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Capitol 10th: A Groovy Evening With The Harpoonist and Dirty & The Perks

Article and Images by Tara McDermott, The Portrait Witch

The Harpoonist performing at Capitol Music Club.

Things got groovy Thursday night when The Harpoonist came to help Capitol Music Club celebrate their 10th Anniversary on May 9, 2024. Along for the ride was the local group, Dirty & The Perks, who opened the show by making jokes about missing (non-existent) band members. “The piano player got Covid. The drummer got stuck in Mexico. Not having seen them play before, I thought they were serious. Especially when Jordan Diederichs, Lead Singer and Percussionist, stands at the front singing and pounding away on a bass drum simultaneously. Imagine my surprise when I realized they were all there. I had a good chuckle. 

Described as Neo-Folk, Dirty & The Perks’ songs remind me of the music that sets intensely emotional movie scenes. You know, those scenes where someone’s heart is breaking or some life-changing decision is being made? I think the music they play is perfect for that. It’s the sort of music you feel more than you hear. Where your heart thumps along and your hips want to slip into a slow groove. Much of the audience would agree as they swayed along. Particular standout songs were “Old Machine”, “Long Stroll” and “Wasteland.” They included a couple of covers, one, in particular, stood out for me, “Hell and You” which, in my opinion, was better than Amigo The Devil’s original. I’d love to have it on my playlist.

Setting the scene with swirling colours flowing across video screens and a large lit peacock resting behind the drum kit, The Harpoonist, aka Shawn Hall, takes the stage. One half of The Harpoonist & The Axe Murder, Hall is out touring on his own for his “Did We Come Here To Dance?” Tour. Right from the start he engages with the crowd inviting them to “pony up and not leave these two ladies so lonely up here.” Throughout the evening Hall alternates between telling stories and playing songs. 

The Harpoonist singing on stage.

The standout songs.  “Don’t Make Them Like They Used To” (I think this was the song, I noted the lyrics but he introduced the song asking if we were afraid of lasers). I particularly liked the groove of this one.  While introducing this song, he discussed being robbed in Barcelona with the crowd for a few minutes and then said, “This song is not about that.” Everyone laughed. Playing “a bit of a fast banger” because “I’ve been going easy on you”, he launches into “Pretty Please” which features some excellent harmonica. “Lee Dorsey” filled the dancefloor. Recently he released (last weekend) a more experimental song called “Good People” and one of its lyrics is the namesake of his tour, “Did we come here to dance or did we come here to die?” This song was filled with such powerful emotion. Easily, the most moving one of the night. If you are a fan of Big Sugar, you'll be happy to know that another standout of the evening was "Show Me The Green" which he recently recorded with them.

When the audience demanded an encore, he returned to share another story. “This is about Mr. Flowers's life that is a peacock.” I don’t want to ruin the story, so attend the next The Harpoonist show to hear it yourself. I believe the final song was called “Gap Tooth” an excellent song to leave off on. I don’t think it has been released yet. It brought to mind mellow beachside dancing. All in all, the night was quite a groovy journey.

Brightly coloured and lit peacock picture behind drum kit.
The Peacock

Cheers to Capitol Music Club for making such shows possible. Make sure you attend another of their 10th Anniversary shows this May. 

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