Music

Bands rock out on Pop Explosion’s opening night

'The energy at this kind of show is unbeatable'

Lead singer and guitarist Stefan Babcock of PUP, from Toronto, Ontario.
Lead singer and guitarist Stefan Babcock of PUP preforms at the Halifax Pop Explosion. The band is from Toronto.   Jeana Mustain

Ames Esler and other Haligonians yell lyrics to the band PUP’s “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” as they start their set at The Marquee Ballroom on Wednesday night.

“The energy at this kind of show is unbeatable,” says Esler, a third-year Dalhousie University student. “People go crazy and that’s just a lot of fun to be a part of.”

The Toronto-based band played the crowd into a back-and-forth mosh pit and crowd surf as part of the Halifax Pop Explosion.

They played alongside Vancouver’s White Lung and the Toronto bands Greys and Pkew Pkew Pkew.

Mish Way from White Lung, a Canadian punk rock band formed in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Mish Way from White Lung, a Canadian punk rock band from Vancouver.   Jeana Mustain

The Seahorse Tavern and other local venues like Art Bar + Projects and Gus’ Pub hosted their own events for the first night of the music festival, now in its 21st year.

Dominique Jure, a server at Good Robot Brewing Company, says she buys the festival wristband to see bands she knows and to discover ones she doesn’t.

“Pop Explosion is a good medium for that,” she says. “They bring music from different genres in different venues; they’re big on getting you to explore.”

Music genres can vary anywhere from hip-hop to metal, depending on the venue.

Jure also finds a sense of community in the festival, as all bands appearing at the same venue “exhibit the same kind of tone.”

“We’re all invested in the music, (are) all here to listen to the same kind of vibe and be here together,” she says.

Along with PUP’s performance at The Marquee, Esler is looking forward to seeing other Pop Explosion acts including headliner Hey Rosetta!, an indie-rock band from St. John’s. Hey Rosetta! will be at the Halifax Forum’s Multi-Purpose Centre on Friday.

“That band feels like love onstage,” he says.

Hey Rosetta! will be joined by other headlining bands, including The Barr Brothers on the same night and Keys N Krates, Basia Bulat on Saturday.

As for Jure, she came to the festival’s opening night just to see PUP.

“They mean a lot to me,” she says. “I was ecstatic when I found out they were going to play Pop Explosion and they definitely delivered.”

Halifax Pop Explosion 2016 will be hosted at different venues around Halifax until Oct. 22.

To view the full artist and venue schedule click here.