The Darcys Reflections Cabaret, Halifax NS, October 22

The Darcys Reflections Cabaret, Halifax NS, October 22
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"Good to be on my own two feet tonight," said the Darcys' Jason Couse, taking stock of his surroundings. Clearly Couse, like most Halifax university students, had ended up dancing at Reflections a late night or two during his time in the city. The band's Halifax Pop Explosion show at the local dance club was a homecoming of sorts: Couse, drummer Wes Marskell and bassist Dave Hurlow started the Darcys while they were students together at the University of King's College. (The band played a warm-up gig at campus pub The Wardroom the previous night.)

Based on their accomplished HPX set, they'd probably have been greeted as returning heroes even without that history. The Darcys wisely focused on material from their excellent new record Warring, released last month. With Couse and Michael le Riche weaving falsetto vocals over a wash of synth and bass, the songs refused to stay in one place, keeping the early-festival crowd on their toes from the first note. Standouts included a nervy, slow-building "The River" and a full-throttle take on "747s." One wonders how many of the younger festivalgoers picked out the cover of Steely Dan's "Peg," but they greeted it with the same enthusiasm as the rest of the band's top-shelf performance. Given the buzz in the crowd after the band left the stage, it's fair to say the Darcys delivered the first knockout set of the festival.