immediately while sitting in my tiny safe zone with my group of friends I noticed & reflected on the different demographics that each show I go to brings out. there is a lot of variety in the halifax punk scene but it's pretty rare to see all the little individual scenes together.
it seemed obvious to me that just about every person there had shown up to support the bands their friends & partners played in specifically, which makes sense it's just strange to so easily see the division among a large group of punks & witness the different attitudes playing off each other.
ROOT ROT, a three piece band formerly & maybe jokingly named "black cohosh & the herbal gerbils" took a few minutes to set up & shyly started off the show being the first band of six in the line up of the night. their music is a bit sparse, but dense at the same time with a strange post-punk feel & shouted heavy reverb affected vocals. the drums are mostly mid-tempo simplistic beats that often have a deep, low & repetitive tribal feel to them.
the only band I can really think to compare them to would be dekoder from montreal, & maybe even joy division at times. their anarcho-industrial influenced punk sound is incredibly unique in the city & even though they maybe seemed nervous at times (they haven't played many shows yet), they finished their short set & had won over the entire kitchen, now crowded & full of people. hopefully they can record a demo of sorts eventually. I think their music would sound really amazing & at home on a lo-fi cassette.
in between sets the kitchen flooded out the back door with people. already empties were finding their way onto every bit of counter space there was. the room was set up the same way it had been for past shows, allowing the most space possible.
it caught me by surprise to find out that VIXENS were on the show, simply because they weren't on the poster (which by the way was a beautiful screen print on giant pieces of brown paper). unfortunately the last show they tried to play at the purple house got shut down way back in august. it made me happy to find out they were being throw on this show last minute as they are fucking amazing live & are probably my favourite local band. although I've been listening to their headache inducing demo online consistently since it'd been put out, it was much better to see them again in a live setting, especially in a stuffy, rowdy kitchen teeming with dirty kids dancing & thrashing around in each others faces.
I had a big smile on my face most of their set which didn't seem to last very long but still got everyone riled up a bit right away, which was a good thing considering it usually takes at least three bands for people to really loosen up & start reacting to the music.
in between sets I somewhat nervously paced around the house, going back & forth between the backyard & the kitchen, not really knowing where my place was in everything.I tend to try to meet people at shows.
when I was fourteen every time I left a punk show I had a list of new email addresses to add to my MSN account when I got home. now I tend to keep to myself which isn't very fun at all. the atmosphere at hardcore/heavier shows can be somewhat more intimidating which negates any interactions with new random people who I think look interesting.
this is something that really bothers me on occasion. the cliquishness of different circles essentially means that no matter how many times we see the same person at the same shows as us, or dance with them in the pit, chances are we're going to ignore each other if we pass by on the street, continuously failing to acknowledge one another.
I eventually did manage to make a couple friends somewhat randomly & continued drinking, killing off the growler of pumpkin ale that sonny & I bought to share.
at the beginning of their set all of the lights in the room were either intentionally or unintentionally turned off which created a really creepy mood.
a lot of people went off for these folks. the whole room moved back & forth at times. strangers with their sweaty, warm skin rubbed up against my bare arms while my feet got repeatedly & accidentally stomped on the entire set.
I'd be really curious to hear what they sound like recorded as at the show it was super fuzzy & overwhelmingly loud & hard to distinguish between instruments.
with NEGATIVE CIRCLES, halifax's newest hardcore band came a distinct change in the mood & energy of the night.immediately members of the crowd were ducking & dodging away from the bass player who was swinging the neck of his instrument carelessly close to everyone around him.
this was one of their first shows & the first time a lot of people had seen them live. from that opening I wasn't sure what to expect but was still excited.
their set started quickly with the lead singer in a dress deep throating the microphone mid song. other members of the band flailed in every direction & were constantly falling to the ground or being pushed backwards into the amps or over the monitor on the floor. it seemed really violent & self destructive at times.
I later heard that at some point during their set a beer bottle was tossed into the pit which is an extremely fucked up & dangerous thing to do.
patch cords were bent & broken at the input & after a few songs the bass player simply stopped playing & took to the mic instead.
it was really chaotic in the crowd & people were falling, almost intentionally every second. midway through their last song the mic actually got ripped off it's own cord which left the bass player singing into nothing but a black cable wrapped in his hand.
ironically what I love most about hardcore punk is at the same time what I hate about it.it's so important to vent & that's a huge reason we all go to punk shows & dance together. it's mutual therapy & even when things get intense I like to think that we're all in it together & no one really wants to hurt anyone. no one actually wants to destroy equipment or cause physical harm to others. I love when bands are unpredictable but there was a point that I feel got crossed during negative circle's set that made things just seem pointlessly destructive & dangerous.
regardless it was a set I will never forget. I don't know how it could be followed up.
MAKE NO GAINS, the fifth band of the night played their typical high energy, extremely tight set of fast punk songs to a crowd that had sadly dwindled noticeably in between bands. unfortunately the majority of people stayed outside drinking & taking extra long smoke breaks during their set which kind of bummed me out.
it really showed the divide between different groups of punks that I had noticed earlier in the night. people are often less likely to watch a band if they don't personally know anyone in it.
despite some technical issues with the bass & a reserved audience, they ran through a set comprised of mostly new material, noticeably heavier in sound. expect to hear about their new album release sometime next month.
to be honest at this point I was expecting the show to get shutdown at any second, mostly because the previous one had at 9:30. thankfully the cops stayed away (always talk to your neighbours!) & the night had a proper ending.
once again the room filled up to capacity & people jumped & danced, picking each other up along the way.
I felt slightly burnt out & disillusioned at this point but forced myself to get close & revel in the last few songs of the night.
eventually it all came to an end & folks started filing out, packing up gear & cleaning up a little.
sonny bones & I went around the house cleaning up all the cans & bottles & downing the remaining half full camouflage cans of alpine lager scattered around the place.
I felt sick, debated trying to attempt to talk to my crush once more, gave up & walked home with a few bags of empties.
all in all this was an incredible night & one of the better shows that I've been to in a long time. it just sucks when people's shit gets destroyed & people feel unsafe.
regardless of it's faults, halifax has a huge punk scene for a city as isolated as we are. I just wish that we could interact with each other & make things happen more often & with a better sense of community.
huge thanks to the purple house for hosting the show for this fucked up mess of lovable punks.
please show your appreciation to your hosts! house shows are so important.
rosie toes took all these amazing photos! she stood on the kitchen counter all fucking night to capture them.
if you took some photos too send them to us. let us know what you thought of this night...
also email us if you know about any other upcoming house/all ages shows.