Halifax – New Friends & the Best Open Mic Night Ever!

Mon 08 – Mon 17 November 2010

When I’d asked people in Montreal what I could do in Halifax the universal answer had been to drink beer; not because Halifax is a ‘hole’ but because it has something like 5 – 7 universities located in the city – a big student population so naturally a good beer drinking scene. I love drinking beer, so I was excited.

Jeff, a fellow couch surfer had responded to my couch request and I was able to liaise with him and his girlfriend Courtney. Courtney met me a couple of hours after we’d spoken on the phone, she was pretty with long dreaded brown hair which reminded me of my cousin when she had her hair dreaded. Courtney was easy to talk to, friendly and open; we enjoyed a beer (of course) before heading to a house nearby which hosted an ‘open mic’ night every Monday.

The house was an old wooden two story villa, inside was packed with people. The front room had a tiny bit of space set aside for the musicians to play but other than that anything was game; peopled lined the walls, the floor, filled couches and chairs. It was an acoustic scene full of very talented artists, many with an intellectual message to their music. Lots of artists played impromptu with each other; I remember a dark haired, pierced, tattooed girl with an amazing voice singing witty songs on gender discrimination and other such topics. Host and MC Ben Caplan with his wild blonde beard, curly blonde hair, big round glasses and deep hearty voice would introduce artists and even did a few sets himself. He sang fun songs in his deep hearty voice and really impressed me, I’d consider him an excellent representative of the Maritimes – looks somewhat crazy but then you hear him speak you can instantly tell that he’s intelligent, and then he sings – impressive.

Another of my favourite acts was Vancouver spoken word artist Johnny Macrae, you have to listen to some of his stuff, bloody awesome. [I’ve featured Johnny’s Bicycle video at the top of this post]

At the open mic night I met my host Jeff, like Courtney I immediately could tell that this was a nice friendly person; I’d say a true Maritimer with his long wild hair and adventurous spirit, being dead keen on his rugby he’d fit in really well in New Zealand too. Jeff had recently put a video together in application for a ‘professional vacationer’ job he’d come across, no doubt a pretty sweet career – check out his video:

The following day while sitting in an internet cafe I took up online gambling while sipping a hot chocolate. Later I hiked up a hill which was used an old defensive fort and checked out the area.

That evening Jeff was hosting a pot luck dinner and purely by coincidence he’d invited Evan, another couch surfer who I’d contacted. Along with Evan there was another couch surfer there that night too so including myself there were five couch surfers sharing food that night, it was all delicious food too. Later we headed down the road to Gus’ Pub for some more drinks and a little East coast partying.
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I didn’t seem to do much during the days in Halifax, it’s not like there are must-see sights or anything, but the nights were some of the best I’ve had while travelling. The Open Mic night as I’ve already mentioned was pure awesomeness and the pot luck dinner was a lot of fun.