Archive for March, 2009

Holland College prepares students for work in the gaming industry

March 12, 2009


Holland College Video Game Art and Design student Samantha Bruce posing for the camera. Conway photo.

The people are friendly and most of them are group inspired and work together to achieve their goals, said Holland College Video Game Arts and Design student, Samantha Bruce.

Video Game Arts and Design is a two year program, which provides students the necessary training to enter the video game industry.

Bruce said there are a lot of oppourtunites in a lot of different areas of expertise and there are also a lot of requirements which must be met before students can enter the program.

“There are different ways studnets can enter the program. There is an introductory course, which is how most people got in. I wasn’t one of them.”

She said although she applied later on in the year, she was accepted into the course based on her portfolio.

“A portfolio should have good enough drawing skill. It has to be more than just the basics. Show that you can work in digital and 2D art and show that you have a creative mind.”

She said she showed plenty of works she did in pencil, ink, photography, digital media and photoshop.

A resume and an essay about why you want to be in the course is also needed, she said.

“Some of the artwork I had in my portfolio were character sketches and some were a little bit of everything. Some were in colour and some were not and some were pictures of everything from background to foreground to charcters with all of it being in colour.”

A photograph of yourself, which you drew and a picture of a room in your house as well, said Bruce.

“My specialty is characters in general. I’m not really great with machinces or drawing them. More in the line of character-bodies, people, portraits. I’m doing better with backgrounds though.”

The course throws together a lot of group activities because video game companies have to know that you are a team player, she said.

“You can’t be one of those people who always works alone.”

Programs and everything else used to design a game like Halo for example, are used in the program, Bruce said.

“We’ve built churches, underwater scenes, forrests, a temple and a spaceship, and a lot of other things in general to because it will help us go into the work force when we ask for jobs.”

Chris Sharpley, learning manager of the Video Game Arts and Design program said the demands for breaking into the industry depends on the position you would want to fill when breaking in.

 “If you are a programmer, in order to get a job, the best thing to have is experience in some type of game development either a previous employer or a moded version of an existing game with some new levels or create a little demos and flash games yourself.”

He said designers, should have previous experience at a design studio or alternatively work with a programmer.

“The desginer and the programmer can create a little demo.”

“Or just being able to express his/her ideas and have a book full of designs, flow charts, character bios, things like that.”

Sharpley said he used to be an artist and the best thing to do is to do as he did and that is to have prior experience.

“If not have a portfolio and a show reel. The portfolio should have 25 pages with really nice artwork, that looks as good as you would see in a real game.”

An advisory meeting is held every year at Holland College, in which local employers are invited to look at the work of the students from the Video Game Art and Design program said Sharpley.

“There are a lot of I-Phone game developers in town and hand held gaming in general, whenever possible we are using smaller screen resolutions and file size restricitions to give students experience in working with these devices.”

Students in the Video Game Art and Design program learn how to work with both 2-D and 3-D graphics, he said.

“They learn different rendering techniques, lightning, how to formulate the games strategy, use of cameras, how to make different materials and digital art.”

“They also learn story boarding, animatics, titling, compositing and how to get their ideas across on paper and figure drawing.”

He said the students also learn about the history of the video game industry, which will be important to if they want to work in the industry.

“We do an introduction to the video games industry, looking at the history of consloes, current and future trends.”

Samantha said a dream of hers would be to work for Blizzard Entertainment, which produces World of Warcraft, Diablo II, and Starcraft.

“They have the same goals as I do. They are producing fantasy games and artwork, which is what I want to do.”

“I can’t see that happening right away but I would like to do it eventually. Until then I’m going to focus on concept art when I finish school.”

Related Posts:

Charlottetown studio develops game for Nintendo DS

Program challenges students to excel in the gaming industry


Island MPs give federal budget mixed review

March 12, 2009

    The Liberal Party decided to support the budget presented by the Conservative government because they felt there are many measures in it which would help stimulate the economy and assist Canadians, said Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy.

     The federal budget was presented in parliament’s first meeting since it had been prerougued in December, after a vote of confidence was to be held regarding the Conservative government’s ability to lead. If the budget were to be voted out, there would have been another general election. The Liberal Party voted in favour of the budget, allowing Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stay in power.

     Canadians did not want a general election or political instability now that the country is facing serious economic problems, said Murphy.

