HPX 2010 - Night #2 Recap // Part 1

Pinky & Dan @ The Seahorse Tavern
Review by Pinky / Photos, Video and Ty Segall Review by Dan

09:00 PM -Bloodhouse
10:00 PM -Holy Cobras
11:00 PM -Teenanger
12:00 AM - Ty Segall

Night 2 of Pop Ex went a little more as planned. After a nice meal at Tomavinos to start my night I went down to the Seahorse for the entirety of my night to see Bloodhouse, Holy Cobras, Teenanger and Ty Segall.
Now the first two bands, Bloodhouse and Holy Cobras, are an example of bands using the same sort of format, but with drastically different results. Bloodhouse layers everything in lots of effects and reverb, giving them that old 60’s psych tinge, but with hard hitting drums and dynamic bass playing, their songs swirl and destroy and rebuild sound in a constant cycle of sweat and melody. The cool thing is that the guitar and bass might be doing the same thing for most of a song, but with small changes to the drum patterns the songs take shape in a way that surpasses the usual quiet/loud dynamic of these types of bands. It’s pretty hypnotic and there’s really nothing like Bloodhouse anywhere else. The faces Alex Mitchell makes when he sings are worth the price of admission alone.


Even with his drums falling and getting knocked over, the drummer managed to keep things on solid footing while reaching and scrambling to put everything back into place, I like it when musicians just muster on when everything seems to falling apart around them, it’s very Rock and Roll.
While Bloodhouse use effects to sort of muddy up their cool riffs and bass lines, Holy Cobras seemed to use effects in the hopes that no one would notice how terrible they actually were. For the most part, it worked, but luckily for you guys you have someone like me who can see through all the bullshit. Holy Cobras were pure style over substance served up with sunglasses in a bar and skinny jeans to boot.
I’m going to get into a lot of stuff I didn’t like about their show, but as far as music goes, it wasn’t god awful, it was just bloody boring. Bass lines and guitar parts rarely shifted, which worked for Bloodhouse because they had shifting drum patterns and melodic vocals, but for Holy Cobras everything stayed at the same level for the entire show. I’m pretty sure they played 4 songs in a row with the exact same drum beat. I mean c’mon, I know garage-rock isn’t about virtuosity, but it doesn’t mean you can’t write decent songs. After Bloodhouse I was stirred up and ready for something even more powerful, instead I just wished I was at home watching Peep Show and eating some Harvest Crunch.
The first thing I was told when I started a band in grade 8, was that no matter what, when you’re on stage at a show, DON’T PLAY between songs. It’s sloppy, it’s annoying for other members trying to do things like tune or sort out their tone, and it just makes you look like a jackass. EVERY TIME Holy Cobras stopped a song we were treated to 2 seconds of silence, and then 3 minutes of fuckery. It was painful to watch. 
I could go on and on about this. The front man, who tried to look cool by taking his shirt off and keeping his sunglasses on (really? What are you Cory Hart?) ended up looking like the fat kid from Stand By Me was fronting a band with two taller older kids playing bass and guitar. I just felt embarrassed for him. He had two microphones, but I didn’t really see the point, his vocals were buried in so much reverb and effects that there was no difference whatsoever between the two mics. Maybe it’s another attempt to seem unique.


At one point their drummer took a swig from a quart of Jagermeister and handed it to the bass player. He then took it, looked at it, shook his head no and gave it back. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! You’re in a rock band. If you can’t take a swig of Jagermeister on stage with two hundred people packed in the Seahorse, then get off and let a real musician do it. Or at least fake it. I mean fuck, I thought you guys wanted to look cool.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Some people loved the Holy Cobras. There was a steady surge of people up front rocking out and having a great time, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about indie kids in Halifax, it’s that you can’t always trust their judgment, maybe they’re on some sort of new drug that makes shitty bands sound better than they are. I guess the old drugs do that too. Hmmm..
By the time Teenanger got on stage I had lost my kick. To be honest, bands that put more time into their image than their songs really piss me off, it would have taken Tom Petty circa 1973 to get on that stage and get me out of my mood by this point.

