Published Oct 23, 2016Partner are quickly becoming one of Canadian music's best worst-kept secrets. With just two digital singles and a tour-only cassette tape to their name (a full-length is apparently coming), the Sackville, NB band are already attracting audiences who arrive buzzed about what they're about to see.
Some attendees at Saturday (October 22) afternoon's all-ages show at Halifax's Pavilion were talking about raves they'd heard from Partner's set the night before, opening for TUNS. Others, like the young children up front, earplugs in, clearly had not (though their parents might have). The presence of actual children required some playful editing of the band's lyrics — not for profanity, but behaviour. (For "Daytime TV," vocalist Josée Caron followed the line "When I was a kid, I used to play sick" by quickly adding "not giving any ideas to the little kids in the front.")
I was a big fan of the Mouthbreathers, the Sackville band in which Partner vocalists/guitarists Caron and Lucy Niles also played. Partner are even better, with an epic and equal appreciation for rock music's absurdity and its joy. Over the course of their 40-minute set, they stood on the Pavilion stage's barrier for solos, credited a song's inspiration to Bachman-Turner Overdrive and, in Caron's case, rocked a double-necked guitar. But Partner's songs, like "The Ellen Page" and "Let the Chips Fall Where They May" are small, quirky, playful — and somehow, the tension between the two extremes totally works.
Maybe it's all just too fun to resist. From banter to performance, Caron and Niles never stopped smiling, and neither could many in the crowd. "This is the end of our touring season – our first touring season," said Caron. "We were already feeling nostalgic for it yesterday." Fair enough — but Partner's best days are clearly ahead.