Wayback Wednesday // Rich Aucoin @ The Seahorse Tavern – 10.06.23

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a Murtaugh (Danny Glover’s iconic Lethal Weapon role) moment when I saw the start time of Rich Aucoin’s recent stop at the Seahorse Tavern. Not to say that this show was without hype, or lacking in quality, but the older I get, the more I understand where Jamie Lee Curtis is coming from. She had recently suggested the (not-so) ludicrous idea of starting shows at 7:00 pm to have folks back home in their PJs well before 11.

Step One: Extricate Thyself from the Couch

It is always the shows where I have to extricate myself from the clutches of that comfy sofa to head out that often prove themselves worthy of the effort. This one was no exception. Rich Aucoin’s shows are spoken of with such reverence and esteem by long-time enthusiasts, it can only compel you to experience it for yourself.

Especially when you see those social media snaps of Rich Aucoin performing underneath an unfurled parachute, you can’t help but be transported back to your grade school gym classes. You’ve come to the right place if you’re trying to chase that nostalgic high. Then add in a room such as The Seahorse Tavern,  an intimate space where the artists can easily mingle with the crowd. Making it an ideal venue for this show.

If you attempted to study Rich’s discography you might be left flummoxed. There are elements of indie-pop, electronica and even moments where his sound evokes memories of early 2000’s indie-rock. If you explore Aucoin’s most recent works Synthetic: Season 1 and Synthetic: Season 2,  you will quickly discover he has shifted fully into the electronic realm, creating these cinematic soundscapes that will garner comparison to Daft Punk’s work on Tron: Legacy.

Even after digesting his discography, I walked into the venue unsure of what to expect.  After a great electronic/electro-pop appetizer from a pair of exciting artists, Katie Wayne and Keeper E. (w/ Maisie Gilbert), it was time for Rich to finally take the stage (at around 11:30). After his band situated themselves, and an arsenal of confetti canons were carefully placed around the stage, the lights dimmed, and the projector kicked in.

Rich Aucoin Experience

On-screen, the crowd was treated to a pastiche of classic film openings, from the 20th Century Fox drumroll to the THX sound demo, and that iconic IMAX speaker introduction. It was a definite hit of nostalgia, then we were face-to-face with our narrator that took us through a brief history of memes, before Rich Aucoin appeared (backed by fellow Halifax artist RSun, and Aucoin’s bandmates). Throughout the set, the video acted as a visual cue for the crowd, but all the while this performance was equal parts rave, aerobics class and rock concert.

The lights remained down for the entirety of the show as if we were all seated in a cinema, but the light cannons stationed at either side of the stage provided enough colour and light to make even the most glorious rainbow jealous. At points in the performance, the only other light on stage was emitted from a light bulb, gripped tightly by Rich, opposite his multi-faceted microphone, as he guided us through this infectious career retrospective which spanned as far back as his 2007 EP Personal Publication with “Undead”.

Hearing the Release cut “The Other” and the massive sing-along “It” from We’re All Dying to Live made this show extra special. It felt like a communal experience, one that was precisely the reason why live music needs to be experienced first-hand. After those tracks,  the 2022 release “We’re in It Together” really summed up this show in the best way possible: “…We’re all in this, or we’re dead.  We’re in it together…”.  This night will remain etched on the memory of those attendees, for the music, the positivity, and the inclusiveness. In those wee hours, as I rode that Rich Aucoin experience high home, I definitely didn’t feel like Murtaugh.

Rich Aucoin

Keeper E

Katie Wayne

About the author


A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.