There are plenty of bands out on the road, who have cut or are cutting their teeth in the local Legions, or in the back of a small seedy bar someplace. Those same bands dream of playing those larger hockey arenas, or concert halls, never having the opportunity to set foot on those stages. Meanwhile, you have a band like The Beaches, who have the rare distinction of playing one of their first Halifax shows, on the biggest stage in town. On the Scotiabank Centre stage that this four-piece force of nature played, in support of July Talk and homegrown talent Matt Mays. The show of hands this past Friday night didn’t show much crossover in terms of attendance. Covid notwithstanding, The Beaches have been putting in the reps out here on the East Coast.
Since that first Scotiabank Centre show, the Beaches have headlined their own show over at The Seahorse Tavern, supported The Glorious Sons at Dalhousie University, hit up Truro’s Rock The Hub in 2019 and recently opened the Avril Lavigne show in Halifax (again finding themselves on the familiar Scotiabank Centre stage). The crowds have steadily grown since that initial Halifax show, and Jordan, Kylie, Leandra and Eliza have certainly put in the work to help expedite that growth. En route to Halifax this past Friday night, the band dropped a tweet that had to have put a smile on their faces, as the band was headed to town to play a sold-out show at the newly minted Light House Arts Centre, rather than to a much smaller 300 strong Seahorse crowd.
In the time since that first 2018 show in Halifax, the world did hit a collective pause button, which was a major point of contention for many. Prior to that two-year stretch, the band had dropped an EP entitled The Professional which was seemingly touched by Midas as that EP was loaded with hit, after hit, after hit, including “Fascination”, “Snake Tongue”, ”Want What You Got” and then lastly “Lame”. This collection of singles in addition to those released off of the band’s breakthrough album Late Show, have been in steady rotation on rock radio for years at this point, continuing to build their enthusiastic fan base.
On the heels of their 2021 EP Future Lovers and the success of anthemic singles “Let’s Go” and “Blow Up“, they were asked to support the pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne. Which was something of a full circle moment, as the four members of The Beaches drew inspiration from Avril’s ‘no f’s given’ attitude and career trajectory. It was an opportunity that further propelled their dominance of the Canadian music scene, as the legions of underage concertgoers got a chance to draw their own inspiration from this potent pop-rock quartet.
Fast forward to February 24th, 2023 in Halifax to the packed concert ballroom in the former World Trade and Convention Centre, where a devoted fan base clamoured to see one of their favourite bands up close and personal. When the lights in the room dimmed, and the roar of the crowd went up, Jordan, Kylie, Eliza and Leandra strode onstage and took their positions before ripping into the title track from 2017’s Late Show. To no one’s disappointment, that 2017 album was heavily drawn upon for this set, featuring the big singles “Money”, “T-Shirt” but also the hypnotic “Highway 6” (the standout gem from this album) and always great “Back of my Heart”.
Aside from the pointed “Snake Tongue”, not much was omitted from this show. It was great to hear the unreleased single “Kinkade” sung by Leandra and showcased an edgier, punk Beaches sound. It was also fun watching Leandra navigate the pit and popping up in random positions along the barrier while doing so. This was a show that spanned the entire Beaches catalogue, reaching all the way back to the band’s self-titled 2013 EP and the track “Absolutely Nothing” which was a snarling spoken word number that shows all of the hallmarks of the band we know and love today right down to the harmonies and handclaps, and absolutely holds up and demands its place on the setlist.
You have to love it when a band incorporates some random Cars quip into their banter, which resulted in Jordan shouting that beloved Lightning McQueen catchphrase “Ka-Chow”, but that wasn’t even the most surprising takeaway from this show. That moment was when the ladies broke out a rocked-up cover of the Nelly Furtado classic “Maneater”, a song that should be recorded and included on the band’s upcoming album as this version could be a major hit for the band. A short time later, The Beaches closed out their main set with the breakthrough hit “Money”, before returning to perform “Gold” for an all-too-brief encore.
This was one of those magical nights where the attendees and the band are completely in sync, even to the point that Jordan remarked that it felt like this was a hometown show. As this was a sold-out show, these folks were more than ready to embrace The Beaches as fellow Haligonians, and had this been an all-ages gig, the number of attendees would have likely been well higher. Clearly chuffed, the band promised to return soon, and you can bet that those tickets will be hot commodities when that announcement is official.
At the top of the show, local band June Body kicked off the proceedings with their brand of energetic pop punk, and at times shades of Fall Out Boy, and Jimmy Eat World shone through. This is a tight three-piece who hails from right here in the HRM, and who held nothing back on stage. I’m certainly looking forward to checking out Connor, Matt and Alexander down the road, as this was a great introduction to the band, after hearing so many glowing recommendations (thx Alex and Jordan). Be on the lookout for June Body’s future performances as they are more than deserving of your attentive ears.