Rich Aucoin has spent the past eight years perfecting a craft that few are able to master and after Thursday night’s performance at Reflections Cabaret for the Halifax Pop Explosion, it’s safe to say perfection isn’t very far off.
On any given weekend it can be fairly easy to find artists that are able to perform at an extremely high level but struggle with the actual performance of the show OR those that have zero issues performing, but fall a little short musically. Thanks to a relentless work ethic and an ability to meld these perfect frequencies together, Aucoin finds himself in a perfect category comprised of both of these elements.
Within five minutes of having set up the stage (for what would be considered the show of the 2014 Halifax Pop Explosion) Aucoin had the entire, close to capacity, crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. With a simple and clear instruction of “Everyone take a knee” Rich had proven himself to be the puppeteer and those in attendance the puppets.
Starting off with positive thought and energy (Rich is one of the most sincere and nicest artists I’ve ever seen up close and in action) the show would slowly build from a slow, methodical feel to one of a musical-bomb just waiting to explode. That detonation didn’t take long. One song into the set and the people had risen, and Aucoin was pulling all of the strings from there on out. Bursting from stage to dance floor, with a hop in his step that appears to be completely natural yet insanely over the top at the same time, Rich Aucoin has figured out that the best of performances are not just about the artist at all, but are really about how that artist performs.
Over the course of the next 45 minutes Aucoin went back and forth with the crowd, pushing energy out and taking just as much back as if it were a constant wave rolling between the two. Songs “Want To Believe”, “Are You Experiencing?” and “Four More Years” instantly became fan favourites and staples of Rich Aucoin’s ongoing career, a career which is clearly cruising along well on the right path. With the constant fist pumping and foot jumping Aucoin had the crowd bouncing from start to finish on a dance floor which also doubled as a trampoline. After all the streamers were shot off and the parachute was officially retired for the night, the Puppet Master would finish off what he began a mere 42 minutes ago with the one that put him on this path of perfection, “It”.
Rich Aucoin not only plays the instruments but also cuts and develops the ideas that allow him to put on the most interactive performance you’re sure to see. With a work ethic that some would call crazy, but he would call the driving force, it is easy to see how this must-see artist has spent the past seven years quietly perfecting his craft.
I had the opportunity to see over 30 acts during the week of the 2014 Halifax Pop Explosion and none of them were close to putting on a performance like the one Rich did.