In my opinion, this is the surprise venue on our entire list. If you were to randomly ask people to describe The Palace, most would say that it was the place where ladies in short skirts and guys in tight V-neck tee’s go to “dance” while that week’s DJ du jour spun the latest dance pop tunes. What these people probably failed to realize is that The Palace was a magnificent venue for live music.
The room itself is completely wide open, which allowed for fantastic viewing of the band from any angle. Then add in that second level which allowed for even better sight lines, allowing optimal viewing of both the band and crowd. Unlike other venues in Halifax, The Palace also spared no expense when it came to the stage lighting. Whereas other venues in the city are limited to stationary lights only lighting up certain areas, The Palace utilized both stationary and moving lights to fill the room beautifully, while keeping a constant focus on the actual stage.
The sound in the room also had a big, booming feel to it; very nice warm highs and rumbly lows. In fact, the more that I think about it, the more disappointed I am that this venue bit the dust (on a side note this is the second closed venue out of three that I’ve written about….do I inadvertently curse all of my favourite venues or is there something else in play here?).
The last aspect that really stood out about The Palace were the acts which came through the doors. If you were playing a gig here, you knew that you had finally separated yourself from the pack and took that next step. Gone were the days where you’d be playing for 100 to 200 people in a crammed little room, now you were sharing the stage with some of the big boys. Sloan, Collective Soul, The Weakerthans, Big Wreck, Sam Roberts, The Barenaked Ladies and Hey Rosetta are just a few of the acts to step across this now defunct stage.
It’s no secret that running a live music venue can be tough on the pocketbook but it had appeared that The Palace had the solution by only booking marquee names and having off nights for the dance scene. In the end, this venues life cycle had come to an end and Halifax is left wondering what will be the next venue to bite the dust but fortunately for me I was lucky enough to spend a good five years enjoying every bit of live music to come through its doors.