Field Notes

Kerri Breen wants her own musical cat.

St. John’s electronic music boom?
It seems a mess of new, local electronic music has emerged—possibly from the depths of Mom and Dad’s basement.

At least five or six projects have popped up on Myspace in the last year or so—ranging from the quirky Nintendo nostalgia of Kraid to the disjointed abrasiveness of Buried in Alaska.

Not only are more acts surfacing, but some of these musicians are planning on getting out more. Nick Jackson of Everythings Automatic says he wants to collaborate with other musicians in the city and play live as well. He’s also releasing an album this summer.

“I’m really glad to see more electronic music pop up here. Especially since a lot of the stuff I’ve heard is really great,” he says. “All the people I’ve talked to with their own projects seem to have a really great attitude about music and the scene in St. John’s.”

Singer songwriter Adam Baxter makes electronic music as a side project. Tic Tac Tony Danza is a sloppy techno affair, but it’s self-aware and likeable. He says he only posted his mp3s for fun.

“Tic Tac Tony Danza is something I did while I was in NS in 2006,” he says. “I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could write and record an EP using only my keyboard and a drum machine.”

“I had no confidence in it,” he says. “I don’t know anything about techno!”

His latest song, “Cunt,” featuring the cries of his cat Otis, has received over 70 plays in just the last few weeks.

Hall’s out for summer

The LSPU Hall is closing soon (again), but it will re-open next year with such modern extravagances as air conditioning and better washrooms!

According to Nicole Rousseau, operations manager with the Hall, the much needed renovations also will include improved dressing rooms and bar, along with the conversion of the former Resource Centre for the Arts (RCA) Gallery to a second stage performance space.

As well, the Hall will get some much needed structural repair, a larger control room, seating upgrades, and a brand new roof.

The Hall will be closed as of July 19. The last production will be Andy Jones’ An Evening with Uncle Val on July 18.

They’re hoping to be finished April 2009, but Paul Pope, vice chair of RCA and chair of the reno committee says they will not schedule anything firmly until Sept 2009 to allow for delays.

Whiney musicians are liars: Joe Belly
Joe Belly lost his tour-ginity this month. He’s on the road with fellow country crooner Sherry Ryan in support of her album Wonderful Cures, and his new record, Crawlin’ out of a Hole.

Belly (otherwise known as Phil Goodland) says every show so far has been well attended, and he’s got a few tour memories to cherish already, including one night he played songs in a downtown Toronto shed until the sun came up. (Nothing like a shed party!)

“Have you ever heard musicians complain about how tough living on the road is? You know, there are all kinds of songs written about life on the road. They’re lying,” he says “Touring is the most fun you’ll ever have.”

Hopefully he can sustain that kind of optimism, as he still has a few hectic weeks left on the road. The tour will reach Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in addition to many Ontario dates.

Goodland says Crawlin’ out of a Hole is a rock and roll album with country influences, consisting of songs he’s been playing for a year or so with the Sin City Ramblers.

“We recorded the entire thing in three days and it has a good just-about-to-fall-apart feel to it,” he says. “I still haven’t decided if I like it or not, but every musician I talk to feels the same way about their own records, so I’m not sweating it.”

Crawlin’ out of a Hole will be released at the Ship Pub on July 22.

Shakespeare by the Sea goes drag
Outdoor play fest Shakespeare by the Sea has returned with a little more spunk. This season boasts a whopping three plays: Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Brad Hodder, The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Shakespeare by the Sea founder Danielle Irvine, and Much Ado About Nothing directed by Jennifer Deon.

“It is a very ambitious season for us to go to three main stage Shakespeares,” says Deon the festival’s artistic director. “Usually we only take on one or two in a season.”

The 16 year-old festival is also making another bold move—casting Much Ado with all females and Merry Wives with all men.

She says Much Ado was cast with the intent to open more roles for women.

“Every year there’s so many great women in town who come out to audition for us, but of course Shakespeare’s only got a limited number of female roles. So in opening up that show to all female actors we were able to offer a really great range of parts.”

Merry Wives is set in the old south and Much Ado is set in 1945. Not to ruin the surprise, but there will be swing dancing.

The festival runs from July 6 to August 18.