Like Jerry mentioned there are a lot of surprises at CMW, and like I’ve said, the best way (I think) to find a band is to stumble upon them. Meet Racoon Bandit, an east coast gem that will no doubt win you over with their killer, energy packed, live-in-the-moment performance.

Racoon Bandit @ The Dakota Tavern
Racoon Bandit, a PEI based folk/country sounding group, made up of four perfectly honest and modest gentlemen, played at the Dakota right after Alcoholic Faith Mission. Wow. I can’t believe how easily they reproduced an east coast, foot stomping, beer drinking party. I’m sure you’ve heard of these kitchen parties us east coasters have. Well, that’s what it was like: modest musicians, with great smiles, doing what they love as they switch instruments, politely and excitedly talk to the audience, all while making your feet move and bringing your spirit alive (I miss it sometimes).

When they took the stage, everyone made their way to the front- you didn’t want to be left on the sidelines. It might have to do with the fact that they’re so earnest and genuine with their music, and live set. You honestly felt like every bone in your body had been awoken from your winter blues slumber. You were so happy and so thrilled to be in their presence, as they were yours. They made you feel like it was one of the best times of your life (and honestly, I’ve always said the best Canadian music comes from us west and the east coasters). At one point an audience member got up and started playing tambourine with them, fuelling the already happening dance party at the Dakota- all thanks to Racoon Bandit. They really wanted you to be there and you really didn’t want it to end.

During their set Roger Carter (drums/vox/keys) and Fraser McCallum (vocals/rhythm guitar), took turns singing as Scott Gallant (bass fish) and Adam Gallant (vocals/guitar) played to our hearts content. Fraser also rotated between guitar, vocals and an old, wooden piano that looked like it should have been in a dirty, smoked filled blues bar. That’s another thing- I haven’t heard any good folk/blues/country since I’ve been living in Montreal, and that night was the first time since last May, that I heard the sounds of ocean spilling out over the crowd and bringing them back in with the music. It was incredible. It was exactly the dose of pure joy I needed to remember why I’m so proud to be from the Atlantic Region of Canada.

Racoon Bandit will be playing at the East Coast Music Awards, which are being held in Charlottetown between April 13-17. Check out their newly released album, Into the Hills. We also caught up with the relaxed, easy-going group the next day to get the down-low on Into the Hills, their show at the Dakota and how they’re more like an artistic collective of individuals oppose to a simple group of musicians.

CMW day two: success.