All I knew about the East Pointers upon entering the Lexington last night was that, according to my friend, the lead singer is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. I don’t feel qualified to give a definitive view on that, although he did have a great hat, but the band were straight out of the top drawer.
Hailing from somewhere small in Prince Edward Island, where the accent appears to be half Canadian (where they say “aboot” not “about”) and half Irish, The East Pointers grew up around music. Granddaddy put on a music festival, which they have maintained, and playing the fiddle gets passed down from father to son. Or was it uncle to nephew? I don’t remember, but everyone is closely related so perhaps it doesn’t matter.
The last gig I went to in London was, shamefully, a full month ago and was a ceilidh (nothing wrong with that – I love ’em). There was a fair bit of Celtic in the East Pointers set, and between banjo, fiddle, guitar and keyboards there was barely a riff that didn’t encourage a bit of bodily movement.
There were also some beautifully melancholy moments, mostly involving our three protagonists in a-cappella harmony. One, ‘Blaney’s Laughing Eyes’ concerned the story of a young fisherman lost at sea while on watch on an overnight lobster catching voyage. Death at hazardous sea work is still apparently a feature of life in Nova Scotian communities and there were generations of loss distilled into this beautiful ballad, one of the few songs not written by the band.
A more surprising cover came in the encore – a folk version of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’. I was lucky enough to see Nirvana a few times at their peak, including one extraordinary gig at Rock City in Nottingham not long after Nevermind was released. I can’t honestly remember how ‘In Bloom’ sounded that night – I was mostly focused on staying upright in the almighty grunge mosh – but it can’t have been much better than The East Pointers’ emotion-packed version.
So, in conclusion, beautiful songs, great stories, a proper hat, and possibly the most beautiful lead singer in the world..Not bad for a Tuesday night.