Metro musicians were busy in 2010

Music fans in New Brunswick, specifically those in the Metro Moncton area, had plenty to celebrate in 2010. From local artists and bands continuing to gain national recognition to the opening of Casino New Brunswick to two different music festivals gracing city stages, there was a little bit of something for everyone this past year. Even though there might not have been a big-name headliner taking the stage at Magnetic Hill this past summer, there was still plenty for avid music fans throughout the region to celebrate throughout the course of the year:

Starting with local talent really “getting out there”, Moncton rock band The Motorleague completed its first cross-Canada tour last month where they had the good fortune of opening more than two dozen shows for Texan blues-rock band Grady, fronted by former Big Sugar guitarist-vocalist Gordie Johnson. Psychedelic rock band Cop Shades also hit the Trans-Canada highway this past summer, playing everywhere between Halifax and Victoria to reportedly amazing responses from crowds everywhere.

The 2010 edition of the East Coast Music Awards saw Moncton bands The Divorcees and The Motorleague each come home with the prestigious awards for their mantles. The former won the award for Country Record Of The Year for their second effort, The Last Of The Free Men, while the latter brought home trophies for Loud Recording Of The Year for their Black Noise full-length record as well as the highly coveted Fan’s Choice Video Of The Year for Hymn For The Newly Departed.

Spring 2010 saw a flurry of CD releases from local bands starting with the long-awaited release of Subliminal’s debut CD, Cast The First Stone. The Moncton-based hard rock band toiled away at the making of the record for more than five years before finally getting the album released with a show at Moncton’s Oxygen Nightclub this past April. Sackville indie-rockers We Are Action also got their debut disc on store shelves while long-running Moncton band The Great Balancing Act released their newest pop masterpiece, Cherry Bomb, late in the spring season.

The start of May saw the much-anticipated opening of Casino New Brunswick in the city’s north end. The casino’s music venue has already hosted the likes of The Beach Boys, Roger Hodgson (ex-Supertramp), April Wine and Gord Downie, with what we can only expect to be more big names coming our way in the new year.

While the City of Moncton had the opportunity to host the world during the IAAF World Junior Championships this past summer, music fans also benefited from a diverse selection of bands and artists featured during the track competitions. Regional artists like Joel Plaskett, In-Flight Safety, David Myles, George Belliveau, Dominique Dupuis and Samantha Robichaud were among the many entertainers to grace a stage setup in Downtown Moncton.

Just a couple of short months later in September, Moncton had the opportunity to host a Canadian Football League game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos and once again, music fans were treated to a celebration of some of the region’s finest talent. Among the many artists who performed were The Trews, The Stanfields, Two Hours Traffic, Classified and El Fuego.

A re-focused and re-tooled Music New Brunswick celebrated provincial talent, hosting Music New Brunswick Week in the Hub City in October.

The event also served to launch the inaugural edition of the Music New Brunswick Awards. Among the lucky ducks to walk away with awards were Chris Colepaugh, Pascal Lejeune, Samantha Robichaud and Christian ‘Kit’ Goguen among many others.

Acadian rap group Radio Radio encouraged everyone to celebrate linguistic equality this past October with a show at Oxygen Nightclub. Just a couple of weeks prior to their Metro show, the group had been in the running for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize, a $20,000 cash prize awarded solely on artistic merit as opposed to album sales or other deciding factors. Others short-listed for the music prize included Broken Social Scene, Tegan and Sara and The Sadies.

October saw the release of Kolin Barley and his band The Durt’s second record Skeleton Closet, a record upon which Barley and his band continued their observations and explorations of life and love. That same month, Acadian music legend Roland Gauvin (1755) released a children’s record entitled Roland et Monsieur Crapaud in addition to a digital-only release for the holiday season, Les 12 jours de Monsieur Crapaud.

Just last month, Moncton heavy metal act Tempting Tragedy got their sophomore record Descent Into Madness released, more than three years after they launched their debut record upon an unsuspecting public. Also last month, folk-punk rocker Phil Flowers released his infectious CD debut People People while electro-rock act A Widescreen Sunrise launched their self-titled debut CD to a packed house at a show at Saxby’s Pub in Riverview earlier this month.

This past Sunday, An Acoustic Sin performed their first show in almost a decade to a full house in Metro Moncton. While future activity from the band is not a certainty, their fans have certainly let them know that their support will be there should the band contemplate making more music together in the future.

And though we have probably missed numerous other musical achievements by local musicians and artists, 2010 showed music fans in New Brunswick that we could get along perfectly fine without needing to rely upon big name artists to satisfy our musical desires.

Here’s to a music-filled 2011!

Article published in December 31, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript