Heaven for Real Art Bar, Halifax NS, October 21

Heaven for Real Art Bar, Halifax NS, October 21
Photo: Lindsay Duncan
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The perils of makeshift spaces: Heaven for Real's set at Halifax's Art Bar (a local artists' space), which closed out an early-evening Mint Records showcase, began with guitarist and vocalist Mark Grundy's amp faltering; later, a microphone shorted out for a brief window of time.
 
Did it derail the set, though? Hardly. During the first delay, bassist Scott Grundy, percussionist Cheryl Hann and drummer Nathan Doucet held court, riding a punchy riff over and over until things were solved. It set a tone for the set, particularly in Doucet's case: the drummer (also known for his work in bands like Crosss and drum duo Eddy) is an even more forceful presence in the band's sound live than on record, often propelling the jittery starts, stops and turns that make Heaven for Real's jangle-pop tunes just slightly off-kilter.
 
At one point in the set, the brotherly duo at the band's core were debating how many Pop Explosions they'd played; they couldn't decide between 10 and 11. From Quaker Parents to Gamma Gamma Rays, the brothers Grundy have a long musical legacy in Halifax, but Heaven for Real ranks among their best collaborations: riffs that accelerate and slam on the breaks with might, vocals and harmonies that hit like a lingering summer and songs like "Smooth Ops" and the title track from this year's Kill Your Memory that would be gems even without their wonderfully unexpected twists. All were on display Friday evening (October 21), making for a fun, engaging performance.