Halifax does it again. It was certainly the biggest event in ECMA history. But it felt a somehow hollow victory. There was just too much distraction, possibly too much goin on and it seemed that if you didn’t get into the right groove at the right time you could miss the whole thing. But we survived once again, though this time through surprisingly little “fear & loathing”.
In wrapping up the experience (so long ago now that it seems like it may not have happened at all) we’d like to recommend for employees of the year the two guys who went through the garbage with Murd in search of the mysterious envelope we thought was gone forever. Thanks. Thanks also to the bellhop who lead us from our room through the mall to the World Trade & Convention Centre with our tradeshow display piled high on her trolley. The staff at Hotel Halifax went beyond to keep us functioning, though they drew the line at our request to frisk our visitors before sending them up (or down, as it were).
Friday morning was the Industry Brunch where the industry awards were handed out. The past Chairs of the ECMA were presented with Bass River chairs to recognize their contribution to ECMA’s ten year history and Rob Cohn, after what I thought was a pretty clever speech, unceremoniously quit the scene. Somehow between the scrambled eggs and the award presentations we got checked into the hotel.
After a quick strategy session in the room we headed out to the Oasis for the showcase CRACK! had set up. On the way through we stopped at the Atlantic Lotto community stage set up in Scotia Square. Glenn Graham and Rodney MacDonald were onstage and you could tell they were driven ‘er but you couldn’t get near it. The place was jam-packed. Brakin’ Tradition was up next and we carried on our way. When we got to the Oasis on Spring Garden Road, Room 217 was playing their especially vulgar brand of metal for a generally disinterested crowd, disinterested that is until they finish and Bemus Tun’s drummer Brian Talbot upsets his chair and bolts to the stage. It seems that somehow, no drum kit made the trip from Cape Breton for this CRACK! extravaganza. Fortunately, those involved put enough pieces together and the show went on. Some of the most important pieces, including snare drum and cymbals, were provided by Talbot and Room 217’s overly-aggressive approach to playing had him pretty riled up. But it didn’t come to blows and Vegapeeler started playing. They got the riddum, the melody, and the lyrical hooks to boot. Singer Steve MacDougall’s sharp, quick with a lasting phrase and backed by an adventurous band. They had a dandy set which included a healthy version of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It”, but no “I Wanna Be A Rock Star” which happens to be one of my favourites. Bemus Tun was up next with more wah pedal and real groovin’ bass. We left in search of an Interact Barter Exchange meal and found one after only two tries.
We obviously survived Saturday’s trade show, despite the fact that it was the morning after Cape Breton Rave Night and Bemus Tun at 4am in the 76 hour jam. Ken Faloon from Expense of Spirit won the one year subscription and a t-shirt draw. After the trade show it was off to Bruce Guthro’s record release after which we tried to go see Slainte Mhath’s new lineup at 42nd Street, but it was way too packed. We skipped the “Please Wait To Be Seated” lineup and started through the crowd of empty-plated diners in search of a place to be to see the band. Someone (a maitre d’ maybe) beckoned us to follow him to the far side of the dining area where we could stand outside the perimeter of the tables over by the kitchen. We came for the music but it was obvious we were in the wrong scene, the right place at the wrong time . . .