We all waited there, thinking hard and bobbing our heads to the swirling, switching time signatures and fantastically funky basslines of the Skeletones Four. Dancing wildly and getting glowering faces forced in the back of our heads, we wondered what had happened to enthusiasm.
As the band broke off and left, people swarmed into Gus’, pressing us harder and further into (almost onto) the small stage. Jimmie bounded up the tiny trio of steps to the stage in his usual charasmatic and charming smirk. He fiddled around, he sipped a beer and he skipped back off.
Moments later, there was a ruckus.
Joined by ubiquitous Maritime indie king and queen Jon McKiel and Klarka Weinwurm on drums and bass, respectively, Jimmie stood, slightly leaning on a mic, and grinning like a little kid. “I love this place,” he said through a smirk. The skittering, splintered percussion of Jon McKiel started littering the air as Jimmie twisted, jumped and howled, haranguing us on his every line as Klarka spun his splayed phrases with effortless, trickled harmonies and swampy, brooding basslines.
As people behind me stood, statue-like, texting and folding arms, I writhed rhythmically at the front of the crowd, crashing into forlorned looking onlookers as I wondered what the hell was going on. As Shotgun Jimmie, a treasured troubadour and all-around fantastic performer, was riddling a packed Gus’ Pub with upbeat dancy ballads and bullets of unbridled pop majesty, the majority stood stoicly and just sort of blinked along.
“I saw those three shots on the stage and I was hoping they were for us,” Jimmie said smiling as he grasped the tray of whiskey shots a drunken woman had placed before his feet before dangerously perching on a stage monitor, a loose and flailing hand flinging around a gin and tonic as we looked on, noticeably concerned with electrocution. As we realized that our warnings and wailing about shock and damage were doing nothing, Jon McKiel slid the bass around his neck and tossed the sticks back to Klarka as the three plowed through another sprawling triptych of tunes.
The haphazard trio was pulsing with spontaneity and historical chemistry as they blasted through songs, giving their all, and all but screaming their lungs out.
As a girl with an iPhone attempted to elbow her way past me and snap a blurred photograph (without a press pass, even) I just flung my body harder and more carelessly as Jimmie thrashed a Fender Jaguar and jested to the sound guy.
Wrapping the show in a prolific bow of Halifax nostalgia with the heart-wrenching “Too Many Flowers,” Gus’ finally came alive with the help of esoteric and enamoring up and comers Old and Weird as Jimmie threw out a dedication and sent the girls swarming into the crowd to shake things slightly into perspective.
But as Jimmie said some thank yous and goodbyes and jumped three steps, gallantly, from the stage, I was left with a biting and nagging disappointment in the crowd, playing up their enthusiasm in claps while downplaying their reluctancy to show any ounce of physical enthusiasm.
You guys can suck down ecstacy and Jager like there’s no tomorrow as you flail in a warbling, narcotized state for innoculated bro-step and DJ’s spinning righteous iTunes playlists, but you can’t shake a leg or move a muscle for one of the most entertaining and prolific songwriters to ever be birthed from this lovely east coast of ours?
Get some perspective, Halifax.