Show Review: Nap Eyes At The Garrison

By Grace Guimond

I got to The Garrison for the Nap Eyes show around 9pmish, early enough to catch the last couple songs by the opener, self-described retro-futurists Century Palm. The mid-size venue was maybe around fifteen percent full; mostly twenty-somethings milling around the bar at the very back, a few photographers doing their jobs up at the very front, and a vacant middle ground. Nevertheless, Century Palm seemed unfrazzled. With heavy riffs and drawn out guitar, their performance came off as super unpretentious and casual. Very chill. The second act, Dublin rockers Cian Nugent – not a moniker; I felt shamefully distracted during their set thinking of all the unfortunate ways schoolyard bullies probably made Cian-Pungent jokes – played jazzy country rock with a crooning Irish inflection. it was clear why the bands were touring together: both favoured  lots of long, groovy instrumental jams and a nice alt-folk vibe.

By the time Cian Nugent finished their set the space had gained a few more bodies, but was still well well under capacity – maybe around a quarter full. I stepped out for a quick smoke, and when I returned the crowd had easily more than doubled. I genuinely had to squirm my way to the front, as opposed to the light side-stepping “’scuse me, pardon me, thanks, thanks, sorry, thanks!” I had been anticipating.

Nap Eyes were very good, very low key, and very draw-worthy.The crowd was surprisingly laid back for its size and clearly very into it, albeit almost hesitant to show how much they were enjoying themselves. The swaying and head nods were surprisingly minimal considering the infectious rock. The Halifax-band played a short and sweet set, refreshingly absent of awkward between-song banter. They seemed genuinely very grateful to be there, on their first legit North American tour.

Nap Eyes makes indie rock for people who hate the label indie rock. The Lou Reed comparison is obvious but accurate: the group switched between heavily instrumental jams, playfully sophisticated pop songs, and the occasional ode to NASA and Earth’s geologic cycles. The polar opposite of too-cool-for-school bands that oversaturate the genre, Nap Eyes make seriously good music without taking themselves too seriously – s/o to drummer Seamus’s T-Swift shirt.

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Nap Eyes at The Garrison: taken by the author

Performance wise, Nap Eyes plays unpretentious, folkish rock. Their stage presence  was inundated by a palpable humbleness that made me feel genuinely appreciated to be there. Nap Eyes oozed good vibes, creating an atmosphere of a local basement show with all your friends, rather than one of the last dates on an international tour that was still three provinces away from home. Quite possibly the best band in Halifax, Nap Eyes deserve all the P4k success they can get. Chatting with their bassist, Josh, after the show, I learned that Nap Eyes are: a) hella nice, b) hella chill, and c) know that B.C has the best weed (duh) – but not for the reasons you’d expect. When you smoke in the same place all the time it all feels the same and can get kinda stale, but mountains? That’s fresh. Plus, the change of scenery gets you higher – according to Josh, that is a scientific fact. Overall takeaway? Tiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Artist Photo via Pitch Perfect: taken by Colin Medley

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