Joe Robinson at the Festival d’Été de Québec

Joe Robinson at the Festival d’Été de Québec

Main pic: Joe Robinson and Blue Miller at the Festival d’Été de Québec 2015. Photo credit: Sébastien Dion.

Festival d’Été de Québec – 300 Shows – 10 Stages – 11 Days of music.

So much to see and do, and nowhere near enough time to enjoy it all. Simply impossible, so it’s difficult to know what to pick to go and see.

Opening night of the festival was no exception.

Joe Robinson was playing at Le Petit Impérial on rue St Joseph Est in downtown Quebec City.

I love coming to this venue for music shows. It’s intimate, you often get to see musicians that should be playing in front of a bigger audience (around 100 or so can get in comfortably), and you can chat to them after they’ve finished.
You get to see some great shows, and the experience is often better than going to the bigger events because of this.

Robinson is here as a 3-piece with his band for a couple of nights gigging. And what a band. After only 3 rehearsals they were ready to put on a show.

Let’s quantify this a little bit though, Blue Miller was on guitar. The Blue Miller who played in Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band, Europe (Final Countdown, Carrie) and if that’s not enough he was on Isaac Hayes’ team for years.

Campbell Forrest was on the drums. Amazingly it was his first time out with the other two. This is something Joe let slip mid way through the set. The thing is with good (no great) musicians you can never really tell, and this was certainly in evidence tonight.

Joe Robinson is a talent on the up. Hard to believe he’s only 24 years old.

He told me he first picked up a guitar at the age of ten back home in his native Australia and he has been playing one ever since. He reckons he’d done around a thousand gigs by the time he was 18. I don’t think he was joking either.

He moved to the States in 2010 as he says ‘it’s difficult to make a living playing music in Australia, so I came to the US initially to record and then stayed.’

We got to hear Joe’s complete range tonight.
He’s a quality singer songwriter and you’ll be hearing about this guy for years to come.

He played 5 tracks from his new CD including:

Out Alive, Ebb and Flow, Slow Drip, Wait for the Train, and Dig Deep.

Along the way Robinson spoke of home, and in particular about playing guitar and songwriting.

He was around a farm in his early life and wrote some of the pieces he played when he was in his mid-teens.
He said there wasn’t much to do but play guitar. So he did. A lot.

In his younger days he says he was obsessed with burning things. One day someone set fire to the local McDonald’s and he gt a bit jealous. He’d have liked to have done it. He didn’t though, but he did write a song about it.

We were treated to ‘Flaming Arches’ and it was a belter. What’s more, anyone who pens a tune about torching a fast food joint goes way up in my estimation.

Please be advised I’m not suggesting anyone should go out and actually do this. Write a song yes, but I’m not advocating criminal damage. Perhaps best to put those thoughts to the back of your mind.

With the crowd on their feet the show comes to a close. It would appear that everyone enjoyed themselves.

‘Thank you all for making us feel so welcome. I really like Canada, you guys are awesome. And Quebec, this place is great too.’

Being British I had to ask him who he thought would win the Ashes this time around. This threw him a little as I don’t think he expected to come to a French city in North America, be interviewed by and Englishman, and then answer questions on a sport that’s (sadly) not really played much here.

For the record he thinks ‘you guys, (England) will win the series! Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan, Glenn McGrath – what do you make of that?

Festival d’Été de Québec – 300 Shows – 10 Stages – 11 Days of music.
If you’re a music-lover then Quebec City is always the place to be in July.

Joe Robinson (guitar) and Campbell Forrest (drums) at Le Petit Impérial, Festival d'Été de Québec 2015. Photo credit: Sébastien Dion.

Joe Robinson (guitar) and Campbell Forrest (drums) at Le Petit Impérial, Festival d’Été de Québec 2015. Photo credit: Sébastien Dion.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Opinion

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He is part of the team responsible for the publishing company behind LifeinQuebec.com and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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