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Year in review: power of 10 

Scene and Heard's Alison Lang recalls the heroes and dirtbags that made 2010 so special.

Rather than write a comprehensive breakdown of what happened in Halifax music, I decided to talk about the things that are still resonating with me after a year of frenzied and often incoherent music bloggery. See you jerks in 2011.

Amelia Curran: I really love that Amelia Curran is now a Juno-winner and a Polaris long-lister and a SOCAN Artist of the Year and has performed for the Queen of friggin' England, and yet you can still see her every so often at The Company House, nursing a beer, chilling out, no big deal.

Kid Rock almost on the Common: Sure, there was one OK show this summer with boring Weezer and Fergie and whatever. But along with the collapse of Power Promotions, the crushing unpaid debts, the competition with Moncton, the loss on the Paul McCartney concert, the torn-up grass and grounds and all the other depressing Common-related shit that happened this year, I'd like to also remind you that someone thought booking Kid Rock here was a good idea. I am still haunted by this, and I'm not sure if it's because I hate that undershirt-wearing dirtbag implicitly or if I simply hate---and fear---what he represents for this city. It's one thing for bands like the Goo Goo Dolls to play the Cohn or for Scott Stapp to do his thing at Casino. Contained mediocrity I can handle. But to select the Joe Dirt of modern music as the marquee headliner for a huge public event is offensive and flat-out insulting.

BJ Snowden: Every time I get too cynical, I think about BJ Snowden, the antidote to any and all bad feelings. Many of us got a taste of this living legend when she stopped by for not one, but two shows in Halifax and another at Sappyfest. The music, however unpolished, is a complete window into her heart and head.

Cover bands: Nirvana, Bikini Kill, Fleetwood Mac, The Dead Boys, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Judas Priest: This was the year for trying out the songs (and assuming the guises) of your musical heroes. My favourites included Screaming for Vengeance---a band of scraggy metalheads who play the Priest catalogue with complete conviction---and the Iggy and the Stooges/Blondie/Modern Lovers show at the Seahorse in September, which featured an uncanny Jonathan Richman sound-alike and a jam-smeared Myles Deck.

Bandcamps: I hate Myspace because it's full of ad garbage and crashes my computer, so the emergence of Bandcamp---simple, clean pages where you can easily stream a band's album and download it for free, a set price or pay-as-you-can---is really useful. I listened and purchased tons more local music this year because of this.

Halifax Pop Explosion wristbands: After Waye Mason passed HPX executive director duties to Johnny Stevens, another change came down the pipeline: $50 wristbands that got you into almost everything, save bigger shows like The New Pornographers. It was very gratifying to able to show-hop and run around like an idiot with my little brother and friends. Also it ensured that everyone was the same level of hung-over by Sunday. Favourite HPX by a long mile.

Break-ups and goodbyes: Here I pour one out to the many fine bands we lost this year. Goodbye Cuban Assassins. Goodnight The Establishment. Dear Superfantastics, you were pretty cute. Goodnight PIG and Gamma Gamma Rays. Dear The Rock Garden, I never practiced in you (although I did eat pizza in you a couple of times), but your new incarnation, Rockopolis Rehearsal Studios, will no doubt continue your noble tradition. Godspeed to you all and thanks for the musical memories. –Alison Lang

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