Hometown heroes rock Halifax Pop

Sackville bands favourites at Halifax festival.

As has been the case for a few years now, the entirety of the Sackville music scene and its musical thrill seekers picked up and headed to the big city to bear witness to another iteration of Halifax Pop Explosion. The week saw performances by a couple of Sackville super groups in the Mouthbreathers and Jon McKiel’s band, along with other Sackville-influenced collectives such as Jerk Damaged and Al Tuck.

Sackville-infused Jerk Damaged kicked off a show on Thursday night at the Pavilion, which finished with the first of two Fucked Up sets that night. The venue, a graffiti-covered, low-ceilinged place on a skate park, was the perfect setting for a show that became progressively wilder as the night continued, and grounded the entire evening in a distinctly too ‘punk to give a fuck’ attitude.

The night then scattered the festival’s attendees across the city, with the main punk contingent following Fucked Up across the Commons to the Marquee Ballroom along with what seemed like the entirety of the usual Sackville crowd turning up for the Mouthbreathers’ and Cousins’ sets, giving Halifax a homey, small town Sackville feel. It was a very Hotel California moment, a ‘you can go to Halifax any time you like, but you can never leave Sackville’ sort of deal.

The Mouthbreathers’ set went off without a hitch. The energy level was really kicked up a notch by a crowd that knew all the words to every song and was not afraid to sacrifice accessories to the mosh pit that reappeared without fail with every song. The band, unquestioned masters of the small venue set, took the same spirit to the bigger stage, giving off both the involvement of tiny venues and the sheer energy and momentum that big crowds give off, resulting in a great high note to lead into Cousins and Fucked Up. Both in turn would add to the number of lost items claimed by the mosh. 

Jon McKiel got to show off his wonderful rural indie rock in the big city performing a midnight set in Gus’ Pub on Friday. The Pub, famous for good live music, was treated to the universally-enjoyed songcraft that Jon and company never fail to cook up every time.

All in all, the festival seemed to raise up everything Sackville produced with the favourite local acts moving on up toward headlining the big sets and toward the bigger prints on those festival posters that are always plastered all over town when a festival rolls in. The efforts of Sackville’s music industry are lifting up the local acts to national importance. The small town heroes killed it on the biggest stage in the Maritimes, Sackville pride was in much abundance, and the festival would not have hit half as close to home without their upbeat punk music.

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