Arts & Culture

Collect and Conquer

foodclothingshelter music collective takes over the Paragon.

Words and photos by Lauren Naish – Feb. 16, 2011

If the founding members of the foodclothingshelter music collective had been planning to take over the east coast of Canada, the battle plans would have looked something like this:
Step 1: Bring together a band of like-minded friends who all share a common skill set.

Doug MacNeary

Step 2: Gain notoriety and network with similar groups.
Step 3: Take over a bar.
Step 4: Move across the Atlantic provinces, gathering support along the way.
Step 5: Win over the entire east coast.
Luckily for people in the Maritimes, foodclothingshelter music isn’t in the business of war. But they are collecting and conquering through music and art.
And they’ve already accomplished steps one through four in their home province, New Brunswick.

Doug MacNeary

Nova Scotia’s the next step. The collective is a group of musicians and artists that formed out of New Brunswick, with members in such up-and-coming local acts as The Belle Comedians and Kuato, or in bands like Motherhood and The Hungry Hearts from Fredericton.
Now that many of them are based in Nova Scotia, foodclothingshelter music and its members are taking steps to make a name for themselves in the Halifax music scene.
After a December show at the Paragon Theatre, Luke Macdonald, the manager of FCS, decided to pursue Step 3 by establishing a more long-term relationship with the venue.
He says Craig Mercer, the Paragon’s entertainment director, was keen on the idea of a monthly FCS showcase because they were looking for ways to use their new lounge-bar space during the week.
So the first showcase came on Feb. 9. New Brunswick’s Devarrow, a.k.a. Graham Ereaux, started things off. Macdonald saw Devarrow open for Motherhood and asked him to play the showcase. Although Ereaux is new to performing with the collective and in a show setting in general, he quickly won over the crowd with his voice, which at times sounded like Bon Iver.

Alexandre Bergeron

By the time Prince Edward Island native Doug MacNearney took the stage with his banjo, the bar was filling up.
A highlight of his set was his rendition of “Colours of the Wind” a track from the Disney classic “Pocahontas”. Later in the performance Owen Steel joined MacNearney on accordion for a few songs.
It was clear when headliner Alexandre Bergeron of Year of Glad performed that he was responsible for a large chunk of the crowd in attendance. He quickly got the 50 people in attendance on their feet.
His performance was powerful, belting out songs from his head to his socked feet, which were twisting back of forth below him as he sat on a chair center stage.
When his set came to a close, the crowd heckled him for more.
“If this sucks, it’s all your fault” he said to them before playing one last song.
But it didn’t suck. In fact, none of the night did.
The foodclothingshelter music nights at the Paragon, if they can get off the ground, have the potential to be a great night in the Halifax music scene.
Macdonald also hopes they will gain some more exposure for the artists who are just starting out in the city.

Alexandre Bergeron

“That’s what foodclothingshelter is about, working together on a similar level and supporting each other,” he said.
With the combination of Macdonald’s eye for talent and running events and the great music coming from the collective, there is no reason why Halifax shouldn’t support them too.
Macdonald hopes to run the next foodclothingshelter music night in March.
Listen to “God Knows” by Year of Glad, or “Colours of the Wind” by Doug MacNearney. Recordings by Lauren Naish at foodclothingshelter’s showcase.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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