Welcome to the first of my reviews of the Halifax Pop Explosion! Every year, Halifax welcomes hundreds of musicians to and from the east coast to occupy bars, parade squares, and churches with varied, unique styles and really excited crowds.
I hope to cover shows for which I’ve been mostly sober, because if you remember everyone you saw last night, you’re doing it all wrong. With such a tight schedule this year, it’s also hard to catch every act you want to see, unless you swiftly cross town in the rain.
DAY 1: The Halifax Pop Explosion started off with a bang (…too easy) on Tuesday, 18 October, with the Opening Reception at Halifax Citadel Hotel. While I was there, DJ James Reid spun remixes of classic hits like “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which was fun; a real-live artist created a wall-sized canvas, and I ran into my friend Aaron from COUSINS who, despite having known him for, like, five years, I still get star-struck around. Aaron’s so awesome. Anyway, the Opening Reception was mostly a venue for people to pick up their bracelets and tickets. Also available for purchase were customized show-posters by local artists and designers. Halifax-Citadel MLA, Leonard Preyra, was also there hanging out (I don’t know what he was really doing there), and there was a cake.
And a cash bar. And balloons. All the fixin’s.
Halifax philanthropist Mr. Fred Fountain was also there grooving to the ‘80s, probably anticipating the Alex Fountain Memorial Show at Gus’s Pub that night. Alex worked for HPX and was a huge music fan. Since his death in 2009, his family has been contributing to all of the things Alex loved in his memory, especially independent music. I heard that the show, which featured Greys, VKNGS, Die Brücke, and DD/MM/YYYY, was lots of fun.
And I assume that every other show was great, too.
DAY 2: Halifax campus radio station CKDU 88.1 FM usually hosts free shows in their lobby for HPX, live on air. But this is no R. Kelly video. The CKDU lobby fits somewhere around 25 people. I didn’t get any pictures because I was too enthralled with the beef jerky I had brought with me, and the fast-punk of Weekend Dads that I walked into.
Hot out of New England, Weekend Dads rocked dual-vocals and double-kicks. It didn’t hurt that one of them really looked like Rivers Cuomo. It was a short set, since most punk songs are generally under three minutes, but I jumped around enough to make up for it. Weekend Dads are putting out a 7’’ pretty soon, so they said.
Then, long-distance band (“if Tegan and Sara can do it, so can we”) Cold Warps geared up and played their sometimes-silly garage-punk jams. Cold Warps have some good vibes; one moment you feel all in-love and shit, and then next you feel like the loser you really are. Those are feelings I’m pretty comfortable with, and I was really happy there. And, some of the band members are hot and I like their t-shirts.
They, too, will have a 7’’ out soon.
And if you’re not familiar with them, please check out their video for “Stupid Tattoos.”
More to come.