From Punks to Plush Seats

Halifax Pop Explosion, part seven

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Thursday night...12 bands...still processing. I'll just say that I think the night started off spectacularly at the Bus Stop, where every act there--Giselle Numba One, Garbage!Violence!Enthusiasm!, Dollarama and A/V--made me smile, made me dance, made me glad people are still doing INTERESTING things as musical performers. A neat little venue too. I headed up to The Marquee/Hell and caught Be Bad, who blew my brains out. You know what, Be Bad? Thanks for reminding me that I love PUNK ROCK. Thanks for reminding me that I love LOUD MUSIC, FAST MUSIC, EXCITING MUSIC. You guys were fantastic.

The only other acts of the night that really did it for me were the Lighthouse Choir, who were so lovely and great, and dd/mm/yy, who were EXCITING in the way that great North of America shows used to be. I'm tired and I've seen almost 30 bands/artists this week and I'm just not going to write anything about the rest of the acts. None of them were horrible, but nothing really stood out the way something like Garbage!Violence!Enthusiasm! or Be Bad stood out.

So, onto Friday, October 20.

This was the first night that had that true essence of the festival, that Halifax Pop Explosion feeling I first experienced in 1995, the first time I attended the festival (yeah, the year I drove across three time zones to get here). There was something in the air tonight that made everything feel special. Nostalgia, perhaps, and rain. It isn't the Pop Explosion until people show up at the bar with wet hair.

Things started off beautifully at the Rebecca Cohn, with a special performance by Joel Plaskett with Symphony Nova Scotia. Joel was joined by a pretty special crew for some of the songs, too: his dad Bill, sister Anna, and friends Cliff Gibb (on drums - it was great to see Cliff after all these years, but I couldn't help but wonder where Marsh was), Dave Christianson on piano (Dave arranged the music for the evening), Ruth Minnikin on guest vocals and Chris Pennell on bass. They all looked smashing, and sounded like old pros (because, well, they kind of are). Joel looked smart in his 1930s get-up, and at times his on-stage persona was that of the smarmy kid who knows he's the centre of attention at the school concert. What a charmer/little stinker. I'm going to post some concert footage that I shot on the sly a little later on - some with the Symphony and some without.

Sadly, my seat partner and I had to leave early (about four songs left to go in the second set) to get to The Marquee on time for the big Dependent Music night. I'm sure the rest of the concert was beautiful.

I'd like to write about the Dependent Music night, but damn it, it's 4:30 in the morning and I'd like to go to the Pop X Brunch tomorrow, so it'll have to wait until Sunday. Let me just say this, though: God Bless Dependent.

And also, Wintersleep covered Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark." Which was amazing. Especially since last year I loved it when Chad VanGaalen covered it on the same stage at last year's Pop Explosion. Really, that song is one of the best rock and roll songs ever.

Sleep is yelling at me to get my ass into bed.

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