Field Notes

Kerri Breen ain’t ‘fraid of no spanworm.

Paycheco and the Discounts release album
Neil Conway, frontman of reggae-funk-hip hop pioneers El Paycheco and the Discounts, says the plan for a CD has been gestating since the band started—about eight or nine years ago.

The problem is that its fiercely talented, globetrotting band members have rarely been around at the same time. But now, since they’re all in town (at least for the summer), the push is on to get the much anticipated, ten-track record out by August.

“I’m quitting my job so I can finish this album,” says Conway.

Though the album was supposed to be released in late July, it has been almost complete for the last six months.

“It’s pretty much half and half between the grooves being funk and reggae. Most of the vocals are sort of hip hop with reggae flavour,” he said. “Some of the songs are our older grooves; a few of them were actually on our E.P.”

To the relief of antsy fans, El Paycheco and the Discounts will be making up for lost time, too − likely releasing albums on a yearly basis for the next little while.

“I’m looking at this album as part one,” he says. “We have about three albums ready to record.”

The band is going on tour with the Idlers in September as well.

Mom’s favourite band also in the studio
And speaking of new releases, Gale is also in the process of cranking one out as well.

Like The Discounts, this is their first album, though they have released some demo stuff before.

If you haven’t heard the young band—whose Myspace page reads “widely regarded by our mothers to be the best band in the universe”—they’re sort of a symphonic rock outfit, comparable to A Perfect Circle or Coheed and Cambria.

“Personally, my favourite comparison was that of a random bar patron one night, proclaiming ‘you guys sound like Metallica mixed with Lord of the Rings,’” says singer-guitarist Adam Carter.

The release date is tentatively set in early September, but Carter, who is also producing and mixing the album, says they’re not rushing.

“In the end, I think we will come out with something of which we will proud, and hopefully, something others will enjoy as well.”

A demo version of the first track from the album is available at

Lanterns and food and teddy bears, oh my!
This year, the Friends of Victoria Park Lantern Festival is teaming up with other events to create one big, dirty, diverse festival—beginning in the morning and ending at night.

Terry Rielly’s famous Teddy Bear’s Picnic, which was rained out in June, is happening in the park at 2:00 pm, just before the Lantern Fest begins on July 26 (July 27 in case of rain).

The St. John’s Farmer’s Market at the C.E.I. Club on the edge of the park will go ahead that morning.

“So it’s a big three-in-one year for us this time around,” says Kate Dunbar Power, Lantern Festival co-ordinator.

In terms of lanterns, she says Festival goers can look forward to seeing old favourites repapered and looking vibrant, plus new works as well.

“We’ve currently got a large aboriginal drum in the works by our partner organization, the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, as well as a large cat, a lighthouse, and a mango tree.”

But the Lantern Festival is not just about lanterns and great local entertainment − Dunbar Power says it’s all about community building, too.

“Through both our free lantern buildings workshops and festival, as well as our children’s playground program, we aim to bring the community together in a cumulative effort with a beautiful result,” she says.

Lantern building workshops are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm until July 24.

Accordion Idol returns
Appropriately taking place in the hometown of deceased accordion hero Harry Hibbs, Bell Island’s Accordion Idol is back again this August.

Performers will be required to bust out two button accordion jams − one jig or reel and one waltz − in order to be considered for one of three cash prizes.

The second annual event is presented by the Lance Cove Beach Development Fund, a non-profit dedicated to bringing tourists to the area.

The registration deadline for participants was July 15, but tickets are available for the event, which kicks off on Saturday, August 2 at 3:00 pm at Monsignor Bartlett Arena.


  1. D. Cohen · March 21, 2011

    good column Breen!
    I think Neil spells it “Pacheco”

  2. The Scope · March 21, 2011

    Neil appears to fly both ways in the Pacheco / Paycheco department…

    Which one is it, Neil?

  3. just sayin' · March 21, 2011

    ‘reggae-funk-hip hop pioneers’?

    Shaggy was doing it in 1993.

    So was Snow

    both had a lot of mainstream success…

    just sayin’

  4. just sayin' · March 21, 2011

    not to overlook

    ini kamoze (the hotstepper)

    but he had his greatest success the following year 1994

  5. Conway Pacheco · March 21, 2011

    I just found this. Well, technically it’s Pacheco (my mom’s maiden name) but Paycheco has been thrown around and finally, out. Sorry for making it confusing.

    Also, just sayin, Hip-Hop was born out of reggae and the influence has gone both ways all along. I don’t know about pioneers, but we’re doing something different with it -listen.

    This is nothing like Shaggy or Snow. KRS-One and Fu-Schnickens did it too but none of them were rock bands.

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