So here’s what you do… you take basically every musical act Nova Scotia has ever known, you bring them together on stage in a cool old church, and you get magnetic and mesmerizing Haligonian Rich Aucoin to lead them in an orchestral interactive sing-along of epic proportions.
Yeah. That’s what you do if you want to put on one of the best shows Halifax Pop Explosion has ever seen. And that’s what Rich Aucoin did on Wednesday night at St. Matthew’s Church.
The crowd got warmed up by several songs from friends of Rich Aucoin – from songs that have (and I quote) “only been performed once for my roommate and her cat” to an amazing rendition of Eye of the Tiger from Jenn Grant (accompanied on the piano by her new husband Daniel Ledwell) the opening songs got the fans ready to go, knowing that each of these performers would also be partaking in Rich’s rockin’ set.
Rich started by teaching the crowd the choruses to the songs in a repeat-after-me fashion, charming the pants off every person in the room – male or female – when he remarked “You guys are amazing. Were you all in choir in school? I just want to listen to you guys all night.” Truth be told, I bet a lot of us probably were in choir at some point – but everyone was anxious and excited to hear Rich’s latest release played start to finish.
When he launched in to his music, supported by a group of no less than 80 musicians, fans were instantly on their feet – dancing, clapping, booty-shaking, and singing along to the words many of us had just learned. With songs like A.L.i.V.E. and Push, Rich’s long-awaited album was definitely one to move to.
Scanning the crowd on stage was like looking at an all-star selection of Nova Scotia’s finest musicians. Along with the previously mentioned and reliably wonderful Jenn Grant, I was also able to identify members of the Mellotones, In-Flight-Safety, and Soho Ghetto. There was a strings section, multiple drum sets, horns, keyboards, a full blown choir, and a sitar player (because no show is complete without a sitar player), all playing together in perfect hipster harmony to Rich’s infectious beats. After an hour of non-stop energy, the set came to a close and every single audience member walked away sweaty and smiling from one of the best musical experiences Halifax has served up in ages. Ships start here, and apparently so does kick-ass musical talent.