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So to anyone who made it down to the Marquee last night, you know what others missed – one of the best shows in Halifax this year.

Local up and comers i see rowboats got things started and as always managed to make you laugh, cry and jump up and down at the same time. Seriously though, look out for these guys, they’re going do some damage on this country. The boat spotters were accompanied by a “choir” of their friends for many songs and even though you couldn’t hear them that well, it was a nice flourish for an already nearly perfect band.

Laura Peek and the Winning Hearts were in the unfortunate position of being squeezed in between the rowboats and headliners Besnard Lakes. The group performed well and Peek’s piano based pop songs (we’re talking like 1970s pop here folks) were well crafted, but they just didn’t stand a chance next to the emotional grandiosity of i see rowboats and the sonic pummeling of Besnard Lakes. I’d also like to give credit to her bass player for growing a kick-ass handle-bar moustache. Along with his shoulder length long hair, if he didn’t play in a band I’d be worried about him.

I have to admit that despite reading about Besnard Lakes and that whole nominated for the Polaris prize thing, I’d never actually heard any of their music and damn what I fool I am for not jumping on the wagon sooner. They sound like Sigur Ros if the Icelandic quartet went on a steady diet of Sabbath and Zeppelin for a year (and, you know, didn’t make up languages to sing in). And apparently both the lead guitarist and lead singer (who bore a striking resemblance to Royston Langdon of Spacehog (the guy that married Liv Tyler for those of you who aren’t fans of mid-90s major label alterna-rock)) were deathly ill, so I can only imagine what they’d be like healthy.

After the show I hopped on down to the Attic to catch most of Brother Ali’s set (I’d like to make an addendum to my previous rant about late shows – in the case of a multi-day music bonanza like Pop Explosion I’ll make an exception). Holy crap was that place ever popping off! And holy crap was everyone in the crowd ever fucked up! I’ve never seen so many people just blatantly sucking face with each other. Or smelled BO like the crazy dude dancing up a storm behind me. But seriously Brother Ali’s rhymes are tight and he’s one of the best live MCs going. He’ll blow anybody off the stage.

Tonight I head back to the Marquee for the Arts & Crafts showcase. I’ve never heard any of the three bands from the label that are playing, but I’ve got enough confidence in their roster to go in blind. Oh, yeah and Small Sins are headlining downstairs in Hell’s Kitchen. DO NOT MISS THEM!


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