Review: The East Pointers @ The Factory Theatre (Sydney)

The East Pointers at The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) 4 January, 2020. The East Pointers at The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) 4 January, 2020. Image © Clea-marie Thorne

If you’ve never linked elbows in a mosh pit and skipped around, barn-dance style, to a banjo and fiddle, then you’ve obviously never experienced The East Pointers live.

Hailing from Prince Edward Island and here playing Woodford Folk Festival and series of headline sideshows, theirs is a cocktail of traditional roots, indie folk and Celtic Canadian beats blended with a generous scoop of energy that begs you to dance.

And boy, does the mosh at The Factory Theatre (12 January) comply. From the moment the first note hits the air, it feels as though you’ve signed yourself up for a night at the cèilidh.

On the dance floor it’s all leg kicking and hand clapping, while on stage a fiddle slices the air, completely at the mercy of Tim Chaisson, while Koady Chaisson’s magic fingers pluck the banjo, and Jake Charron’s keyboard steadies the beat.

The set dives between wicked instrumentals like ‘S.O.S.’, ‘Party Wave’ and ‘Before My Time’, and vocal pop-stunners such as ‘John Wallace’, ‘Halfway Tree’ and ‘Two Weeks’.

Song after song, we do our best to keep up with maestro Tim Chaisson, but his instrument plays second fiddle to no one as he sketches out love songs to his homeland and its heroes at lightning speed.

They’re cut only by the chatter of stories, change of instruments and a call to arms for a raffle that the band has been putting on for the bushfire relief. Oh, and the guests. The many, many guests.

The first is Emma Watkins. Famous for being the Yellow Wiggle, her work on inclusion is brought to light by Chaisson who sings ‘Wintergreen’ as she hand signs along. It’s not her most impressive talent either as she returns for set closer ‘Power To Move’ in a burst of sparkle and Irish dance moves.

While Anthony Field from The Wiggles makes a brief appearance on the mandolin and Simon Ghali from Hot Potato Band gets his groove on playing the box on ‘Halfway Tree’, ultimately the one to beat is Laura Hyde.

The first opener of the evening, she offers up a voice that thrills effortlessly caressing the octaves and completely out-singing Tim Chaisson in a duet of ‘Elmira’.

But in the end, tonight is all about The East Pointers. Our chants for more is answered with a six-minute (or so Chaisson says) stomper of guitars and banjo that beg, nay implore, legs to kick, hands to clap and arms to link as they send us all out on a high.

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