     “It would have been irresponsible of us to not support a budget that would assist in medicating the economic instability we are experiencing.”

     “While we voted to support the Conservative budget, we did so with our amendment to hold them accountable for their actions outlined in this budget by mandated reports- one in March, one in June and one in December.”

     He said the Liberals are pleased with the new investment in social housing and infrastructure as our towns and cities are in dire need of upgrades and new developments.

     “This money will assist Prince Edward Island and our towns and cities to get our engineers and labour force working to improve our infrastructure.”

     Murphy said he was pleased to see to support for low-and middle-income Canadians through the expansion of the Child Tax Benefit and the Working Income Tax Benefit.

     “There were also target tax cuts that will assist lower income Canadians and there was some assistance for people completing home renovations this year through the Home Renovation Tax Credit. However, I would have preferred to see this funding focused on renovations to make homes more energy efficient.”

     He said he would like to see more assistance for low and middle-income Canadians who have been suffering before this recession and are most vulnerable to this downturn.

     “I would have also liked to see some changes to the Employment Insurance program that allowed more people to qualify and assisted those losing their jobs due to manufacturing downturn.”

     “Again, I think the Conservatives missed a big opportunity to invest in a green economy and I feel that we are failing behind the U.S. and the rest of the world in this direction.”

     While the Liberal Party believes the budget has serious shortcomings and is late in recognizing the crisis, it was supported because of the urgent need for stimulus and the need to inject additional funds from the federal government into the economy, said Malpeque MP, Wayne Easter.

     “The extension of employment insurance, infrastructure funding for municipal infrastructure and broadband support for rural Canada are examples of elements from the budget which can be of help to ordinary Canadians.”

     Easter said the budget was necessary to pass due to the economic crisis, however the knowledge economy, research and development and agriculture sector were all but ignored.

     “In my belief, this was a missed opportunity.”           


P.E.I. Rocket defeats Halifax Mooseheads

March 11, 2009

     The P.E.I. Rocket defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 6-4 in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game on Mar,1, much to the delight of the hometown crowd.

      The game took place at the Civic Centre in Charlottetown and with only three minutes left in the third period, the Rocket managed to pull out a two-goal win.

      Rocket forward and top star of the game, Simon Olsson said, it was good to be a top player in the game but it is not about personal gain.

        “You have to play for the team and get the team as high on the board as you can but it was a fun game.”

         The game was tense right off the bat, with the first goal being scored for The Rocket by Chris Doyle after the first minute.

         With 15:08 left in the period Halifax’s Linden Bham came close to scoring but Rocket’s Bobby Nadeau made the save.

          Halifax again came very close to scoring when Eric Louis-Seize perfomed an excellent slapshot but Nadeau made the save with 13:50 left in the period.

          Both teams continued trying to gain momentum for their side as there were a few close saves for both sides until a 45 second time out was called with 9:47 left in the period.


          The tension continued grow as both Halifax’s Charles Bety and P.E.I.’s William Beaudoin received two-minute penalties for interference with 5:36 left in the period.


           Shortly after the penalties were given, Halifax was able to even the playing field as Jessyko Bernard scored with an assist from Thomas Knotek and Jan Stransky with 5:17 left in the period.

      With the period winding down, Alexis Piette with an assist from Travis Randell and Justin Pender scored to make it 2-1 in favour of Halifax in the final 46 seconds of the first period.

       During the last 10 minutes of the first intermission the crowd was treated to a little tidbit game. It was nice to see perhaps a few future Rocket players showcased.

       The excitement continued in the second period with a series of close calls and well timed saves on both sides. Fans were on the edge on their seats waiting for their team to score another goal.


         Fans (well the hometown fans anyway), were given another goal, as Joel Champagne scored with an assist from Maxime Levesque and Benjamin Casavant to tie the game.

         In lightning quick fashion, P.E.I. gained the lead as Simon Olsson scored with an assist from Ben Duffy and Chris Doyle with 3:59 left in the period, making the score 3-2 for the Rocket.

         With 2:50 left in the period it seemed as though The Mooseheads would tie the game up again when Alexis Piette charged the net and fired a slap shot but it was not to be as Nadeau managed to reflect it with his stick, sending the puck into the air.

          It seemed as though The Rocket would have the upper hand going into the final period, however Piette managed to sink the puck past Nadeau and tie the score yet again.

