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Meet the Press

Festival of the Fathers - Charlottetown, PEI - 08.31.01

So I was planning on visiting PEI for a weekend before the summer was over. Found out that The Punters were playing Charlottetown on August 31. Perfect.

A pub band called 1749 opened the show with about a 45-min set. They're quite good for what they are, which is a pub/cover band. Nice harmonies though their stage banter can sometimes veer towards the inappropriate. Pat was telling me later about how they've played the same venue as 1749 before but they kept calling them by different names jokingly. 1492, 1979, 1683, anything but 1749. I guess the band once took offense to this so Larry was sure to get the name right on Friday.

The setting for the show itself was a little odd. Picture a big outdoor tent filled with large round tables, tablecloths and candles. Not exactly conducive to dancing. So nobody danced. Larry did the bit about being paid by the dancer and how usually it works out well for them but by the looks of things they'd be here until Christmas. Someone in the crowd yelled out "Whoo!" Larry: "But that's not the plan!"

As I was writing down the songs later, I realized that they'd only played two Punters originals all night. Reena and Here's to Life. All the rest were covers, trad. songs or fiddle sets.

They had a smoke machine set up on stage and just as the band took the stage, the machine let out a huge billow of smoke. Rich and most of the drum kit completely disappeared for a minute or two. Whoever was running the machine went a little easier on it from then on.

For any who haven't seen The Punters since Chris left, you must see Don on stage. His dancing is probably worth the cost of your admission. Many times during the night he'd start doing this sort of Highland fling/step dance move while playing bass. There was also a sideways shuffle thrown in now and then. Made me smile.

After Larry told the audience about their being paid by the dancer he commented on how the great thing about being on the road is that all his jokes are new again. Rich then encouraged him to tell the Invisible Man joke.
Larry: "The Invisible Man went to the doctor one day but the doctor told him ‘I can't see you now.'
Pat: "Guaranteed to silence a room."
Larry: "Rich set me up for a fall on that one."

Another amusing moment was during the first sociable of the night. Larry told everyone in the crowd to grab the person next to them and give them a big sloppy kiss. Now, I missed exactly what happened on stage but Mom told me that after Larry raised his glass Pat stood there with his cheek out waiting for his kiss from Larry. "One day he's going to give in."

I hadn't talked to Larry or Pat before the show but I could tell that Larry obviously knew I was there when during the second set he was telling the crowd about when The Punters will be back in the Maritimes. He said they'd be in Halifax on Sept 14th and Saint John on the 15th. He then shielded his eyes with his hand and looked at me and Mom in the crowd and said "Is that right?" I nodded and then had to laugh.

I chatted with Larry and Pat after the show. Pat called me their Travelling Fan since I've seen them a few times in a few different provinces this summer. I sort of half-defended myself by saying that the trips had all been planned before I found out that The Punters were playing.
L: "It must be serendipity then."

I told them that I liked the new beginning to Jolly Jack. It's different from the recorded version. I mentioned that I didn't think I'd ever heard that song live before. Pat and Larry then tried to decide if I'd heard it this summer. Kind of an odd moment.
P: "She may have heard us do it as Jeezus Murphy."
L: "Maybe. Or maybe it was Halifax."
Me: "Um, I don't think I did."

Since the show was in a tent sound didn't echo or bounce around. Good for hearing the band, bad for making applause sound loud. When they got a standing ovation and cheering for an encore at the end of the show, Larry came out and said something like "You guys like us after all. Music-wise, it was a cool show. Atmosphere-wise, it was a little weird. I was starting to think you didn't." I'm glad I went though.

Melissa :o)

Set List (partial and in no order)
Jolly Jack
Prohibition Way
Nancy Whiskey
Polka! Polka! Polka!
Never Been There Before
Candlelight and Wine
Whiskey in the Jar
Here's to Life
St. John's Girl
All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down
Heave Away
Come Dancing
P Stands for Paddy
Fisherman's Blues
instrumental sets

New CD Ready
Fisherman's Blues, the 4th CD from The Punters, is now available. On this CD the band celebrates their traditional roots and we finally hear a song from Pat.


East Coast Tour Dates

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