HPX Day#2: Wednesday Oct 19th 2011 - STAN

RICH AUCOIN @ St. Matthew's United Church
HPX 2011
Written / Photos by Stan Béland
Rich Aucoin

Thanks to HPX for continuing to make St. Matthews Church a venue for their festival; the bands are always great, the performances are always interesting, and God damn, do churches ever have great acoustics.

Tonight I caught the cd release “party” For Rich Aucoin. As a musician and performance artist, Rich is best known for his sweaty, parachute-y, sing along-y shows in places like the Seahorse and Gus’ Pub. The fact that he, quite easily (ish), made the transition from a bar show to a fairly grand orchestral set-up shows that Rich is more then just a one note kind of act.

Rich AucoinRich Aucoin
With roughly 90 musicians, friends and back-up singers on stage, Aucoin took his lush electro-pop to a whole new level. Playing every song of his new disc, Rich & Co played a jam-packed, drum driven set that literally had people dancing in the aisles.
Despite not having the, shall we say, intimacy of Rich’s normal shows, this performance was by far one of the most interesting and intriguing that I’ve seen in Halifax. A constant rotation of musicians, Aucoin’s sing-along, heartfelt choruses, a Phil Spector-esque wall of sound, and the setting of a well used church; it may not have been as loud as some of his other shows, but damn was it ever good.
Rich Aucoin
Rich Aucoin
As per usual, Rich’s voice cut through the music, his enthusiasm completely infectious. The unexpected turn that the performance took last night, insomuch as it was more than him, a keyboard and a projector, was so very, very cool and proved to be a showcase of not only extravagance and excess, but genius and composition as well.
Early in the night, Rich asked the crowd to hold off on applause until he gave the signal that he had paused recording the show; this proved to be an impossible task. The performance was so big, the musicianship so solid and the energy so intense that the crowd couldn’t help but react to what was happening onstage.
Rich Aucoin
Rich AucoinRich Aucoin
Despite our inability to listen to direction, I could tell that Rich was loving just how well the “orchestra” was pulling off the performance; the crowd loved it and at the end of it all, Rich had a standing ovation to close out the night.


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