          It seemed a fight was about to break out as Rocket assistant captain Maxime Levesque and Mossehead Linden Bahm had some choice words for each other at the very end of the period.

          The third period started off with a bang, as Benjamin Casavant scored for P.E.I., giving them a 4-3 lead in the first minute of the period.

           The heated exchange continued with both teams giving it their all to best the other, resulting in a series of close calls.


           It appeared the Rocket would have the win secured at this point but Travis Randell with an assist from Alexis Piette and Ben MacAskill scored for the Mooseheads, making the game tied again with 4:21 left in the period.

           The Mooseheads didn’t have much time to celebrate, as Olsson scored another goal for the Rocket, making the score 5-4 for P.E.I. with three minutes left in the game.

           The tension was building higher and higher as the game drew closer to its finish. Both teams did whatever they could to try and gain an advantage. Halifax even pulled their goalie during a time out during the final two minutes. But this move would not work as Champagne scored on the empty net with just a few seconds to spare and to give the Rocket a 6-4 lead at game’s end. 


        Second player of the game, Joel Champagne, said the game went for them that night and they did well in their zone.

        “It was a big game for both teams and every game at this point is important for the playoffs.”

        Champagne said he feels the team is in a good position heading into the playoffs.

        “We want to keep it into our own division and to stay out of Quebec.”

Green Party leader speaks in Charlottetown

March 11, 2009


Future Green Party voters look on as Green leader Elizabeth May speaks on the steps of the Province House on Friday.


      I don’t know if you know this, but I am going to win my seat, said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in Charlottetown on Friday, October, 3, 2008.

     May visited the Charlottetown Province House in an attempt to gain the support of P.E.I. voters, 12 hours after she took part in the federal candidate debate in Ottawa.

     We are about much more than just the environment. We are about the grassroots, and our wish is to eliminate poverty in this country, she said.

     “I want to get rid of income tax for anyone who earns under $20,000 a year. Taxes off of people and on polluters.”

     We are going to take this country back and bring forth the true ideals of democracy and restore this planet, she said.

     “We have to take action now. For our children and our grandchildren.” 



Charlottetown Studio Develops game for Nintendo DS

March 6, 2009


Gameplay screen shots from Puffins Island Adventure. Used with permission from Other Ocean.

Puffins Island Adventure, the first solo project of Charlottetown video game development studio Other Ocean, will be released for the Nintendo DS in April, says game producer Owen Watson

The game will be published by American gaming company Majesco, the company behind the hit Cooking Mama series and the importer of the Japanese fighting franchise, Guilty Gear.

A team of 10 people is mostly responsible for the games development, said Watson.

 “The team of 10 people did spend the most time on the game but everyone in the studio had a part in developing the game over the year and half.”

 Watson said the game’s concept revolves around a puffin created by the player. The created puffin becomes involved in a series of mini-games, quests and over 100 levels of gameplay.

 “The puffin must build a burrow home, fish, join a flock, gain the respect of the flock, finding a mate and raise a hatchling.”

“The game will also feature extra content such as footage of real puffins in their natural  Newfoundland habitat, as well as music from Great Big Sea’s Allan Doyle.”

The production and development of a video game is filled with many challenges, said Watson.

“There are always the challenges of the day to day fine tuning of the game as it is in development.”

Watson said the game is great for the company. The content of the game really speaks to home with it taking place in the Maritimes and it is a big deal for the studio as a whole to develop the game for Nintendo.

“It’s a great opportunity and it shows how the gaming industry is growing in P.E.I. It’s really exciting to see some exposure in the gaming market on the east coast rather than the west coast.”

Chris Sharpley, learning manager of the Video Game Arts and Design program at Holland College, said the development of a game begins when people with money have a few discussions on what to do with it.

“If it is the developer who is developing the game they’ll fix the budget and develop it to a certain level, a demo or a prototype and they’ll sell it to a publisher for some sort of price.”

Sharpley said development cycles can last four to five months but the majority of cycles averages about 14 months. Some games can even take several years.

The industry has been drastically expanding over the past couple of years and employment in it is continuing to grow as well, he said.

“Hardware is being marketed towards audiences it hasn’t been before like the DS and The Wii are aimed at a wider age group and both sexes and the more games that are in production, the more jobs that are available.”

Sharpley said he had his own experience working with Other Ocean. He was one of the artisits for the iPhone port of Super Monkey Ball.

