Mitch’s Takeaways – Halifax Pop Explosion 2017

Opening Acts

As with many shows, the opening acts go largely unnoticed. It’s a shame that more people won’t venture out to shows that they want to see, to catch the up and comers. I understand that sometimes sets overlap so you can’t make it to everything (and that is a good problem to have). However, so many opening slots were under-attended, which can lead to a lack of energy from said bands. Vogue Dots on Thursday night put on a luscious set with trippy vibes to a crowd of 30 people. Kirsten Olivia on Saturday night was underwhelmed with her crowd on the mainstage, opening for Lee Fields & The Expressions. Strongboy (who was at the same time as Olivia) was also criminally under-attended to indulge them in their airy psych-pop sounds. Designosaur drew a mediocre crowd for their set at the Seahorse Friday, but nowhere near what it should have been. My question is, where is everyone? By the time the main acts come on, the place is filled to capacity. I understand that people pay to see the headliners, but HPX puts together solid and cohesive lineups each night, and at each venue. If you dig the headliner, what makes you think you won’t dig opening acts? There is absolutely no way that you’ll ever see such a varied lineup that doesn’t mesh. You won’t see an acoustic folk duo opening for a big band that pushes out funk sounds. Get out and support the smaller acts. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you never know when you’ll find your new favourite band.

Weakened Friends

Speaking of new favourite bands – enter Weakened Friends. This American-based fuzz rock trio ripped up The Seahorse stage on Thursday night. Going into their set blind, I had no idea what to expect. The girls up front ripped solos and shredded heavy bass lines over deep yet semi melodic vocals, while the soul fella in the group held down the beats behind the kit. I’m sour that I didn’t look into them sooner so I could have been giddy to see them, but sometimes you don’t necessarily want to peek at your presents before Christmas. Also, just for the sake of shaming those of you who don’t know them and don’t care to look into them, their latest release features J FUCKING MASICS of Dinosaur Jr.

Owen Meany’s  Batting Stance

On the flip side of not knowing the artist and enjoying the set nonetheless, this is an act I’ve been dying to see live, but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Daniel and the gang put out a stellar album earlier this year that has gotten continuous metaphorical spins (thanks to streaming) on my personal jukebox. Upbeat and catchy tunes that tell stories, that you can’t help but embrace the lyrics whether upbeat or down trodden, but dance and bop along either way. Charisma isn’t anything that needs to be taught to anyone on stage, as they all have personality and presence, probably due to the fact that it’s a supergroup of sorts with members of The Brood, No, It’s Fine, and Devarrow all gracing the stage. They’re up for a Nova Scotia music award, and it’s well deserved. When you have a chance, check out these local superstars.

About the author


I'm a Cape Bretoner pretending to be city folk. I like my music loud, my beer cold, and my denim on denim.