Thursday, November 24, 2011


Me and four of my best friends took off from Halifax Friday afternoon in the pouring rain. 

Our Intentions: 
1. Have a photo shoot with the worlds largest blueberry.
2. See off Snail Party and Sockfoot on their cross Canada tour.
3. Clear our heads from increasingly fucked up daily lives. 
4. Total destruction of Moncton, NB.

Things we brought:
1. Fear of Lipstick tape.
2. All of the beer.
3. Four cameras.
4. Heavy heads.

Things I should have brought:
1. A sleeping bag
2. My Brian Rose Cd's to get autographed.
3. More self awareness
4. More self control (What?)

Friday 11/11/11 at 70 Maple.
Remise, The Fucking Gummi Bears, and Money in the Banana Stand.

I had prepared all week for this show. Stretching, Singing along to my stereo, Acquiring a fair amount of steam that needed to be blown off. 

Remise are a screamo band. I love screamo. I was really into their first few songs thanks to an incredibly engaging frontman whom I may or may not have formed a crush on. He pulled out all the famous moves thanks to youtube videos of screamo bands from the 90's. Arm behind the back, Screaming into the crowd with out the mic. Classic. But as their set progressed I got a little bored with their simplicity. They had a lot of songs that couldn't decide if they were hardcore or not and it wasn't really working for me. That being said, it was loud fast and short, and I'm excited to see them again. Someone book this band a show in Halifax. 

The Fucking Gummi Bears are a ska band. I don't love ska. But I do love these kids. I'm always apprehensive before they play because I'm a snob, but a few songs in I'm always dancing and singing along. Zach, the lead singer is Bruce Springsteen-cool, but it's the songs where the other members share the mic that really shine. I only know two things about ska, 1. Soundsystem is gonna bring me back up yeah, and 2. You can't be sad while watching The Fucking Gummi Bears play to a packed living room. 

Money in the Banana Stand have absolutely no concept of what "cool" is. They are three nerds from PEI fucked up on math and PMA. Someday I hope I can not give a shit what people think as blatantly as these guys do. Enough gushing, What do they sound like? I don't know. More Weakerthans than Propaghandi, But more Chris Hanna than John. K. (I'm well aware that that may have made little to no sense). One song in they took their shirts off, and kicked through old and new songs about privilege, and poetry in a straight forward way that makes me mad I didn't think of it first. Can you tell I like this band?

Early start, early finish. Enough time left over to find out how proud I am of my friends, Go for a walk with someone I look up to, and get a good sleep.

Saturday 11/12/11 at Alma.
Sockfoot, Todi Stronghands, The Rise, Snail Party.

Snail Party and Sockfoot showed up early in a school bus and took over The Alma St. House. People practised and set up and cooked the amount of food necessary to feed 10+ travelling punks. The house was transformed with a whole wall of distro tables, Black metal face paint and a giant Snail Party banner. In an attempt to make Todi laugh and poke Mogli in the ego I made a giant cardboard  "Todi Stronghands: Ballin' Outta Control" banner and hung it below the "Snail Part: BFCSD" one just before the show started. 

Sockfoot plays really pretty minimal folk music. If you didn't listen closely you'd think they were singing songs about rainbows and flowers and not police brutality, heteronormativety, and sexism. This shit's heavy and spooky. Luckily Sockfoot break the ice about dealing with serious topics by having a really laid back, silly stage presence. Their new album looks great and should probably be in your collection if your a fan of folk music.
Todi Stronghands must have felt an obligation to live up to the claims of his new banner because he was indeed Ballin' Outta Control. It was a fun set with a lot of laughs and crowd interaction. Most songs ended abruptly with Todi constantly flailing his capo and set list. Due to the large amount of Halifax kids in the crowd the sing-a-longs were full and loud, but it might have been a little too chaotic to win over many new fans, which is a bummer because the songs he picked were some of my favourites. "Hangover, Akansas" and "The Best Medicine" are songs that give me goosebumps, but both were cut short. I feel like I might be disappointed if I didn't make Todi play me songs 3 or 4 times a week. 

The Rise are a band I've heard a lot about over the past year or so. It's members of The Fucking Gummi Bears (and a few other Moncton punks) taking their swing at folk punk. Like The Gummi Bears, Zach takes the lead role writing and singing most the songs. They have the same pop hooks as the aforementioned band. Despite The Rise containing one of the punkest people on this side of Montreal (JOSUE), They are definitely more folk than punk. More Old Crow than Plan-it-X. Their style of music is pretty perfectly tailored to Saturday evening livingrooms. 

Snail Party are an flailing orchestra that lives in a bus and doesn't give a fuck. I've been known to be pretty critical of folk punk at times, but when seven kids in black metal face paint start screaming self reflective songs and jumping around under a banner that proclaims they are best friend crusty skid drunks, I get shut up pretty quickly. I don't understand how these kids pull off the things they do, and it never fails to inspire me. 

After Snail Party wrapped up their set, my recollection of details gets pretty hazy. I do know that my friends stepped up their game in making me proud, and I probably stepped mine down a bit from what I hear. I did manage to get a private concert from Steve Brown of Money in the Banana Stand fame in the middle of the night and wake up my generous host. Sorry Cory. 

Sunday we all had the fear pretty good, and rode back home in silence, Letting Gordon Lightfoot's "Gord's Gold" fill the void. 

- Rob Banks
(Photos by Rosie Toes)

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