Kestrels Gus's Pub, Halifax NS, October 21

Kestrels Gus's Pub, Halifax NS, October 21
Photo: Lindsay Duncan
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"You guys want to go around the room and introduce everybody?" asked Kestrels vocalist Chad Peck of the crowd, noting the number of familiar faces in the Gus's Pub audience.
 
It's not too often that all of the Halifax-centred trio can all make it back to the city to play, and for their second local show in as many months, Peck was clearly in a chatty mood: "I teach English," he quipped; "I can talk all day long." Peck even tried to get his bassist brother Devin into the conversation, who responded dryly and simply that, "I let my riffs do the talking."
 
Once things got started, though, Kestrels mostly let their distortion lead the conversation. With shoegazey heft, Chad's reverberating guitar riffs filled the small room, their woozy tones shifting depending on where you stood (and how tightly you had your earplugs in). Live, Peck's whispery vocals can't help but drown a bit in his Kevin Shields soundscapes, but said mix has a textural appeal of its own.
 
Kestrels' new self-titled album made up the bulk of the set, with songs like "Wide Eyes," "Suspect" and "No Alternative" bursting forth with the aid of Paul Brown's hard drumming. But some of the most upbeat moments came with a few older songs, including set-closers "The Light" and "The Past Rests" from 2012's A Ghost History. The selections added an extra spark of life to the end of another long HPX night.