The road to the 2024 Junos officially kicked off two weeks ago when the Halifax host committee had the privilege of hosting the first of four Wavemakers shows around the Maritimes. The shows would feature four acts from each of the five regions (Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredericton, Sydney, and St. John’s) who would then perform for the audience’s votes, and the performer with the most votes would then earn a spot to perform during the 2024 JunoFest.
Night 1 was held at the Light House Arts Centre in the Juno host city of Halifax. The show featured a stacked line-up of talent: indie-folk darlings Moira and Claire, talented songwriter and performer KAYO, infectious pop-punk duo Atay & Jax, and genre-bending powerhouse (and eventual winner) Maggie Andrew.
The night started with some introductions from our host and special guest performer Rose Cousins, and the Chair of the Juno Committee (and Executive Director of Music Nova Scotia) Allega Swanson. Then the show kicked off with Moira and Claire’s beautifully delicate, and sometimes funny indie-pop gems which sparkled throughout their set. This duo struck gold on TikTok over the pandemic with their song “Delaney’s Dad” and wowed during their ECMA Performances (be sure to catch them down in Yarmouth at Nova Scotia Music Week if you get the chance). KAYO‘s high-energy performance got the crowd moving and smiling right along with this talented performer who fuses R&B, reggae and hip-hop for an infectious and enjoyable sound, definitely an act to keep an eye out for.
Next on the bill was Maggie Andrew, who was an act that I missed during ECMAs earlier this year, and was hoping to catch during the Wavemakers show. Needless to say, her performance did not disappoint. How Maggie fuses energetic pop-R&B tracks with the mall-punk stylings of Avril Lavigne (especially when she straps on her guitar) gave definite star-power vibes akin to that of someone such as Olivia Rodrigo. There is a poise and polish in her performance that made it clear that she was destined for bigger and better stages. When it was announced she was the winner of the first Juno Wavemaker show, it felt predestined more than a surprise. Not to mention her band was stacked with talent including Jordan Murphy and Billy Habib-Taylor, both of The Brood, and local sensation Willie Straton. Looking forward to catching Maggie’s performance during Juno Fest in the spring.
Due to previous engagements, I was only able to catch the first three acts, and I do plan on catching Atay and Jax around town at a later date. All in all it was a great showcase of the talent here in Halifax, and I can’t wait for the Junos to make their return in March.