The East Pointers, Lizotte’s, January 7
Two days later and I’m still floating on the hum left by this intriguing show.
To look at The East Pointers, you see a fiddle, a banjo and an acoustic guitar. But to listen to them, it sounds like a hybrid of traditional Celtic music fused with bluegrass, folk, country and a tinge of indie pop. This Canadian trio is capable of jumping outside any box: label them at your own risk.
Lead singer and fiddle player Tim Chaisson has a charming presence that makes him the star of the show. Like banjo player (and his cousin) Koady Chaisson, Tim Chaisson hails from Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia in far north-east Canada and the duo are entangled in the roots of that territory’s rich Celtic music history.
If they chose to go no further, they could play Celtic traditional music all day and all night, but they have a calling that has taken them, well, to see just how far they can go. Guitarist Jake Charron fills out the line-up, adding keyboards on this tour, and even a jaw harp for a traditional song mid-set.
This show closed out their fifth tour of Australia, which saw them play major festivals, including Woodford again, new places like Darwin and Fremantle, and playing house band for, yes, The Wiggles, on part of their latest national tour. After two days of rest on the Sunshine Coast this week, they were off for an intensive tour of New Zealand.
It’s a long draw of the bow to say they remind of The Eagles, but I’m talking about music theory, not just the sound. It feels like they have found a gap, not just a niche, which could propel them towards a larger audience. They certainly are experimenting with songs, like Miner’s Dream and Two Weeks, both off their latest album, What We Leave Behind, that are more vocally-driven, veering into pop territory.
It’s hard to escape the energy that comes from their more traditionally-driven songs, like John Wallace, Blainey’s Laughing Eyes and Woodfordia, and why would you: the audience loves it. In fact, I don’t think they should place venues where you can’t dance (sorry, that’s probably the only downfall of Lizotte’s).
But it’s great to see them pulling their audience ahead, and expanding it, by exploring a more modern approach to songwriting and musicianship. Any show where you feel like you been showered with warmth and positive vibes is bound to send you home content, with a hankering for more.