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Nanaimo musician Shawn Hall presents free online show from the Port Theatre

Last year Hall released ‘Satellite Man’ EP with new group Satellite and the Harpoonist
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Nanaimo-based musician Shawn Hall, the ‘Harpoonist’ in the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer blues duo, is presenting a free, live-streamed show from the Port Theatre on April 23. (Photo courtesy Colin McTaggart)

Nanaimo musician Shawn Hall’s first local show in four years is taking place inside an empty Port Theatre.

Hall, the ‘Harpoonist’ in the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer blues duo, will be joined by guitarist Doug Cox from the Comox Valley and drummer Theo Vincent from Vancouver band the Boom Booms on April 23 for a free, live-streamed concert. The show is co-presented by the National Arts Centre as part of its Fridays at the Fourth series.

Vincent is also a part of Hall’s new project, Satellite and the Harpoonist. Early last year, in “a big leap of faith,” Hall rounded up Vincent, Brooklyn-based percussionist Bradford Reed and organist Geoff Hilhorst from Saskatoon band the Deep Dark Woods to record an EP together.

“I was able to meet a bunch of really great, fantastic, innovative musicians on their own instruments, in their own fields, throughout the years of touring,” Hall said. “So the idea was to pull these guys together.”

Hall’s accompanists had never met each other before convening in Vancouver to record the six-song EP Satellite Man. Hall invited a film crew to document the recording, which he said was completed over an “intensive” two or three days. The plan was to unveil the EP at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, but then COVID-19 happened.

“The thing that all these guys had in common, even though they didn’t know each other, was that they’re all monster live players and they just really enjoy the live experience,” Hall said. “So the whole project was put together … just so that we could do shows. That’s why I put the band together and I’ve never been able to do a single gig with them.”

The Port Theatre show will be the first time Hall is performing with one of his Satellite and the Harpoonist collaborators. Hall said they’ll be digging into his Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer catalogue, newer tunes he’s written over the past year and tracks from Satellite Man. Aside from harmonica and vocal duties, Hall will be play the piano, something he doesn’t normally do, as well as “a whole bunch of synthesizer stuff and effects.”

“We’re going to do a lot of experimental stuff and we’re just going to be able to take it outside of the box because having percussion and rhythm is going to free me up,” he said. “The last time I did a stream was at the Tidemark [Theatre] and that was just me and Doug, so having a rhythm section is going to be a lot of fun.”

Satellite Man is available online or at Pearl, 76 Bastion St., the kimono, jewelry and plant store Hall runs with his fiancée.

WHAT’S ON … The Port Theatre and National Arts Centre present Shawn Hall at the Port Theatre on April 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets free, available here.

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