A/V / Books On Tape / Windom Earle / The Mark Black Speaking Engagement The Capital, Fredericton NB - March 10, 2006

A/V / Books On Tape / Windom Earle / The Mark Black Speaking Engagement The Capital, Fredericton NB - March 10, 2006
It is probably a good thing that Mark Black opened up the proceedings because his peculiar Powerpoint slideshow with running commentary could have bombed in the most spectacular way. But it didn’t. With surreal stories about David Blaine and Jem & The Holograms, he made people laugh. Hailing from Halifax via Charlottetown, Windom Earle were the most traditional act of the night, with their four members playing live (although an iPod did provide some backing). With a focus on keyboards and glockenspiel, it was hard not to smile at their happy, fun, danceable songs. Their choice of obligatory cover was Kelly Clarkson’s "Since U Been Gone,” which they completely eviscerated, much to the delight of everyone. Then Books On Tape, aka Todd Drootin, took command of the room with his spiky, punk-y beats. Crouched over a table packed to the gills with equipment, he bobbed and weaved back and forth, pushing buttons and scribbling on a touch pad, making a joyous noise that was difficult to ignore, but in a good way. Live, Drootin has an energy level that has never been captured on CD (although some of it might have been margarita-fuelled), yet he seemed so focussed, like he knew exactly what he was doing. Every move had purpose and technically it was almost faultless. But the act that won the hearts and minds of the audience was A/V. Philip Clark is no stranger to the Halifax music scene of the last decade, playing with the likes of Rebecca West and Nebraska Girl. He still does the indie rock thing from time to time, but when he puts on his A/V hat, he switches on all his gizmos and gadgets. His blend of pop and electronic music is so accessible that it didn’t take long for the dance floor to start moving. The crowd were so into it that they didn’t notice the mundane lyrics, which only serve to show that Clark has a rhyming dictionary. But he does know his way around a groovy tune and that alone can erase a multitude of sins.