By Jibril Yassin
March 29, 2015
EDMONTON — “I like people who are willing,” said JJ Shiplett shortly before he started his set and it was something he’d go back to. This was the first time the singer-songwriter had played in Edmonton for some time, a concussion forcing him to cancel a date at the Artery this past fall. Meanwhile, the Artery was hosting one of its all-day farewell shows on the other side of town, meaning JJ Shiplett could have been playing to a far larger crowd any other day. No matter. It didn’t seem to bother Shiplett in the slightest. In fact, he relished the challenge.
Opting to play a set list that comprised of older tracks from his last album as well as a series of cuts from his new album, Shiplett was in fine form. Playing solo meant the Last Call Garage Bar crowd got nothing but his guitar and his voice, a delight for the crowd despite Shiplett feeling like he was playing far too many “heavy” songs, something he’d mention in between songs.
But Shiplett’s a funny guy and he used this humour to great effect when he pulled out a surprising cover of “My Ding-a-Ling,” making sure to stop the song halfway to remind us “the song’s actually about a firetruck, ya perverts!” The crowd was having none of that, their enthusiastic sing-alongs overpowering Shiplett the entire way through. It was a small example of the level of interaction he had going on all night. The intimacy of the Last Call Garage Bar not to mention the enthusiastic response from the crowd elevated the show for everyone involved.
Shiplett ended with a fantastic rendition of “Something to Believe In” only to be coaxed back for an encore. “What are you supposed to do after you play your best song?” he joked before obliging and playing a request by a fan. People cheered along, happy for one more song. Shiplett seemed to be equally pleased to be the one to deliver it.AB, Alberta, JJ Shiplett, Last Call Garage Bar