The Friday night all ages upstairs, 2 for 1 Moosehead Light downstairs event drew a fairly good crowd considering it was off the beaten path of official ECMA-dom. Rock Ranger’s absence was certainly felt as their mere presence would have brought the lineup together nicely. As it was, things were running a little behind schedule, but Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew eventually got things rockin’ downstairs in the pub. Following their set, the audience was berated to go upstairs to witness Fermented Reptile, a white rapper from Calgary. The problem was, you couldn’t take your drink from downstairs to upstairs. It was cozy and comfortable downstairs in the pub, sitting around a table of friends, drinking cheap beer (you get used to the “taste” at that price). Upstairs was a far less appealing option. Downstairs was comfortable collegiate self-indulgence and jovial denial. Upstairs was stark reality. Fermented Reptile bounding around the stage, shouting it out about work and society and modern living. “I don’t feel pain!”, “I’m ready to network. I’m ready to kill.” And something about his mother getting raped and a Raggety Ann mask. Pretty intense stuff.
Colleen Power from Newfoundland followed with a well-received set of songs from her cd Lucky You Are. The Burdocks and Jimmy Swift Band also played that stormy night. After their set, the Burdocks had a lengthy discussion about heading for home in Halifax. They were strongly encouraged against it and the debate raged on as the snow and wind did outside.
Dusty Sorbet showed up during Chris Colepaugh’s set, having hitched a ride from Halifax. He took the stage sometime after The Rude Mechanicals, the cardboard PEI / ECMA sign propped up in the monitors at his feet. Stocking-capped, bearded and bespectacled, Sorbet strummed his guitar and squawked his harmonica, rocking back and forth, singing his songs in a strange high voice. He even had the crowd up dancing, driven by the strong rhythm of his songs. At the end of his set, the masters of ceremony introduced PEI native Al Tuck, another one of many who were disappointed by Rock Ranger’s no show. “Where’s Rock Ranger?” he was heard to ask upon his arrival. Accompanied by Sorbet with brushes on a guitar case, Tuck sang a song about how if he had two girls and his friend had none, he’d give him one and asked “Wouldn’t that be big o’ me?” to the obvious delight of the organizers and Al Tuck fans assembled.