A rocking year of music

Todd MacLean
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The 2014 year in review finds plenty of highlights in all genres

I think it’s safe to say that 2014 has been one of the most musical years that P.E.I. has ever experienced.

“There seems to be more and more going on all the time,” is the refrain I hear from so many Islanders that I speak to about the burgeoning P.E.I. entertainment scene, and this year was definitely no exception.

Amid all of the festivals, the concerts, the ever-increasing amount of ongoing weekly shows — and of course, the mind boggling amount of 2014 events that brought some of the nation’s best artists to P.E.I. this past year — I think we can all agree: we have been thoroughly rocked. And even though (as most loyal Out and About readers know) I was away from the P.E.I. music scene for six weeks in November and December, I must say that I still racked up quite the list of glowing highlights from all the events I covered for The Guardian this year.

Thus, without further ado, I now give you my annual Out and About Year in Review list for 2014:

Best dance performance: Bboyism, The Mack, March.

Best keyboard solo: Burton Cummings, Celebration Zone, Charlottetown waterfront, July.

Best rock drumming: Mark Mariash drumming for Royal Wood, The Mack, May.

Best guitar solo: Chris Gauthier accompanying Catherine MacLellan, Showcase P.E.I., The Mack, October.

Most impressive overall solo performance: Bodhran solo by Adam Brown, percussionist for Rua MacMillan Trio, Festival of Small Halls, New London Community Complex, June.

Best solo vocal performance: Burton Cummings, Celebration Zone, Charlottetown waterfront, July.

Best group vocal performance: Walk Off the Earth, Celebration Zone, Charlottetown waterfront, September.

Coolest event: P.E.I. Art Battle, P.E.I.Brewing Company, February.

Most creative use of space for performance: Much Ado About Nothing presented by A.C.T., Robert Cotton Park, Stratford, September.

Funniest performance: The Tall Hat Chronicles, The Guild, August.

Best performance by a new artist: Dylan Menzie — Music P.E.I. Awards Gala, Delta Hotel, February.

Most outrageously awesome performance: Queens County Fiddlers’ outdoor performance in a snowstorm kick-off for the 150-Hour ECMW Jam, outside of Baba’s Lounge, April.

Most engaging performer: Laura Smith, Trailside Café, Mount Stewart, April.

Best classical performance: Sarah Hagen, piano, Steel Recital Hall, March.

Best jazz performance: David Braid on piano, UPEI Dr. Steel Recital Hall, September.

Best folk performance: Mo Kenney, P.E.I.Jazz & Blues Festival, P.E.I. Brewing Co., August.

Best traditional performance: Fiona MacCorquodale, Music P.E.I. Awards Gala, Delta Hotel, February.

Best metal performance: Death Valley Driver with Singing Strings Orchestra — MusicP.E.I.Awards, Delta Hotel, February.

Best electronic rock performance: Lights, Big Red Music Festival, Charlottetown Event Grounds, July.

Best indie rock performance: Coyote CD Launch, Fishbones, Charlottetown, October.

Best pop performance: Marianas Trench, Big Red Music Festival, Charlottetown Event Grounds, July.

Best country performance: Ron Hynes, Trailside Café, Mount Stewart, October.

Best rock performance: Joel Plaskett,P.E.I.Jazz & Blues Festival,P.E.I.Brewing Co., August.

Best overall performance: Walk Off the Earth, Celebration Zone, Charlottetown waterfront, September.

See what I mean? What a year! And, as we look onward to this year ahead, I can only imagine what kind of sensational shows await to be taken in, here on our musical Island. Happy 2015 everyone!

Next week: Let’s kickoff 2015 with a well-attended weekly musical event that I have long wanted to write about — The Saturday afternoon Blues Matinee at The Factory Cookhouse and Dancehall, featuring Got Blues with tomorrow’s special guests Jason Condon and Albert Kays. See you there!

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 tmaclean@theguardian.pe.ca or at 626-1242.

Todd's weekend picks

1. Acoustic Fridays - Water Street Fish and Chips, today, 6-8 p.m.

2. Blues Matinee - The Factory Cookhouse and Dancehall, tomorrow, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Hosted by Got Blues (Chris Roumbanis and friends, Reg Ballagh and Mike Robicheau), this 19th Blues Matinee of the season will have a Stevie Ray Vaughan theme, featuring special guests Jason Condon on guitar and Albert Kays on drums.

3. Sanguine Glacialis with Eviscerator and Dystheism - Baba's Lounge, Sunday, 10 p.m.

4. Annual pie-off and musical extravaganza with Catherine MacLellan and Jim Dorie - The Dunk, Breadalbane, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Organizations: The Mack, Delta Hotel, Royal Wood P.E.I.Brewing Company The Guild P.E.I. Brewing Co. Singing Strings Orchestra P.E.I.Brewing Co. The Factory Cookhouse

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown, Mount Stewart Robert Cotton Park Stratford Queens Death Valley Marianas Trench Breadalbane

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