Matthew Good / Auf Der Maur / Limblifter The Marquee, Halifax NS — October 31

Whatever sympathetic feelings one may have for an opening act that only gets a 20-minute set are quickly erased when the lead singer spends the time in-between songs complaining about the lack of time. Perhaps in the spirit of the band's mummy and ghost Halloween costumes, the crowd seemed to lose the will to live while Limblifter played, only showing a spark during closer "Tin Foil." Auf der Maur was the real curiosity on the bill. Eponymous Montreal bassist Melissa of '90s rock gentry survived a stint in Hole and joined Smashing Pumpkins just in time for their goth makeover and fan alienation phase. Finally touring on a solo release, a collection of operatic metal tracks with a strong Sabbath bent, expectations were, well, medium. Turns out Melissa has a high wattage stage presence and it's great to see someone ascending to the throne of "great Canadian rock queen" (Alanis notwithstanding). But the overall package seemed to be missing the requisite epic songwriting. One of the tracks, "Skin Receiver," recalled National Velvet's "Sex Gorilla." Perhaps not the association she intended. Last on stage was Canada's curmudgeon of rock Matthew Good. A victim of the parenthetical power of radio hits, it wasn't long before someone in the audience asked for some of the "old stuff." Though he delivered, he never really showed more than the two tricks of his that everyone knows: the "rat a tat" rock with the cynical, wordy lyrics ("The Future Is X-Rated") and the occasional lonely, yearning ballad ("Apparitions"). Still, he and his boys played with gusto and managed a brief lesson on former oil executive and Afghan president Hamid Karzai with a "Subterranean Homesick Blues"-style card show. No Nickelback or OLP rants, sadly.