Solids Gus' Pub, Halifax NS, October 22

Solids Gus' Pub, Halifax NS, October 22
Photo: Ali Seglins
Montreal's Solids began their HPX set at Gus' Pub with a single guitar note, humming and reverberating through the speakers like an ominous tease. In front of bright white lights and a flag featuring some sort of pretzel-shaped bird, that tease turned to a snarl as the duo exploded into "Over the Sirens," the opening track from their full-length debut, Blame Confusion.

We live in a world that seems to have no shortage of adrenaline-fueled two-piece guitar-and-drum combos. Solids don't necessary offer anything new, in that regard, but they're an enjoyable addition to the fray. Their harmonies are a key attraction, giving an added layer of texture to guitarist Xavier Germain-Poitras and drummer Louis Guillemette's driving riffs and propulsive rhythms. They're also catchier than many of their peers: many of their songs play like sing-alongs in search of singers, and have more in common with pop-punk, melodically and structurally (if not sonically) than the metal or blues-rock sensibilities that guide many other two pieces.

The crowd, still too early in their week to begin showing HPX fatigue, was all in, moshing, thrashing and even crowd surfing (a feat at Gus', where an average sized person with a decent vertical could hit the ceiling). Volunteers had to hold the speakers in place to prevent them from being knocked over while the band broke apart and rebuilt songs like "Through the Walls" into a haze of feedback and night-ending noise.