“The development of the game only lasted about four or five months. We didn’t have to design the whole game since it was based of previous titles.”

For more information regarding Puffins Island Adventure, go to or you can check out the official Facebook page which has additional gameplay photos as well as the game’s official trailer.

Related Posts:

Holland College prepares students for work in the video game industry

Program challenges students to excel in the video game industry

New student union president and financial director talk about the union

March 6, 2009


Michele Bradley won the Holland College Student Election on Feb. 27.


     It is a wonderful feeling and a great honour to be voted in as student union president said Michele Bradley who was voted in as the Holland College Student Union president on Feb. 27, 2009.

     Bradley won the election after defeating former student union president, Matthew Gallant by a number of 92 votes.

     Bradley said she is a very outgoing person who isn’t out to necessarily change Holland College too much, but rather to get more people involved in school activites and to make them active in the union.

      She said one of her goals is to find one or two representatives from each program to help increase the union’s presence throughout the college.

       “I would also like to get around the campuses to meet the student body and let them know I am here for them.”

       The decision to run for president first crossed her mind when she noticed a lack of student involvement in the student union she said.

       “People weren’t getting involved and I wanted to know why.”

        She said she has some good qualities, which will benefit the student union.

        “I am a leader and a team player. I have skills that will be an asset to the position of president.”

        Getting all of the Holland College campuses involved with the student union is a top priority, she said.

       “I want to get a leader for every campus, who would bring their issues to my attention and I would get on top of these issues right away.”

        She said two of her main goals as president are to continue her studies without letting the responsibilities as union president get in the way and to make a positive impact on the union.

       “I wouldn’t want to slack off on my studies because it is the reason why I am here at Holland College in the first place but I would also love to affect as many people as I can while I’m here as president.

      Brendan Hensen is also a newly elected member of the student union. He will be the new Financial Director for the Holland College Student Union.

     Hensen defeated Matthew McInnis by about 75 votes in this past Friday’s student union election.

     Hensen said the election was nerve racking for him but he definitely felt happy when it was all said and done.

     “During the election I felt nervous and because I really wanted to win. It is a good feeling for sure to have won.”

      As soon as he heard the description of the Finance Director’s job, he knew he had the right qualifications to do the job, he said.

      “The job itself is kind of like a second on the job training. I can use the training I have as an accountant to do things like balancing the student union finances, so it is a good way to test and improve the skills I have in this field.”

      Like Bradley, he would like to see other students take part in the union, he said.

      “I would like to see more student involvement in the union.”

       He said he wants to do the best job possible for both the union and the students of Holland College.

       “The two people who have been in my position before me have things set up well for me and I want to carry that on and to treat the job with as much respect as possible.”

        He said he wants to use the one-month grace period he has before taking over as finance director, to learn as much as he possibly can so he can do the best job possible.

        “I want to be the fly on the wall and learn as much as I possibly can.”














NDP PEI leadership convention held off till spring, says Pollard

March 6, 2009

     It was just too much too soon to have the leadership convention so soon after the federal election, said Charlottetown NDP candidate Brian Pollard back in November of 2008.

     The P.E.I. New Democratic continues to move on without a leader, as the plan to hold a leadership race for the province this fall has been called off. The party now plans to hold the leadership convention in the spring of 2009. This is the second time a planed convention was cancelled since the resignation of Dean Constable last September. This left the party without a permanent leader ever since.

     Charlottetown NDP candidate Brian Pollard shared his thoughts on the situation regarding the leadership convention, as well as the future of the New Democratic Party in Prince Edward Island.

     It has only been under a month since the end of the federal election campaign so it is not a good time for it, said Pollard.     

     “The collective energies of the party were not committed enough to hold the convention this fall.”

     When asked about potential contenders for the provincial leader Pollard said, no one has expressed interest in running for the leadership at this point.

     “Candidates for the P.E.I. leadership will emerge as the convention draws closer and closer.”

     Pollard also expressed his views with relation to the party’s growth in the province and its chances for becoming the province’s governing party.

     It has been a slow building process but the party has been gaining more and more support with each election, he said.

     “It’s only a matter of time before we win and possibly receive as many votes as the party has received in Nova Scotia.”

