Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Concert Review: Rootstock 2010 - Joel Plaskett, Hawksley Workman, Sarah Slean, Steven Page - Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre - Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON - August 27, 2010

On Friday morning, these plans developed rather quickly with a couple of phone calls.  I had no idea this show was even happening until the morning of, when I happened to catch a blurb about it online.  On a whim, I phoned up the Jackson Triggs box office and actually scored a couple of tickets.  With this development, I quickly phoned a couple of local hotels - because who wants to go to an event at a winery and have to drive home? Not I. With some good fortune, I managed to find vacancy at the nearby Charles Inn.  My girlfriend and I enjoyed this quaint little Inn and highly recommend it to anyone visiting the region.

As for the show, it was amazing.  I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn't have asked for anything more.  It was a very casual setting, with all four artists sharing the stage for the entire evening.  They took turns playing songs and helped each other out from time to time - and there was a lot of talent on stage.  Sarah Slean's voice was haunting, Joel Plaskett's confidence and quirky nature was prevalent, Hawksley Workman owned the stage and Steven Page, well, was Steven Page.

The event was hosted by Page, who doubled as an MC and performer.  He was quite verbose and his jokes were hit and miss; his music reminded me of why I don't like the Barenaked Ladies.  That being said, there were a couple of times he broke away from his jumpy guitar riffs and up-tempo strumming patterns that did impress me.

Sarah Slean's voice echoed through the vineyards as she belted out a few of her songs.  A very talented songwriter, her performances were very strong.  In particular, her song "Pilgrim" stood above the rest as she pounded it out on the fake ivory.

Joel Plaskett seemed to have the audience at his mercy. His stage presence was electric as he delivered his acoustic set.  Well, mostly acoustic.  He plugged in his Casio and engaged the crowd in a clever version of "Rewind, Rewind, Rewind".  Other highlights were "Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'" and "Nowhere with You".

Looking dapper in his black suit and Pork Pie hat, Hawksley Workman stole the spotlight.  Every time it was his turn to shine, he took full advantage.  I still have the refrain of "Warhol's portrait of Gretzky: Pretty f*ckin' sexy" engrained in my brain. His voice was bang on, accented by some delicate (and at times crunchy) riffs on his Les Paul.

This was a fantastic night of music in a trendy venue, with some great wine and killer gourmet sausages!

Rating A


  1. Anonymous31.8.10

    Thanks for your review. If you'd like to give more details re songs/stories (especially those sung/told by Hawksley...and Sarah...and Joel) I'd be happy to hear a few. Did Hawksley and Sarah happen to sing Old Bloody Orange? Wait...maybe if they did I don't really want to know. I'm already disappointed enough that this was too far to attend. Nice at least that CBC recorded it for future broadcast.

  2. I must say that I'm not too familiar with Sarah's work and I drank a little too much wine to remember all the songs she played by name... I'm sure it will be posted on CBC Radio 2 soon!

    As for Hawksley, he played a mix of new and old. His rendition of "Don't Be Crushed" was off the hook!