Sackville rock favourites play homecoming show following recent tour
Due to the hellscape that is downtown construction in Sackville, the town’s annual fall fair hosted musical acts in a tent set up in the Goya’s parking lot, a relocation from the usual Bridge Street venue. The tent hosted local act Partner and Halifax’s Mauno, who together provided a night of experimental pop and moshable rock music to kick off the weekend portion of the fair.
Mauno were on first, playing pastoral-sounding pop with an experimental tilt. This is the first show the group has played in town since the release of their spectacular album Rough Master in August, and the set list was primarily made up of tracks from that release. Mauno plays music that swells and lurches, constantly building and developing. The group is one of the tightest I have ever seen, tapping into some collective consciousness that allows the three members to start and stop on a dime. Their songs were built around clean guitars which writhed and shifted as vocalists Nick Everett and Eliza Niemi harmonized beautifully, while Evan Mathews steered the pace with his technical yet restrained drumming.
Sackville locals Partner were up next, playing the last show on their mini-tour across half the country. The band began generating hype after a barn-burner of a SappyFest set at which they played to a packed bowling alley and outshone Sappy’s Pitchfork- approved headliners Speedy Ortiz. Partner’s fall-fair set reaffirmed the validity of the post-Sappy hype the band garnered. Interspersed by face- melting solos, Partner’s lyrical topics included the accidental alteration of an entire subset of cutlery into weed paraphernalia, and the lesbian experience in a small maritime town.
The crowd exploded into a mosh pit as soon as Partner took the stage, and lasted the duration of the set. A pumpkin was tossed around, and everyone helped crowdsurf their friends – as well as a scarecrow – as Partner ripped through the show. Frontwomen Lucy Niles and Josée Caron had undeniable chemistry on stage, bantering and playing off each other seamlessly. Partner is one of the best bands borne of the Sackville music scene, and their shows are the most energetic and entertaining around; Friday’s show served to confirm this statement.
It is also worth noting the quality of the sound mixing at these shows. Sackville tent shows are notoriously plagued by poor sound quality; however, the mixing was especially on point during Mauno’s set and sounded close to record quality. Partner’s performance was also well- mixed; all of the musicians’ parts came through clearly, which allowed the crowd to focus exclusively on the show. Maybe it was a stroke of luck or a trick of the alcohol in my system, but the sound was the best I have heard at an outdoor show in town.
After the show, many concertgoers filtered into Thunder & Lightning to partake in some karaoke, and the bands followed. As the sweat- drenched crowd exited the tent, the crisp smell of fall (and darts) hung in the air. Fall fair is always a reminder that summer is coming to a close, but Partner reminded us that the feeling of summer is only a mosh pit away.