcat, trading song for song.
As a kickoff to Music P.E.I. Week 2014, the night will also feature performances by Nathan Wiley and Tim Chaisson. It all starts next Friday at 8 p.m. at the P.E.I. Brewing Company. See you there!
Next week: I’ll be telling you all about the first concert in the Ceol Agus Caidre music series, which kicks off tonight in Charlottetown.
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.
Todd’s weekend picks
1. Ceol Agus Caidre – Benevolent Irish Society, today at 8 p.m., with Fiddlers’ Sons and Courtney Hogan kickick off this winter’s B.I.S. concert series.
2. Winter Pub Night – Harmony House, Hunter River, today at 8 p.m., featuring music tonight by Mark Haines.
3. More Soul – Hunter’s Ale House, today at 10:30 p.m.
4. Winter Blast outdoor concert – Rodd Mill River Resort, tomorrow at 6 p.m., featuring Whitney Rose. Meaghan Blanchard and Dennis Ellsworth.
5. 51st annual Lebanese Levee – Delta Prince Edward, tomorrow at
7 p.m., featuring belly dancer Carole Dahab, Our Lady of Lebanon Parish Dancers and a full traditional Lebanese Buffet.
6. Thane Dunn’s 10th anniversary Elvis birthday tour – Eastlink Centre (formerly Charlottetown Civic Centre), tomorrow at 8 p.m. The big concert will also feature the 17-piece Tony Delgado Orchestra.
7. Third annual Dance the Night Away for the IWK – Murphy’s Community Centre, tomorrow at 8 p.m., featuring Phase II, Joey Kitson, Kendall Docherty and Kelley Mooney.
8. Up West WinterFest – Sunday afternoon. Visit http://festivalspei.com/event/up-west-winterfest/ for more information.