After a relaxing two-month’s home in Halifax, travelling troubadour Ben Caplan hits the road today to begin a three-month tour in support of his debut album In The Time of Great Remembering. Before leaving, Caplan played 3 sold-out shows at The Company House.
The Saturday show was the first show scheduled. After that show (quickly) sold out, Caplan added shows on Thursday and Friday. So the audience on Saturday were the first to get their tickets, and the last to see Caplan perform before his tour (Note: Caplan will make a brief return to Halifax in March for ECMA week. He he is nominated for two awards).
I was fortunate to attend both the Thursday night and Saturday night shows.
Saturday: Ben Caplan with Paper Beat Scissors
For the Saturday show, Caplan recruited the amazing Paper Beat Scissors to open. I was very excited for this show and had been listening to Paper Beat Scissors and Ben Caplan all week in preparation. We arrived early, got a good seat and settled in to wait for the show to start.
Paper Beat Scissors
Paper Beat Scissors is Tim Crabtree. Originally from England, Crabtree moved to Halifax to attend university in 2004. One EP (2009″s Flicker) and a full-length album (2012’s Paper Beat Scissors) later and Crabtree has entrenched Paper Beat Scissors as a mainstay in the Halifax music scene.
Like Caplan, Paper Beat Scissors is a unique and special artist. Sounding unlike anything else on today’s music scene, Paper Beat Scissors is the type of act that comes along once in a generation. A band that you, as a music fan, need to experience.
Crabtree’s singing style is entrancing, his guitar playing intoxicating and his songs haunting. When I sit and listen to Paper Beat Scissors in a quiet environment, I actually get chills. I am pleased to say Paper Beat Scissors’ live show lived up to all expectations. Crabtree played a short, but beautiful set, starting with the marvellous song “Flicker”. By the time he finished that song, all talking had stopped. The Company House, which is a great listening room for musicians and music fans, was eerily quiet – something Crabtree commented on a couple of times himself.
Paper Beat Scissors played a few more favourites (including “Rest Your Bones”, “Seasons Rest” and “Wren”) and a cover of R.E.M. “So Central Rain”. In a world where “unique” and “music” are not often heard in the same sentence, Paper Beat Scissors was the perfect opening act for the Ben Caplan. Two unique, and totally different, artists carving out a special niche in today’s music industry.
Paper Beat Scissors plays again next Saturday, February 9th, at 1313 Hollis Street in Halifax. Crabtree tells me he has some new songs he will be trying out on the audience at that show. Click HERE for more information and to get tickets. I would encourage to listen to Paper Beat Scissors and check the show out if you can.
Here are a couple of Paper Beat Scissors videos (“Flicker” & “Rest Your Bones”):
You can find more Paper Beat Scissors videos HERE.
This is my third Ben Caplan post this week. The first was leading up to the three sold out performances. The second was a brief recap of Thursday night’s performance. If you read any of them, you know that I think Ben Caplan is pure gold. I love Caplan’s music and his performance style. He is a unique once-in-a-lifetime performer that we, in Halifax, are fortunate to have in our neighbourhood.
Saturday’s show was Caplan’s last performance in Halifax before heading out on a three-month tour and he made it a memorable one for his fans. Caplan once again captivated the audience, moving the partisan crowd from deathly quiet…to roaring fits of laughter…to screaming at the top of their lungs…to singing along with the chorus…and back to quiet again (sometimes all within the same song).
An extra treat for the audience on this night was that Caplan was joined on stage by one of the members of his band, The Casual Smokers: violin virtuoso, Donald MacLennan (also of The Modern Grass). Together, these guys are dynamic…and maybe even a little bit dangerous on stage (with hair, instruments, and body parts flailing about). It is a sight to behold.
Caplan was also joined on stage by the angelic Taryn Kawaja for the finale – a lovely untitled new song played on piano.
But wait…it can’t be over…a standing ovation…more Ben…please…just one more…we (Halifax) are not ready to let you go yet.
So, Caplan returned for a 2-song encore…and left to a second standing ovation.
On behalf of Halifax music fans, I would like to say “thank you for staying (in Halifax)”, “thank you for playing”, “good luck on tour” and “continued success”.
Ben Caplan’s will be out on tour for the next few months. His next shows are:
Feb 5th Plan B, in Moncton, NB
Feb 6th Hunter’s Ale House, in Charlottetown, PEI
Feb 8th Quai des Brumes, in Montreal, QC
Feb 9th L’Univers Rock, in Jolliette, QC
Feb 10th Café Dekcuf, in Ottawa, ON
Read my other Ben Caplan posts:
Here are a couple of Ben Caplan videos (‘Seeds of Love” and “Stranger”):