In 2005, I went to my first Halifax Pop Explosion. I had just turned 17 and was restricted to the All Ages shows. Luckily for me there was a show, at the Pavillion (which some of you may know) headlined by Ted Leo + the Pharmacists, featuring bands like Halifax's Sharp Like Knives (billed as "five wicked dance parties each with the strength of ten wicked dance parties"! how could I say no?), Toronto's Femme Generation, and a post-breakup North of America come back to showcase their wares. And, holy mackerel, this was one of the best concerts my young self had been to. And Mark Mullane and North of America were a highlight, I bought their album and have treasured it since. It's a beautiful possession.
Fastforward a few years. North of America shows are few and far between--I'm not even sure when the last one was, and the band is effectively broken up. Mark has been working this new project, The Got to Get Got since about 2006 as a cross-country venture, with chapters in Halifax and Vancouver (though I understand most of them are now based in Halifax). In 2007, they put out effectively a split EP between the two chapters of the band, which is absolutely fantastic. Contact me if you want to hear more than just what I post, but "Blood Test" is on their myspace.
Anyway, now it's 2009, and they've been touring like wild. They played in Sackville and in Saint John in April (but I missed both shows, because I was so disorganised and never in town at the right time! Boo to me) and have a number of shows coming up in Halifax, Saint John, Ontario and Quebec to both hype up and support their new album, Sahalee, being released in mid-July. Check out that myspace link and see if they'll be in your area. It's not a show you ever ever ever want to miss. I've missed them twice. I'm kicking myself for it--so hard. So, enjoy their music, and maybe I'll even do a retro review of North of America's last album, sometime.
The Got To Get Got - Rattle Off
The Got To Get Got - No One Riots in Winter
As a side-note, many of the photographs on the band's myspace [and all of the photos used in this post] are of the band in places I love. All the more reason to call them awesome.
Also, please note that Adam Kierstead (the mustachioed man in the last photo) is not a member of the band, merely something of a god to the Saint John music scene. Thank you, and good night.