Oh My Soul, and also my aching feet

Halifax Pop Explosion, part nine

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Thirty-nine artists in five days. And if I hadn't been having so much fun at the zine fair, I had fully intended to add at least another five bands to that list. I'm especially sorry I missed The IMF, Geoff Berner, Old Man Luedecke, The Beginners, Laura Peek and Lil Andy over the course of this week.

Not a bad track record overall for a tired old lady with, at times, near crippling joint pain.

Highlights summary:

*Great Lake Swimmers at St. Matt's - Tony Dekker stole my heart, plain and simple. I recommend picking up the most recent recording for your next session of rainy day blues.

*Garbage!Violence!Enthusiasm! at the Bus Stop

*Be Bad and dd/mm/yyyy in Hell - THAT is how you make fast, exciting, energetic music

*Jon Epworth, a last-minute replacement at The Marquee - Jon really knows how to get down on his knees for rock and effin roll. Way to show them how it's done.

*Joel Plaskett at the Cohn (too many great moments to list, but I especially enjoyed his cheeky "Television Set" and the gorgeous "Natural Disaster" and "Non-Believer")

*INSTRUMENTS at The Marquee - I've been a fan of their music (as The Motes) since 1994, and it was definitely worth the wait (five years since they formed? a decade since I last saw The Motes?) for this Halifax debut.

*Holy Fuck at The Marquee - Brian Borcherdt is one mighty big brick in the foundation of the Nova Scotia underground rock music scene. Onstage with Holy Fuck, he is a dancing wonder to behold.

*Wintersleep - It's best to not stand near the front with the, um, let's just say overly enthusiastic meatheads and cell phone girls. I enjoyed the set from the back of the room, but when they covered Springsteen for their encore at The Marquee, I had to move up and dance, dance, dance. Hey baby, I'm just about starving to death!

*The "full circle" of Holy Fuck (Brian Borcherdt) and INSTRUMENTS (The Motes) playing with Wintersleep. If you know the story, you know why it matters.

*the entire zine/craft/film/comics/readings/etc. fair - I traded a 7'' for a black felt on black felt 666 badge! I bought a recrafted shirt from Lucas, one with lightning bolts on the front! I met so many great creative people from this town and beyond.

*seeing Piggy's "Gottingen Street" video blown up all big on the screen

*ALL the bands at the Pavilion on Saturday: Get Tested, The Hold and Fucked Up. I missed Be Bad, but I know they were probably awesome. And what especially ruled were all the kids in the pit - that fucking ruled. When you stick to bar shows only, you get used to audiences who just stand there. This is why I love the Pavilion so much. The kids (I can say that, there are people there less than half my age) there make me happy, like I know music will be in good hands for the next few decades.

*what I saw of Wax Mannequin at The Seahorse - I wish I'd left the k-os show earlier, Wax is great!

*This might sound sappy, but it's genuine: most important of all, I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends and meeting so many new ones. I love this festival so very much and even though I am so sore and so very tired today, I had a blast.

Thank you, gentlemen and ladies of HPX (from the organizers to the volunteers to the artists to the sponsors and everyone in between), for putting on an AMAZING five-day festival with so much to offer for everyone.

I saw Joel with a symphony and 24 hours later I saw Fucked Up (on the same stage I had watched get destroyed at a Plaskett show earlier this year, no less), and I enjoyed both performances equally. I listened to a fragile singer-songwriter in a church and I saw the intense spectacle that is Holy Fuck three nights later, and both of them moved me (though Tony moved mainly my heart and Brian and company moved mainly my ass).

That, among other things, is what helps to make this festival so special.

More thoughts, more pictures, more videos still to come.

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