The Guardian: Mo Kenney had ‘em rockin’ at The Mack in Charlottetown

Kenney’s 2014 album “In My Dreams” has garnered a ton of award recognition

Mo Kenney, right, performs with some members of her backing band at The Mack on Saturday, April 1.

Mo Kenney, right, performs with some members of her backing band at The Mack on Saturday, April 1.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Last weekend the stage at The Mack theatre was graced by Juno Award nominee and multiple ECMA winner, Mo Kenney.

An almost full house gathered to take in the first performance on P.E.I. by the Halifax singer/songwriter since August of 2014, when she opened for Joel Plaskett during the P.E.I. Jazz & Blues Festival.

Since then, quite a lot has developed for the young and rising star, who’s been playing since the age of 11 and whom Plaskett took under his wing seven years ago to help along as her career was just budding.

As Kenney’s 2014 album “In My Dreams” has garnered a ton of award recognition – including ECMA pop recording of the year, the CBC Shortlist Award nomination for best song/earworm of the year and a Juno nomination for adult alternative album of the year – she has continued to reach more and more ears with her brand of adult alternative folk/pop gems, not just here in the Maritimes but across Canada and beyond.

And last Saturday, an audience full of Kenney fans was given the live experience of the songs from her first two records, along with sneak peeks of new material that will be on her new recording due out later this year.

“Hello! Thanks for coming,” Kenney greeted the crowd when the show began at 7:30 p.m., and wasted no time waltzing right into her first big hit, “Sucker”.

“Hey, I’m a sucker for your face,” she sang, her bright voice filling the theatre with the song’s melodic hooks, while her acoustic guitar rang out in its plucked strings, over the tight rhythmic groove laid down by her backing band.

Continuing with songs like “Dancing”, “Mountains to the Mess” and another one of her big recent hits, “I Faked It” (which won first place in the 2015 U.S.A. Songwriting Competition’s folk category), Kenney soon laid down her acoustic and replaced it with a mint-green ’65 Fender Mustang in her hands, getting things a little more rocking.

For example, her next tune in the set, “Take Me Outside”, I realized seemed almost reminiscent of Halifax Pop Explosion era four-chord alternative pop, circa 1995, which was certainly enhanced by the live intensity brought by Kenney and her three-piece backing band of drums, bass and electric guitar. And the hit song “Telephones” (which won an ECMA Award for video of the year) may have been written by the Cape Breton band Mardeen, but it was delivered with punchy gusto on that stage by Kenney.

After the big first set finale of “Déjà Vu”, her second set began with an intimate solo acoustic performance of “In My Dreams” and “The Happy Song”, as the band then joined in for that aforementioned sneak peek of new tunes from her upcoming album release. [READ MORE]