The latest report from guest blogger and Halifax Pop Explosion correspondent Megan Couture. If I could, I would take last night’s …
Halifax Pop Explosion: Rain Over St. Ambrose, Elliott Brood and El-PBy Megan Couture | Oct 20, 2012
Tags: Halifax Pop Explosion
Guest blogger Megan Couture reports from the Halifax Pop Explosion.
I arrived at the Olympic Centre early on Thursday night (after missing Rich Aucoin’s heart-stopping opus at St. Matt’s last year, I’ve vowed to never go late again) just as Rain Over St. Ambrose was taking the stage. A five piece rockin’ outfit from Yarmouth, these guys are already starting to make waves and I can see why. High energy riffs, glorious harmonies, and likeable tunes that I can’t get out of my head made for the perfect storm of musical gusto.
These guys are just good at rock n’ roll. Their stage presence is welcomes you in, but doesn’t overwhelm you. Their love of performing is evident and encourages you to be a part of what they’re creating. And what they’re creating is some solid, enjoyable music.
Next up was Elliott BROOD – a three-piece, foot stomping, banjo-playing, harmonica blowing dilly of a time. They opened strong with “Lines,” a minimal, swelling tune with a catchy guitar hook and soaring vocals. Dressed like (and sounding like) gentlemen from another time, these fellows capture a quality of music from days gone by. Absolutely fabulous from beginning to end, the Olympic Centre reached near-staggering temperatures as the crowd began to dance and clap wildly. Catchy folk with just the right amount of country twang, the energy that St. Ambrose had started was catching fire as those that had been hearing the din outside pushed Olympic Centre to near capacity.
For only three members, Casey Laforet , Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin are capable of making a whole lotta sound. They’re also multi-talented, with each of them playing a minimum of three instruments and all three of them singing. The result is a sound that’s layered, classic and stays on one’s mind.
I wished I could’ve stayed until the very last second, but HPX is a whirlwind and sometimes you have to take chances.
I hightailed it down to Reflections (by the way, kudos to HPX for having a bike valet at the Olympic Centre! Made my venue hop much easier) for El-P. If you haven’t heard about El-P, consider the rest of this post my stamp of approval. A Brooklyn-based rapper, El-P is the real deal. Sharp as a tack, witty as all hell and a raw, no-hold-barred performer.
If you’re the sort of person that starts your performance with “The Final Countdown” (Yes, that seriously happened), you’re already good in my books. But El-P isn’t just some rapper yelling and swearing for nothing. His lyrics conjure up vast dystopian futures, mind-warping and distorted realities, and a reminder that we’re all a little cracked. The fusion of sharp lyrics with kick ass guitar solos (who knew he had his own guitarist?) amped the crowd to a near frenzy. But everyone at Reflections was just there for the music, towing that perfect line between being into the music and staying out of each other’s way (and any trouble). My favourite songs (although, after last night I have a tougher time choosing) “Drones over Brklyn” and “Tougher Colder Killer” are tough subject matter to some, but after seeing El-P last night with his dynamic, fierce execution, I’m convinced that sometimes you need it to get past whatever it is you’re getting past.