Your Father’s Moustache was so full on Friday night, that were it not for the stash of good ole Cape Breton moonshine which someone had thoughtfully smuggled into the bar we’d still be waiting for a drink.
Sounds like just the right atmosphere for an aspiring singer/songwriter to showcase his talents, but for Angelo Spinazzola, the official ECMA Showcase couldn’t have been set up more poorly. And the crowd was part of the problem.
“A lot weren’t there to listen, they were there to have a pint you know, and the ones who were there to listen were getting distracted by the people who weren’t. The other thing was that at least forty people missed my showcase altogether because they thought I was on at 12:50.”
Angelo had rescheduled his showcase time well in advance to accommodate members of his band who were playing until midnight at another venue, and then made the new time known to those who were planning to be there.
“When I got to the sound check, I found out that my time was rearranged (back to 12:10) without me knowing which caused a bit of a problem because Matt (Foulds) and Allie (Bennett) were playing with Howie (MacDonald) so they had 10 minutes to get from their showcase which was, you know, a fair hike away, to my showcase.”
They made it on time though, being the old pros that they are, and Angelo on stage with full horn section (David MacDonald, Glen Strickey, and Ian Aker), Foulds, Bennett, and Dave Burke on keyboards, served his music well. “When all the musicians got onstage and we started to play, our energies combined and really made the showcase,” he admits.
Even so, it was a frustrating experience for Spinazzola. “I was expecting to go up there and have fun. I had no intentions of coming out of this with any sort of deal…and it was a great time, but I think it should have been treated differently. It was almost like an amateur talent show, you know, and I think they were professional people playing but it was put together poorly.”
Besides the last minute schedule changes and the inappropriateness of the venue itself to host a showcase, there were other things that contributed to this sentiment, like details that should have been taken care of.
“I sent them a stage plot and they didn’t have enough microphones for me. We needed three mics for the horn section and we only had one. And we had to use that mic for the harmonies also. This is a professional outfit I thought, a professional gig and I worked extremely hard at getting it all together and I got there and it was like they didn’t do their homework and I did mine and that bothered me a lot.”
“You just shake your head and you go out there and ya do the best that ya can, I mean the music was great. I had a great time. The weekend was fun and all but that was extremely disappointing when you arrive there to see what you have to work with you know.”
Despite the disappointments, one thing stood out for Spinazzola during the weekend and that was the Cape Breton representation and support. “The Cape Bretoners there were amazing. They came to support the musicians. I wasn’t nervous because of that, because I saw all these people there and lotsa friends who came up from Cape Breton to see it or who are living in Halifax and dropped in. That was really important for them to show their support. And it was very much appreciated.” (photo: Murd Smith)