HWF makes me happy. That’s the most concise way of expressing how this fest makes me feel. As someone a bit socially awkward, even after a couple of decades of going to shows and being part of the punk/DIY community, I find the “family reunion” vibe of the fest comforting. The fact that the lineup featured some amazing bands from Halifax and beyond made things that much better. Full disclosure: I performed twice during this show and missed the last band due to my newfound status of being a resident of rural Nova Scotia and had to make the 45 minute drive home a bit early as my dog had been stuck in the house since early afternoon so this is not necessarily the most unbiased and complete of reviews.
I had been looking forward to seeing GROKE from Rhode Island after missing their show at Sad Rad late last year, but alas one of their members had a health emergency and they had to drop off the bill at the last minute. Luckily NUISANCE stepped up to fill in for them. Imagine the most piercing feedback imaginable (in the best way), and that’s their unique guitar sound. Channel that piercing feedback into a series of venomous blasts of angry hardcore punk with no songs longer than a minute in length, and that’s this excellent 4-piece.
Up next, PRIMARY STRESS blasted through a set of their blackened crust goodness and made me kick myself for not catching them live sooner. Even though their lineup features members of Vixens, Life Chain, Filthy Liars, Eekum Seekum, and (the dearly departed) Hex Partners, their sound stands alone from all of those other projects. So heavy and epic (even though that term makes me cringe sometimes), so good.
Hailing from PEI, UNCLE are not only one of my favorite bands in Atlantic Canada, but also two of my favorite people. Story and Matt’s bass and drum powerviolence assault blows most other guitar-havin bands out of the water, plus they are the greatest folks. I can’t say enough good about this band, and not just because they gave me much-needed sunscreen at the backyard kickoff folkpunk show earlier that afternoon.
Here’s where the earlier full-disclosure notice comes in. DAN HAYWARD (that being me) was up next in my capacity as a “punk rock standup comic” (whatever that means). I’d like to think my set went pretty well, but again am rather biased.
4-LOM followed my comedy set, and being their bass player I can’t pretend to be impartial either. It was fun to play our new songs live after debuting them on CKDU the week before, and everyone seemed to like our sweaty, sloppy set.
LES FEMME MAGGOTS from Montreal were the penultimate band of the night, and unfortunately I had to leave after their first few songs due to previously stated reasons. This band combines unconventional instrumentation (flutes, accordions, etc) and dual vocalists with rockin queer post-punk and I really wish I could have stuck around. They were all rad people as well, which is a plus.
ABJECT PAX closed the night out and from everything I heard from others in attendance played an awesome set. Catch them live, pick up their demo (if you haven’t already) as they are one of the best bands going in Halifax right now.
Review: Dan Hayward
Photos: Rosie Toes