     Pollard credited higher voter turnout on the island for the increase in NDP support in each of the four ridings. This increase in support leads him to believe the New Democrats could capture seats on the island. This includes his riding in Charlottetown, which he sees as “winnable.”

     “We have received 12.3 percent of the vote in the Charlottetown riding during the past federal election, which counts up to 2,187 votes, which is no small number. The NDP becoming the governing party in P.E.I. is possible.”    





Holland students urged to avoid file sharing

March 6, 2009


Richard MacDonald, head of Computer Services for Holland College


     Some students don’t realize the harm they can cause by using programs such as Limewire and Bit Torrent on school computers, said Richard MacDonald, head of Computer Services at Holland College.

     MacDonald is urging students to avoid using these programs on school computers because of the potential these file sharing sites have for infecting the system with viruses and Trojan horses.

     MacDonald said the damage in which these programs can inflict on each computer cause them to have to be refreshed, with all of the software having to be re-installed.

     “It’s very time consuming and it’s time we don’t have to waste. Not only is it a waste of our time but also of the professors and the students who have to deal with the effects of these viruses. It can take up to four hours for each incident.”

     Once Computer Services is alerted about a virus which has infected the system, the problem has to be investigated and each machine must be checked over and then all of them must be cleaned up and then the professor of the student who caused the problem is notified, he said.

     “Disciplinary action is varied on a case to case basis. If this is the first incident, the student is given a warning but if the student does it a second time, it could have a negative impact on the professionalism portion of their grade.”

     “Most students who have infected the computers didn’t realize the harm they had caused and they have felt bad about and these things do happen. But there are also those who just want to use the infrastructure for their own convenience, however, these students are the minority.”

     If prevention of such infections is not managed, the network will be a slow mess with viruses everywhere and the computers within the network will not work properly, he said.

     “We have to deal with each case to prevent a bigger mess.”

     MacDonald recalled an incident, which happened five years ago. Every computer on the Holland College campus had been infected with a virus (at the time this was a total of 1200 computers), he said.

     He said the team at Computer Services had to check over all of the computers in each building of the college campus. With the time it took to look at and clean up every computer, as well as get into each building, it took an entire weekend to delete the virus.

     “It was a very nasty virus. Imagine dealing with the problem of a single home computer and multiply that by 1200. This is why we are urging students to be careful with these programs. We are trying to prevent something like this from happening again.”

     MacDonald said he appreciate the efforts of the majority of students to use the computers properly.

     “The more help we get from all of the students, the better it is for all of us.”



Youtube’s Brian Langille talks TLS

March 6, 2009


Brian Langille wearing his trademark gimmicks


    The show went from having five views a week to having 107 episodes and 169 subscribers, said Brian Langille about his Youtube show the Langille Show.

     Langille has been blogging since his days in college. He was the author of The Langille Letter, an email newsletter, which would be centered around what was going on in his day to day life or any particular topic that was on his mind.

     It was blogging before blogging was popular, Langille said.

     “I would email it out to people and it became viral. Two friends would pass it on to two more friends until I had 250 subscribers to an email letter.”

     He said the letter fizzled off after he finished college and it wasn’t until April of last year, which is 10 years after the letter was abandoned, that he had the idea of bringing the letter back.

     It was after he had the idea of bringing back the Langille Letter, he also had the idea to create the Langille Show or TLS as it is also called.

     “The video was going to be a tie in with the letter containing what didn’t make the letter.”

     “After a few episodes of the video, I realized I was getting more views with the video and the video was more fun, so I dropped the letter.”

     Langille said when he started the show, he watched what other like Michael Buckley were doing and he noticed they were making a success out of it.

     “I didn’t want a be a Youtube success. I just didn’t want to copy someone or be the next version of someone. I wanted to be myself.”

     He said he was failing miserably at first because he was only getting up to five views a week but his first big boost was coming.

     “The first big jump came when Michael Buckley mentioned me on one of his live shows.”

     It was the mid-summer of last year when people began to notice him and the number of people subscribing to his show would increase.

     He said he almost had 30 subscribers after Buckley’s endorsement of the show.

     “It was an amazing feeling to have 30 people watching what I do. This is when it just started to roll. Now I have 169 subscribers.”

     Langille said coming up with a topic to talk about, setting up and talking to the camera and editing the video are all part of the creative process.

     Careful editing of each video is required to keep the video at its desired length as he explains. 

