WGO – February 10, 2000
By Ian Daye with Devon Strang
It seems inappropriate not to first thank all of the people who made it work. After almost four long months of planning and organization it ended up being the most successful project I’ve had the pleasure to be working with. Rod Gale, Darryl MacKinnon, Bryce McNeil, Kim Macneill, Natasha Pierre, Kristen MacLean, and all of the volunteers who worked for us at the shows are owed a big thank you and congratulations.
It all started back in November, not long after Gobblefest VI had ended. A group of people recognized that the no-cases were back home, where they all started in 1995, and the success in 1995 seemed so long ago.
Afterall, the first Gobblefest had just ended, the ECMAs were not at the level they are now, and we were all five years younger (and less wise). Held at the Lyceum from February 8-11, 1995, the original no-cases were something of a spectacle, a new thing that people didn’t seem to grasp at the time. How little we realized what an impact it would have.
Over the past five years, the success and scale of the no-cases has ebbed and flowed. This year we knew the no-cases were going to be a rebirth of sorts. We wanted it to be big, really big. We had decided on three day and six shows (three all-ages, three licensed), realizing there was opportunity for both types of shows to succeed. We decided on St. Theresa’s Parish Centre for the all-ages shows and, initially, on the French Club for the licensed shows. For some reason, something inside seemed to speak and say that the French Club wouldn’t be big enough.
We approached Chandler’s Lounge in late December with the idea of holding our licensed shows there. The size was right, the location was perfect, and it had the right feel. After weeks of persistence, nagging and lots of phone calls and meetings, all involved agreed that it was a good idea. The stage was set.
We placed stories in every newspaper we could get our hands on. The only way someone was ineligible was if they were playing an ECMA sanctioned official showcase. The December 31st deadline arrived very quickly and we ended up with well over 75 applications. Together with John Clarke (CAPR Music Director) and Kim Macneill (local Scene Queen), we plugged away and decided there was no way we could pick just 35 acts and ended up with a list of 45.
Chandler’s had their license extended from 2am to 4am and East Coast After Hours was born. We added two extra sets per night and brought the total to 26 acts, 51 sets.
Finally, after lots of boring prep stuff, the shows began.
The KWorms from Tantallon, NS on Thursday night at 6:30pm was the first performance. The Lizband from St. John’s, Newfoundland on Saturday night at 3am was the last performance.
What occurred in between was pure magic… something that I will never forget. For a stretch of 58 hours, Cape Breton witnessed the best collection of independent artists and musicians I have had the privilege to see. After working so hard to put everything in place, it seemed to be working out. I won’t spell out all of the bands that played, the list is too long… however a few highlights seem in order.
Art Damage… unbelievable electronic soundscapes meet crazed performance art. A lesson in self-expression. Spincycle Squared’s usually reserved Alfred Remo rocking out like he was in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium. GuiltTRIP proving that you can best perfection. Mike Morrison’s psychic ability to proclaim that Dogfight’s brand of rock would clear the bar of non-fans (allowing more people to come in and see them). Bravura’s singer Kristen’s escape from a straight jacket to begin their all-out all ages set. Windom Earle’s off-Broadway chronicle of the rise and fall of once-famed rapper Vanilla Ice. Ground Squad’s 11-member take over. Hip Hop has never had better reps. Jolene Erb being swarmed after her set by A&R folks forcing me to make them all stand in line and take a number. Slowcoaster making people’s jaws hit the floor with their amazing set, even without the PA. LiveGirlz impressing everyone with their second and third shows ever. Test Tone Channel blowing me away… twice. Julie Doiron captivating those who came to see her with little more than her guitar and her sincerity. Confidence Band’s ability to blend every sound into beautiful soundscapes. Stranger to Julien and Mastadon Ridge just being back. Both sets by these veteran Sydney bands were worth the wait. Rock Ranger’s rock moves tearing down the roof! Lizband ending off with all the volunteers and staff of East Coast Unauthorized getting to enjoy an intimate and rocking set.
There are other things I could mention as well, perhaps as rhetorical questions: Who knew Hip Hop could be so successful in Sydney? Who knew Taunted Youth got so tight? Who knew that Grim would end up on CBC News? Why was Mike Campbell seen so often sans equipment? Do Much use hidden cameras on location? Who knew we would end up with over 1350 paid patrons? I guess we all knew, if you rock it, freaks’ll show up. Massive respect to all at CAPR, Rod and Darryl for an unbelievable weekend and thanks to Mike at Morrison equipment rental. We owe you yet another favour.