It was a great night in Halifax on Canada Day Eve. It was one of those perfect waterfront days; the sun was beaming, the breeze was low and there was an impending concert about to take place.
Initially the show was announced as Stewart Burton, a special guest and headlining act Tokyo Police Club, but the lineup grew a little with local Gus’ Pub stalwarts Walrus kicking the show off, with the aforementioned Burton, then TPC and local favourite Rich Aucoin batting clean-up (announced earlier in the day). I was pumped when I read the announcement, but once I saw the schedule, I was bummed to miss Rich yet again, but it was buoyed by the fact that I was headed back to Sack-Vegas to take in the local fireworks with my wife and little girl.
I knew Justin had told Jeff and I about Walrus, so I was excited to have the opportunity to see them play. The band was a definite throwback to the era of psychedelic prog-rock bands, as the songs were lush, atmospheric and at times murky, but in no way is that a slight. Justin’s hype was fully justified, it was a very mellow vibe to set the night off.
After a short break, Spencer Burton and his band hit the stage. At first glance, Burton evoked a distinct Matt Mays image, but the moment he started playing that thought quickly evaporated. Mays has a distinct rock/surf-rock vibe, whereas Burton is far more an alt-country act. Those who were watching and listening were treated to a handful of shimmering country tunes from Burton (I say this as the pack of twenty-somethings to my left engaged in a set-long conversation, largely ignoring him) which truly were suited to the early evening time-slot. While the set was mostly mellow singer-songwriter fare, the crowd in large part was receptive and enjoyed the Welland native’s set.
Next up were Tokyo Police Club, a band who is no stranger to these parts, having headlined the Canada Day show at Alderney Landing a few years ago, and having played the 2014 edition of the Halifax Pop Explosion, not to mention a few other shows in the past. Dave Monks, Graham Wright, Josh Hook and Greg Aslop hit the stage a little after 8pm and launched into their set which included “Argentina”, “Nature of the Experiment” and “Hot Tonight”. It was a set which was front loaded with deeper cuts, eventually getting to tracks such as “Hot Tonight”, “Tunnel Vision” and “Bambi”, but all in all it was a solid set, not mind blowing by any means but it was a great one to set up the crowd for the upcoming headliner Rich Aucoin.
It was about 3/4 of the way through the Tokyo Police Club set that I chose to say adieu. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see Rich, but I didn’t want to disappoint my little one, so I headed back to my car to make my trek to Sackville. It was a great tune up for the upcoming Canada Day events, where I would be checking out The Glorious Sons in the Live 105 “Live Hive” and then later that evening at Alderney Landing.