     “I try to keep my videos at about five, six, seven or eight minutes long, and it takes about two and a half to three hours of editing for a five minute video.”

     What would any show be like without at least on or two factors to help it standout? Langille said he uses his trademark appearance and opening catchphrase to help him to do just that.

     “I figured people would recognized me with the “Heeeyyyy” catchphrase that I use to open each show, as well as “visual gimmicks” like the glasses and the toque.”

     The first 15 episodes, Langille tried his hand at using green technology but he said it wouldn’t become a full time deal.

     “It was nice to have but it wasn’t necessary. The cost was high, and I blew out a few fuses because it was using so much energy.”

     “Maritime Electric must have loved me because it would add an extra 40 dollars a month to my bill.”

     With up to 107 episodes released, Langille has a lot of found memories. He said his favourite episode of the entire series would have to his spoof Islander Day in episode 106.

     “I said we were going to have mashed potato eating contests and stuff like that, only to find out that some people take Islander Day seriously.”

     “I saw that the video got a one out of five star rating and I haven’t had one of those in a while and I just thought wow.”

     He said he had also received an email from someone who said people watch his show and how he represents the Island and now people are going to think that Islanders are nothing but potato eaters.

     He had to do an apology video afterward but he still had a lot of fun with it.

     Another favourite moment came in episode 25, when he was trying to film a cruise ship. He said he saw but the camera missed it and this caused him to utter the most famous line in Langille Show history.

     “I said, how the bleep do you miss a cruise ship.”

     He said before this point, he didn’t know if anyone was watching the show but when his wife told him about her co-workers asking how Brian could have missed the cruse ship, he knew people were watching. 

     One other favourite episode he said was 83, the McDonald’s order episode.

     He said he filmed the episode while driving (he uses a tripod set up to do this) and he decided to get lunch at McDonalds.

     Unable to stand the wait in the drive through any longer, he utters another classic line.

     “It’s been the same menu since 1985. Just pick something.”

     Langille said he was finally able to prove that his complaints about the McDonald’s staff getting order wrong were true.

     But his moment of glory was not what it was cracked up to be, he said.

     “All I heard from anyone was how I didn’t have my seat belt on”, he said with a laugh.

     Langille said it was in November when he realized his fanbase was continuing to grow.

     “I was beginning to receive random messages on Twitter about when my next show was going to be and this was the day after the previous one.”

     “Getting a lot of views is one thing but when people take the time comment on the video, that is when you know you have been building an audience.”

     One such audience member is a young woman named Toni from the UK and she had time to have a quick chat over Skype about the Langille Show.

     She said she watches the show every time it’s on, whether it’s The Langille Show or the live show on on every Friday (Saturday because of the time difference).

     “The Langille Show is Brilliant. Brian puts so much effort into it and he is just so involved and is so nice. It’s fab.”

     With the Langille Show being the success that it is, it only stands to reason that he also has other internet projects that he is involved in.

     He said he has his special live broadcast on every Friday night, he uses the micro-blogging website Twitter, and he has his own website

     Langille also mentioned his new Youtube collaboration channel, which he and 13 other Youtube users work together, with a new video by a different personality each day.

     “The idea behind the collab channel is to give the talent on the channel more exposure and more views.”

     Langille also said he plans on doing something big and that has never been done before, for his 150th episode coming sometime in April.

     “It’s going to be my way of celebrating 150 episodes.”



For those about to rock, Sam Roberts solutes you

March 6, 2009

     Sam Roberts performed to what seemed to be a capacity crowd of well over 500 people at the Wave in UPEI’s community centre, on November 27. 

     By the time the night was over, the fans were provided with an excellent opening act and a double encore performance from the man himself, giving them an unforgettable experience.

     The night began as students and concertgoers alike flocked to the bar to buy tickets (as well as some adult beverages). At this time the opening act took to the stage to small crowd. The crowd would grow throughout their performance but it would not grow to be half as large as the crowd for Roberts, which is a shame because this band was incredible.

     Halifax imports, In Flight Safety opened the big show and performed for the show’s first hour. They began with a thank you to both the university for hosting their performance as well as Sam Roberts for giving them the opportunity to open for him.


   In Flight Safety visited from Halifax to perform at UPEI back in November, where they opened for Sam Roberts. 


