September has rolled around once again, which means we can expect a dip in temperatures, leaves changing colours, the announcement of the Halifax Explosion lineup (I’ll probably mention the HPX in each article from now until it begins…what can I say….it’s a good time) and in its second year, The Road To Indie Week.
Hosted by The Seahorse, The Road To Indie Week is a battle of the bands type format that is judged by local individuals associated with the music scene here in Halifax. After week four the winner is announced, receives a $1000.00 prize and is shipped off to Toronto where they get the chance to partake in Indie Week.
I had the opportunity to check out the first 3 bands, (apologies to Transatlantic Zodiac Ensemble…something came up and I had to bail) and what I saw was both expected and surprising. First off was one of my favourite local acts, This Ship. Blazing out of the gates with three new songs (keep your eyes and ears open for the new EP release this coming November) then seamlessly transitioning into a handful of tracks, which have been regularly played for the past few months, the band played a tight, engaging set. At times the musical moment might have been a little lost on the crowd but all in all the set was fantastic. (on a side note, Jordan Stephens is an absolute beast on stage. The energy and skill he brings with him each and every night is mind blowing).
The next band of the evening was another foursome from Yarmouth who go by the name Lead Mule. I enjoyed not having any prior knowledge about this band as it allowed me to have a fresh, open opinion on the music which I was about to hear. Lead Mule weren’t bad, but they also weren’t very interesting. They played a very 4 chord structured type of sound that was very alt-rock driven. The lead singer had some decent stage presence but the rest of the band were a little lacking in that department. There were aspects of each song that really stood out, but when the other 70% is your standardized rock sound it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. If they were playing a gig I was at they wouldn’t drive me away, but they also wouldn’t draw me into an event.
My last act of the evening were a Dartmouth quartet, Take Part. I’m still a little confused as into what they were going for. They had a look that you would find on posters advertising for The Gap, but sonically they sounded like early Blink 182 if Blink 182 were more polished and poppier. There was also an odd arrogant attitude that the band projected on stage, which I think was intended to be funny but fell very short of that. I will say that although I wasn’t blown away by the bands performance, I feel that there was enough talent to warrant a second viewing.
Start to finish (at least my finish) the evening was a pretty good indication of the talent that floods the streets of Nova Scotia. With a little luck, the next few weeks will only improve on the already solid music which was heard last night.