Luckily, Teenanger, while they weren’t the most exciting band, were pretty great. With the last two bands having tons of effects, Teenanger had a fairly dry sound, with good guitar riffs and catchy vocals, it was a nice way to lead into the headliner of the night. The lead singer also knew how to work the crowd, and since he didn’t take his shirt off, he gets an extra two points from me, I’d seen enough man nipples for one night.
One thing that really stood out about Teenanger was how fucking solid their bass player was. She would play the riff of the song, but she would always accompany it with either passing notes or cool little fill in lines that just kept the songs moving.
If you’re waiting for me to get into the headliner Ty Segall, well I’m sorry, but I left after Teenanger. Knowing I had to get up early to finish this review before going to work and then heading out again on Thursday, I felt it was time to vanish. I guess part of it too is that I hadn’t seen anything mind blowing all night, and for me to stick around I really needed something that just wasn’t being offered so far.
Thursday, with performances by Dinosaur Bones (who killed it last year) and Sloan, should find me with much more positive things to write about.
I hope.


(Luckily, Dan stuck around just long enough to see what happened with Ty Segall)

After an enjoyable but straight forward set by Teenager, Ty Segall stepped up to the stage to a full house. With the Seahorse at capacity for the second night in a row, and the crowd's pulsing energy still at a peak, Ty and full band didn't disappoint as headliners. From the opening chords of the first song, I knew the set would be the best of the night. Taking the previous band's garage rock core and wrapping it around tight arrangements, well placed covers, and a well hyped up crowd, Ty Segall proved that there's still plenty of life left in 4 chord rock and roll. While the band churned out tasty riff after tasty riff in a dozen or more quick and dirty songs, audience members moshed left and right, dove off the stage, and crowd surfed two at a time. At one point security attempted to intervene, but Ty  kept the favour with his fans and gave his blessing from the stage to keep the craziness intact.
Apparently even more hijinks ensued as I left just a few songs short of the end, and it was clear that all the crowd and bands intended to live up to the hype laid out before this show. It's almost always a sure thing to bet on a great show from an HPX headliner any night of the week, and hopefully Ty and crew will spread the word that Halifax (the furthest east they've ever played) is the town to hit on any good tour.


Isaac @ the Forum Multi Purpose Room

Sonic Concerts Presents: The New Pornographers
08:00 PM -Boxer the Horse
10:00 PM -New Pornographers, The

Things were going way ahead of schedule at the forum. I hurried myself over hoping to catch Boxer the Horse and My Brightest Diamond, but both acts had wrapped up shortly after 9:00. The New Pornographers, who were scheduled for 10:00, were set up and ready to go shortly after.

I was really looking forward to seeing the New Pornographers. They are, in my opinion, one of the few “critic’s darling” bands (you know, the kind of band that Pitchfork and the like gush over until you start to hate them) that actually deserve the praise and hype that is heaped on them. The group writes the most perfect pop music imaginable while simultaneously bringing the rock. Their recorded material is brilliant and I’d heard a lot of great things about their live show. Also, If Neko Case’s voice asked me to marry it, I would say yes. Needless to type (but I’ll type it anyway), I had built my expectations pretty high for this show and was hoping for nothing short of greatness. And damn it, that’s exactly what I got.

The band was tight as hell and hearing Neko’s voice in person made me melt. They played a nicely even set of newer material and old favourites. There was a bit of amusing banter, but for the most part the Pornographers kept things rolling with one instant classic after another. With seven members on stage it was incredible how the band never once sounded cluttered. Every member can totally shred on their instruments but they show a great amount of restraint when needed. One of the most entertaining members to watch was the drummer who was hot-dogging it big time with constant drumstick twirls and tosses. It was great to watch him perform these neat little tricks while keeping a dead-on solid beat. 

The audience was a mixed bag of all ages. It was the most diverse and well behaved audience I think I’ve ever seen. When I decided it was time to snap a few pictures, I was shocked at how easy it was to get to the front of the crowd. I didn’t take one elbow to the head or get shoved around or anything. That’s not to say the audience wasn’t enjoying the show, they most certainly were, it’s just that everyone was more content to sway and enjoy the music than slamming into each other.

The Pornographers played for a good hour and a half and then came back with an encore with a disclaimer that this would be a subtlety-free encore. In other words: 100% rock.

I left the show totally satisfied. There’s a good chance that the New Pornographers will end up being the highlight of the Pop Explosion for me. It’ll be hard to beat.

Part 2 COMING UP next!


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