Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 recap - ryley (eekum seekum, snail party)

2011 happened. it was the first year I really spent fully in town. in the past I've been away for usually about four or five months of the year either on tour or just travelling in general. I only left town about three times this past year, first on a two week tour with mistake makers, second time was on a three week tour with snail party, & the third time was on a week long trip to montreal to play a show & visit a crush. that adds up to only about six weeks away from halifax which is a drastic change for me.

cute punx outside the orphanage. (photo: me)
in the past I felt like my friends & I were very cut off from the rest of the punk scene. all of the shows I've put on in the past five years up until recently have been for a specific group of kids, mostly the folk punk, diy, anarchist type of folks. we wrote songs for & about each other & put on shows mostly for ourselves. every band we formed was an amalgamation or dissection of other bands we were also in. everyone lived in houses together, dated each other & had matching tattoos. at the time I thought we were really trying to reach out to strangers. we would poster everywhere, absolutely everywhere over the city & still most of the people showing up to events we already knew. this isn't a bad thing necessarily but it started to get too comfortable & maybe claustrophobic at times.

inevitably when the summer came we'd all move out of our houses & flail off to somewhere else for awhile, coming back in september sometimes a few less, & sometimes a few more than before.
spending the majority year here has in a way forced me to seek out more shows, different bands & most importantly new people.
harbour water fest 2 was the first time I really tried to book bands outside of my circle of friends. we intentionally picked bands out from all of the unique cliques in halifax to put on bills together. it threw some of my friends off at first, seeing a poster & not knowing exactly who was in every one of the bands.
when hwf2 came it was beyond anything I could have ever hoped for. there were close to 300 punks in the city taking part in the fest & maybe about half of them were from out of town. except for saskachewan (go figure), every province was represented. we paid every band from out of town (except mallory knox who was too punk to accept 30$) & managed to break even ourselves. what gave me the most hope was the 50$ we raised for ark outreach. although 50$ isn't much, just having it & putting it somewhere worthwhile felt like a super huge win for the punks.
since then I've made some new friends & tried to consistently put on more diverse shows. I don't want everything to be so separate. I wish the crusties would come out to the folk punk shows. I wish the thrashy metal crowd could mingle with the straight edge hardcore kids. I wish the drunk punks understood what being a queer trans punk meant & how to show respect. I wish we said "hi" to the folks we recognize from dancing in the pit more often.
lately this has actually been happening. more & more I'm seeing people mixing in & out of scenes, interacting with each other & making connections. these connections will hopefully spawn new bands, new zines, better shows, a fuller sense of community & more tolerance for one another.

brain fever & hfx punx
my dream is for a diverse group of punks to run a co-op all ages venue together on the peninsula someday...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm excited for this year. I want to try new things, meet more people, learn new skills & be more comfortable with my place in the scene. I want to reach out to high school kids a little more. I want to take more photos at shows. I want to meet more transgender punks. I want to play drums in a band that sounds like ekkaia mixed with lost world. I want to start a punk rock four square league. I want to put out more zines. I want to tour & record with eekum seekum. I want to be happy more of the time.
I want punk to deliver on everything it promised me when I was thirteen.

everyone you know in one city. (photo: rosie toes)

here's a short list of my favourite or most memorable sets from this past year. these aren't in any order.

1. bless yr heart @ the internet (july 20th) - this was the hardest I smiled & laughed maybe all summer. brad, the person behind the bless yr heart moniker has such a way with words & brilliant comedic timing. he's also an amazing person & I've been so happy to see him once & awhile. his lyric, "there's nothing wrong with beer for breakfast. if you think so you're an asshole" became a sort of mantra for one of my band mates & I while on tour in newfoundland.

brain fever @ hwf2. (photo: rosie toes)
2. brain fever @ gus' pub (may 28th) - after the second night of harbour water some friends & I booked it over to gus' pub just in time to catch brain fever. they played the fest the night before but we promised we'd try to see them again if we could make it in time. maybe it was the fact that I was crushing on someone pretty hard, or maybe it was because I was slightly drunk & feeling super posi, but something about watching this band on this occasion really fit. the lights were dark & eerie. vanessa, the lead singer stood on the floor & the rest of the band was on the stage. all I remember is buying too many beers for friends & screaming as hard as I could when they played my favourite song for me.

3. dead peasants revolt @ the internet (september 2nd) - tons of kids, not necessarily punks, just weirdos from around the chebucto townhouses all gathered in a cramped living room dancing like fucking crazy. my friends who were living on a raft in the middle of long lake for a few weeks came back into town for this & really stirred shit up. folks were crowd surfing into the ceiling, spilling moonshine, flailing about & jumping off of couches onto each other's back. probably the craziest/most fun pit of the year. another highlight was moshing with my soulmate, smoke the valley bulldog in the kitchen while the band played upstairs in the living room. one downside was getting punched directly in the mouth randomly by one of my drunk friends.

howls + hush @ hwf2. (photo: rosie toes)
4. howls + hush @ four square (may 27th) - this was the first show of harbour water fest 2. it was hosted in a backyard on agricola & about hundred kids showed up. it was a meet & greet & reunion of sorts. some of my oldest friends were there. people showed up with an enormous amount of food to share. afternoon beers were had. veggie dogs were cooked & hugs were inevitable & numerous.
howls + hush played a cover of paul baribeau's "never get to know" which had an incredibly emotional response. I remember looking around & seeing all my toughest friends with tears in their eyes. I cried too. it wasn't a buzz kill though, it was just beautiful. I never loved my friends more than I did right then. I'll never forget that.

5. negative circles @ the purple house (october 15th) - this night was stacked with incredible bands & among them was negative circles. this was one of their first times playing live & I had no idea what to expect. it was chaotic, self destructive, noisy, uncomfortable, unpredictable & really fucking unforgettable. I still don't know exactly how I feel about this set but as more time passes, my memories of it grow brighter.

up the punx. stay real!

- ryley

1 comment:

  1. It's really cool to know that there is so much going on in cities like Halifax that seem so small and far away from here. Keep it up with the good work, all these posts and great music you upload here makes me wanna visit sometime soon.

    By the way, is there any way to buy or exchange some material? I'd love to have more than just a file on my computer of the stuff you post here.

    Have a great year, cheers from Mexico City!