    This was not the only time I have ever seen In Flight Safety perform live, it was also the first time I have heard them period and I would have to say without any shadow of a doubt, they put on a solid show and are a great band to be listening to.

     As I was listening to their performance, I didn’t think it was fair for them to have a lack of exposure. They have become a stable of the independent rock scene here in the Maritimes but after hearing them perform, I was reminded of how much I dislike the way the mainstream music scene operates and I think it is young bands like In Flight Safety which should be given attention from record labels instead of some of the packaged teen idols music fans have been given since the 1960’s.

     In Flight Safety began their set with some of their more recognizable songs from their previous albums, much to the delight of their fans in attendance.

     At the halfway mark of their performance, they were glad to announce how grateful they were to their fans for attending and paid thanks as only as they could.

     “We would like to thank all of you again for coming and we would like to play some songs you haven’t yet. They are from our new album,” said lead singer John Mullane.

     Fans cheered on with anticipation to hear the new material and they were not disappointed as the band continued with their emotional performance.

     They concluded their set with one final thank you for their loyal fanbase, as well as the university and of course to Sam Roberts.

     “Before we leave here tonight, I would just like to say thank you again to everyone here at UPEI for having us and again I would like to thank Sam Roberts for lettings us open for him,” said Mullane.

     The band played their final song and bided a found good night to those in attendance, as the roadies prepared the stage for the arrival of Sam Roberts.

     I would like to say, in this reporter’s opinion this was the better half of the show. Don’t get me wrong, Roberts put on show, which can only be described as pure awesome but this portion of the show had a more intimate and personal feel to it. It might have been the smaller crowd and having more freedom to move around and get closer to the band. Personally, I like having a quitter atmosphere like this one because it gives you better chance of connecting with the band on a more personal level.


  Montreal rocker Sam Roberts Perform to a packed and highly energetic crowd at The Wave in UPEI in November of 08.


    The room soon overflowed with people as Robert’s took the stage and with the first pluck of his guitar strings, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy that would not conclude until the very end of the second encore performance.

     One thing worth mentioning was the use of lighting, fog and lasers during his performance.  I would have to say these things could not have been used any better. There is nothing quite like rocking out with muti-coloured fog and lasers going off as your drowning in a sea of humanity.

     The concert began with some familiar favourites from his five previous albums, which were definite crowd pleasers but about half way through, much like his opening act In Flight Safety, he stopped to speak to the crowd.

     “How is everybody doing tonight? Now I would like to take the time to thank everyone for coming out and now we’re going to play some songs you haven’t heard yet.”

     The fans (myself include) marked out at this point because it is always a pleasure to hear new material from a favourite band. The new songs went over well with the crowd.

     I would have to say the two concert highlights came up after this. The first of the two was his performance of “We’re Have All The Good People Gone.” It was a great and explosive performance, with excellent guitar riffs, spectacular use of the lighting and laser displays, as well as an excellent fan reaction with the entire crowd singing along in unison.

     The other highlight would be the initial finale. His performance of “Brother Down” (which I think is his best song) was bar far the best part of his entire set. The use of the blue fog to match the “lost at sea” motif of the music video, his clapping and the crowds clapping to the beat of the music and of course, how could I forget the how the entire crowd (myself included) singing the “I think my life is passing me by” part of the song was a great moment.

     Roberts thanked the crowd for what he thought would be the last time but after he had left the stage, the crowed was whipped into a frenzy after one of the concert goers urged his fellow attendance to chant “One more time! One more time!” After about two minutes of this, Roberts and his band re-appeared on stage and performed an encore of three songs. The fans danced in triumph over this (again myself included after the one who started this grabbed me by the arm).

     Again Roberts thank the crowd for coming and attempted to leave but after yet another “One more time!” chant, he got back on stage and performed two more, with a extended instrumental portion added in for a final kickoff. He was tired and it showed but he did it anyway. Roberts should be thanked for doing this.

     “I would just like to thank you all for coming. We have to now but we’ll be back next time we’re on tour. Thank you UPEI. Goodnight.”

     I would have to say that this was an absolutely awesome show. The only reason why I said I preferred the opening act was because of the overcrowded nature of Roberts’ portion but that was not his fault nor that of the campus. He’s popular and that is a price to pay and a damn good one at that. So I would the opening set a 5 out 5 star rating as well as Roberts’ set. So it’s a perfect 5 score overall.

     Thank you Sam.