Music blogger Megan Couture is back, reviewing Symphony Nova Scotia’s performance of Pink Floyd: The Darker Side of the Moon with the …
Halifax Pop Explosion: Dan Mangan and Symphony Nova ScotiaBy Megan Couture | Oct 21, 2012
Tags: Dan Mangan, Halifax Pop Explosion, Symphony Nova Scotia
Guest blogger Megan Couture continues her coverage of the Halifax Pop Explosion.
This originally would’ve been a very different post: I had tried (in vain, and like half the city it would seem) to secure tickets to Dan Mangan with Symphony Nova Scotia for some time now and had made a back-up plan for Friday night at the Halifax Pop Explosion. But my musical prayers were answered: a lovely co-worker was kind enough to give me two tickets.
The mood at the Rebecca Cohn was electric. His third time in Halifax for HPX, Dan Mangan returned with something to offer that could even top 2011′s performance at St. Matt’s (You may recall that I slightly fell in love with him after this show last year): a collaboration with Symphony Nova Scotia.
I’ve been to the Symphony many times, but had never been for a Pops concert. I love the music of both parties involved so much that I wasn’t worried about not enjoying myself: that was a given.
The Symphony came out first, warming up with a new conductor; John Govias conducted the orchestra for the first time. They did a short warm up, showing off their musical chops to a crowd that may not frequent the symphony. They drew gleeful applause.
When Dan and his bassist, John Walsh took the stage, the crowd erupted. Dan, with his friendly demeanour and boyish “Ah-shucks” smile appeared appreciative. The format for the evening was different than I expected, but proved to be an excellent balance: Dan and John would perform one song with the Symphony, and one as a duo. The crowd was hushed; you could’ve heard a pin drop for the duo performances.
Some of the stand outs from the evening include the stripped down, solo version of “The Indie Queens Are Waiting” (a favourite of mine in any form), Sold (complete with clapping back up from the symphony), “Road Regrets” and the particularly heart-tugging “Basket,” a song Dan wrote after his grandfather had passed. It’s a touching and starkly honest portrait of the tragedy that can accompany getting older. It made me tear up: a powerful song and such a soulful performance.
For the encore, Dan came out with the intention of performing his hit “Robots” as just himself and John, but turned to the Symphony and invited them to improvise. He also commented, bemused as to why they hadn’t arranged this particular song as a collaboration.
But in the awesome way that live music makes magic happen, select musicians in the symphony (Ivor, Patty, Dominic, and Suzanne, I learned from the Symphony’s Twitter feed) started improvising and jamming. Much to the joy of the crowd, Dan and John. They even stopped for a bit and let one of the flutes play an impromptu solo (complete with fist pump at the end). It was one of the most incredible, heart-happy things I’ve ever seen and it sounded incredible.