I am not what one would call an avid concert goer, and in fact have been to very few. And when I go to said concerts, I am very much the antithesis to the Elder. Ryan is enthusiastic beyond any fathomable concept of enthusiasm: music appears to be a form of drug for him. Calum (Who is more on my end of the spectrum in terms of concertgoing behaviour) decided that Ryan and I represent a ying and a yang. I represent the sober observer and photographer, while the Elder represents unbridled rock insanity overflowing and taking over his entire body…but in an appreciatory fashion. I’d say that we, as a group, represented a well-balanced set of concert goers. And it is as such that we attended the concert event of the season:

The White Stripes. In Halifax.

However, some of the people attending last evening’s were not so balanced: in fact, they were frakkin’ douchebags. But ruin the show they did not. Because, well, the White Stripes rocked out. And I’ve got all the details.

[Below you’ll find the full details, along with pictures and anecdotes. For all of my pictures, you can check out my Facebook Album. If you don’t have Facebook, or just want to see the prettier ones, check our my Flickr page]

The Prologue

Smartly, I drove into Mumford and took a bus downtown (Ironically, I parked directly below a “This is not a Park and Ride lot, customer parking only” sign). After dropping by the Elder’s apartment, we headed over to Maxwell’s for some pre-show festivities (Pictured is Dave and Ryan chillin’).

Lauren, having met up with us at Maxwell’s, left with Ryan and I to go pick up Calum. After harassing a poor girl in a window, we finally managed to spot Calum and headed on our merry way. The above picture is the three of them crossing the street in front of the Cunard Centre, Band on the Run style, shortly after Calum almost got hit by that truck.

Once inside the venue, Ryan is excited for the lot of us (Pictured). Meanwhile, we sit around pondering the situation at hand, and talking about blogs. In the span of this conversation, Lauren and I pushed Friday Night Lights on Calum (Who should be an easy convert) and Ryan (Who was excited about the cheapness of the DVDs). Seriously, people, watch Friday Night Lights. Then, as the opener was about to begin, Lauren separated off while the Elder, Calum and I headed into the crowd.

The Opening Act – Dan Sartain

While I am no expert, it sounded to me like Dan Sartain was writing your basic pop hooks within a bluesy guitar sound. I kept being reminded of Franz Ferdinand for some reason, which really isn’t a good comparison to make. His MySpace, linked above, lists Trip Hop, Ghettotech and Psychobilly as his genres…I don’t even know what to make of that. But, either way, the short set was solidly entertaining.

We also grabbed our spot in the crowd at this point. The location seemed far back at first, but as the venue filled it was actually pretty solid. We felt especially good once I turned the camera backwards just as the headliners were about to take the stage. Much better, in fact. Just after this photo was taken Ryan made his way back to us (From all the way back there, without getting killed by the crowd) and the lights went down.

The Main Attraction – The White Stripes

I’ll let the Elder get into things like song list and reviews, but in short form: the White Strips rock. The guitar is loud, the drums are drummed, and the show is beyond energetic. They played a wide range of material, but yet it felt like the intensity never really died.

I, not being a hardcore fan, didn’t know all of the songs and wasn’t a lyrical master compared to some of the fans in attendance. And, as the resident photographer, most of my focus was upon holding my hand in the air to get the best shot possible. I was using Ryan’s camera, which has a decent zoom and (thank goodness) Optical Image Stabilization. It made for some good shots, although it gave me some trouble with focusing and zooming from a mechanical perspective.

It was really kind of bizarre to have the White Stripes in Halifax; as the secret show mania earlier in the day showed, we’re not quite used to bands like this gracing our shores. However, they certainly made themselves at home, and embraced this crowd in a way unique to this particular venue. What other bands would tour all of Canada, yet alone bring along a bagpiper and a flag for the show’s finale?

The White Stripes would. And they did. The show ended with a kickass encore, with all sorts of hits (Seven Nation Army, Fell in Love with a Girl) and some great sing-a-longs (We’re Gonna Be Friends, Bo Weevil). And then, at the very end, we get a sight I bet we thought we’d never see: Jack and Meg White standing above a crowd with a Nova Scotia flag in hand. And that, well, was worth the ticket price and the sweat in itself. The rock? Pretty rockin’ itself.

Epilogue

Part of the reason I’m not ranting about the punk kid who tried to crowdsurf or the girl that kept flipping her hair at myself and those around me is that my night ended on a much more pleasant note. On the bus ride back to Mumford, there were a variety of girls who had been out partying. Two groups started chatting, and it was apparently two people’s birthdays (One the 13th, one the 14th). There was your usual drunken attempt at Happy Birthday, but then two girls asked if they wanted to hear Happy Birthday…in Swiss German.

Turns out they were visiting from Switzerland, and sure enough they serenaded the bus with a lovely rendition of the Swiss German language Happy Birthday. It was a cute moment, and restored some of my faith in humanity. It was an interesting footnote to the evening, to be honest: much like I would have never expected to be seeing the White Stripes in Halifax, I didn’t think I’d ever run across a Swiss German Happy Birthday on Route 1 after midnight.

And it is unlikely that either will ever happen again.

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