Festival Guide: Obey Convention VIII

Where: Halifax, N.S.
When: May 21-24

What it is: The word curated gets thrown around with every music festival. Each performer at a festival is selected for a reason, influenced by a range of internal and external factors. With Obey, each show is curated for artistic reasons alone. Each show is a recipe, combining different bands that you wouldn’t normally get to see together. The whole festival brings all these recipes and sounds,  ranging from a world class piano (Lubomyr Melnyk) to techno-noise (Container), together under one banner. Obey Convention is a magnet for underground and alternative music, bringing together artists and fans of the experimental and genres that don’t play in the forefront of most festivals. The majority of the shows are all ages, a festival rarity. They also have weird and wonderful posters and videos as seen below.

Eats: The majority of the festival takes place in the the North End, a spot loaded with great places to grab a drink or bite to eat. We recommend Lion&Bright for something tasty and local (full disclosure, Mixtape’s editor works there part-time). For a coffee and snack, stop by Alter Egos on Gottingen close to venues Menz and Mollyz Bar and the Bus Stop Theatre. If you’re looking for a good burger, Ace at Gus’ Pub is where it’s at.

Headliners: Peter Brötzmann, Container, Last Lizard, Homeshake, Tasseomancy. For the full lineup visit Obey.

Mix picks: We’ll profile one of our must-see artists, Vulva Culture, in more detail later this week. We asked Amy V and Bianca Palmer from the band who they were most looking forward to see this year.

“[Creative Director and Founder] Darcy Spidle puts people together that make sense together. It’s just so thoughtful and he’s provided people with something different. It’s what I look forward to the most every year in Halifax, it’s my festival,” says Amy, songwriter and guitarist from Vulva Culture.

Amy is looking forward to seeing Lubomyr Melnyk. “I’m a huge classical music dork, I’m ecstatic to get to see that. It’s going to be the coolest show.” Melnyk is one of the world’s fastest piano players, setting the record for the fastest pianist in the world by hitting 19.5 notes per second in each hand. He also holds the record for the most number of notes in one hour, averaging over 13 notes per second over an hour for a total of 93,650 individual notes.

Homeshake is another favourite. “I always have a soft spot for them. They’re so great.”

One of Amy’s favourites, Last Lizard returns to the festival. The last time he performed at Obey, it was under his old moniker Dirty Beaches. “It’s really inspiring to see somebody work on his own and do something really well. It makes me try harder to be more complicated and try new things. He’s amazing to see.”

As for Palmer, Vulva Culture’s drummer, she prefers to take the naive approach and show up to concerts without expectations while discovering new bands in the process. While we didn’t ask her mom for a Mix pick, Palmer says “my mom loves Moon so much.”.

Mix tip:

The folks at Weird Canada love Obey and make the pilgrimage each year. They often host a talk or some sort of weird gathering where they share their wealth of knowledge of the the Canadian DIY scene and stir up interesting discussions. Check out the free event “Weird Canada’snQuick Guide to DIY Music In Canada” at the Halifax North Memorial Library from 3:30-4:30 on Saturday.

Photo: Tasseomancy/Press Photo