Hannah: Well, it happened. Halifax Pop Explosion has come to an end for another year. I regret only being able to go out for two of the four nights, but I’m grateful for the nights I was able to make it out. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the shows I missed. If you’re interested in learning more about pop explosion, click here. If you want to read the rest of our recaps, click here.
Jessica: I spent my Saturday in orchestra rehearsal playing works by Schubert and Grieg. Needless to say, after that I was ready to get back to listening to some music from the present day. Tonight was a great end to the festival. It was full of surprises, and every performer brought their all. Thanks to all of the amazing performers and organizers who have worked so tirelessly the past four days and beyond. You are amazing.
Alright, let’s kick off the recaps!
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Jessica: I’ve had a couple of chances to see these folks in Halifax, but until now none of the opportunities worked out. Thankfully tonight I got to see what they were about, and am very glad I did so. Their sound was folk rock with an edge of twang from lead singer Nils Edenloff, and great supporting harmonies from Robin Hatch. The band delivered their set with force and passion. The front of the crowd were all dedicated fans who couldn’t seem to get enough of the energy the music was providing. Overall, a nice start to my evening at the Forum.
Jessica: The most pleasant surprise of the night was Patrick Watson’s set. I’ve only heard a couple of his songs previously, all which were very mellow with soft piano accompaniment. Only one of the songs he performed was at all like this. The rest of his set was an immersive experience that went beyond just the music. His setup included a number of orbs that pulsed different lights with each change in song and mood. The songs ranged from driving rock tunes with hammering piano lines to stripped down acoustic ballads, one of which featured a musical saw. All the while, the lights changed to reflect the specific tone that was being created each song. His dedication to the tone of each song showed, as he frequently interacted with the sound and light technicians between songs to get the specific setup he required. The focus on performance allowed the music to be fully appreciated, and also had the rare ability to captivate you and keep you engaged start to finish. An amazing performance that thankfully made it’s way to Halifax, as it took him over 15 years of his career to finally visit the city.
Tasha The Amazon
Jessica: Another powerhouse female performer, she completely dominated the Marquee stage and made it her own. She knew exactly how to work her audience into a frenzy. One moment she’s delivering her punchy, fast-paced verses. The next she is pouring liquor into the open mouths of the front of the crowd. Unsurprisingly, her artist bio for the festival included a note about her “rude stage antics” and the fact many of her shows have been shut down by the police. Thankfully for all, this was not the case for tonight’s show. She kept the energy in overdrive until the very end of her set, sharing material both new and old. Next time you’re in Toronto, catch one of her shows. She is an artist you should not turn down the opportunity to see.
Jessica: A perfect way to close out the Marquee for the festival. Bambii got introduced to the stage by Lido Pimienta, making the already excited audience go wild. Bambii clearly has an excellent ear perfect for a DJ. She makes seamless transitions between tracks and melds melodies and beats from popular tracks together in a way that makes them entirely her own unique style. From what I caught of her set, she had a very nonchalant presence and extreme focus on her performance. Her audience, however was dancing and cheering from the beginning. I would be surprised if most of the crowd wasn’t dancing from start to finish of her set. Due to the pure exhaustion caused by the past couple days, I left about halfway through. Probably my only complaint about the night, as she was creating such a fun atmosphere.
And that’s how my night ended; a killer dance party to wrap up four days of amazing music all over Halifax. Now time to recover from the musical hangover and catch up on all my late assignments. Thanks for reading, folks.
Hannah: Because I manage my life terribly I started my night at 1 am by heading to Reflections to catch three performances, starting with Dj Douvet. I tried taking photos at first but was quickly pushed to the side by the people dancing right at the front, so I let my spot go after I got a usable one. I couldn’t decide what to do next. I wanted to dance along with everyone else, so I did. Here’s what it says on Douvet’s Facebook page: “I mix what I feel which is usually a mix of disco, funk, soul, deep house, house and techno.” Definitely music to get moving to.
Whoa. This performance gave me the most energy that I’ve had in days. I made my way up front again and snapped photos, which was hard because this guy just never. stops. bouncing. Again, I just really wanted to dance. PINEO has an infectious energy that makes you feel like all you can do is move. While the show went on I was Googling when I could check out PINEO (and partner LOEB) again (Pacifico next weekend, if you’re curious. I’ll be there.). This time I was right next to the speakers, so I was catching a nice breeze from the sound. The ear-ringing afterwards is kind of worth it. I mean with this show “Semi-Charmed Life” into something I’d expect to hear in a club and not just a song I picture going along with an early 2000s teen movie. The most important line in my notes, word for word: THEY MADE ABBA INTO A CLUB HIT LIFE IS GOOD IM GOOD GOOD BEST NIGHT THIS IS MY NEW JAM. That about sums up my feelings.
Dabin started right after PINEO, so there were no breaks in energy. The crowd was already pretty hyped, but they somehow had even more energy once Dabin started his set. Not only does this dude know how to make great music, he also plays along to his tracks while on stage. In the photo above he’s accompanying himself with the guitar. The crowd loved it, and I did too. His artist bio on the pop explosion site says he was learning piano, drums and guitar while he was a teenager and now the 23-year-old utilizes that in his work. This show was pretty cool, and a great way to close out Halifax Pop Explosion’s 25th year.