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A Mari Usque Ad Mare, to the Lunenburg Halloween Punk Show

Halloween is when we put on special costumes in the place of the ones we normally wear. In French, “a business suit” is “un costume d’affaires” – “a Halloween costume” is “un costume d’Halloween”. 

And at the third annual Halloween Punk Show at the Lunenburg Legion on October 28, it was all d’Halloween, and no d’affaires.

(Photo: Jesse Ward)

Technology, when it’s available to you, flattens space and time. This Saturday saw me travel about 4,400 km in the sky, in my sleep, from Vancouver to Halifax.

Driving 90 minutes to Lunenburg from the airport in the evening after two weeks seeing friends in Montreal and working in B.C., I wanted to go directly to my bed – but I knew it would still be there after the Legion Punk Show. And if you want a scene to exist, you have to show up and make it happen.

At home, I quickly shaved myself a goatee and put on clothes transforming me into a perfect facsimile of the mural on the side of Lunenburg’s Laughing Whale Café portraying co-owner Steven Zubalik – my go-to costume. My Laughing Whale mug and a copy of the Lunenburg Barnacle completed the look.

(Our author wearing the same costume in 2022, but before The Barnacle existed, so a different newspaper. Photo: Carley Mullally)

I made it to the show late, at 10:30 p.m. As far north as King Street, I heard the loud drums and guitars of Bathurst, N.B.’s Mean Street, on a street normally silent at night except the distant clopping of errant deer hooves.

My rubber boots carried me unsteadily to the Legion doors where I was greeted by Barnacle Editor-at-large Issie Patterson, presently a witch, who promised good things inside.

Inside, I met our friend Carson who I expected would be easy to find because he was dressed as a lighthouse. His extended headlamp helmet was unfortunately too tall to wear because of the risk of hitting ceiling fans, but he nearly placed first in the costume contest I missed.

Mean Street’s final two songs were fast, aggressive and fun. Someone in corpse paint skanked next to a dancer who was a Van Gogh sunflower painting. The incongruous audience of about 45 people applauded.

Between bands, I enjoyed an Oland Export Ale (ABV 5%, Oland Brewery, Halifax), the reliable taste sinking in the pleasure of being home.

Next up was Bridgewater’s Dead Minutes. I was seriously impressed by how tight they sounded as the lead singer in a Bugs Bunny get-up screamed his way through a number of catchy melodic post-hardcore tracks that kept the crowd energized.

(Photo: Jesse Ward)

I have always appreciated punk music’s accessibility for new musicians. In the words of artist Jad Fair, when it comes to guitar, you do need chords to plug a guitar in, but that’s pretty much it.

But Dead Minutes were clearly well-rehearsed – they might have been the best punk performers Lunenburg has seen since the 2002 show by DOA and Fishbone at the Recreation Centre in 2002, a personal top time machine wishlist destination. They were the best band I’ve seen in costumes since the set I caught by Dionne Werewolf, the orchestra performing lycanthropic covers of Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach standards, at Brooklyn’s Union Pool in 2020. 

In a town usually acclaimed for its brilliant traditions in choral, classical and traditional music, it was inspiring to see the community show up for a DIY punk show. As Carson and I left to silent streets, I thought of how the show reminded me of my experience operating The Barnacle over the last year – with effort and some good friends, you can grow the culture you want, where you are.


One response to “A Mari Usque Ad Mare, to the Lunenburg Halloween Punk Show”

  1. Anne Weeks

    Love this

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