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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jimmy Swift Band's brief break from retirement

After calling it quits two years ago, the band launches a "re-reunion tour."

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 5:34 PM

The Jimmy Swift Band around 2010.
  • The Jimmy Swift Band around 2010.

The Jimmy Swift Band walked the line between rock and electronica (or, as they often call it, “rocktronica”) from the late ‘90s until their official breakup in 2011. When they announced their last hurrah tour in 2014 (crowned with a prime slot at Evolve festival), fans figured they’d seen the last of the Halifax-based musicians.

But now the JSB crew is proving to be the Can-rock retirement equivalent of Jay-Z, coming out of the shadows for what they're calling a "re-reunion tour" just two years after calling it quits for good. With a stop at The Marquee on July 29 at 10pm, they’re gathering with Scientists of Sound and Dub Kartel to throw a hometown party complete with riffs, reggae and slow-burn jams.

In case that two-year hiatus was long enough to make you forget why you should be excited about the re-reunion, here's is one of the band's few music videos, for their song Two Hands On The Wheel:

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Halifax Pop Explosion announces second round of its lineup

Featuring acts like Hey Rosetta!, Charles Bradley, and Keys N Krates.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 11:59 AM

Hey Rosetta! is this year's headliner. - SCOTT BLACKBURN
  • Hey Rosetta! is this year's headliner.
  • Scott Blackburn

In just a few short months, when the humidity has broken, the fall wind will ring with the sound of rowdy concert goers: leaves will crunch beneath their Converse as they prance to the next show, revelling in the joy that is Halifax Pop Explosion.

The beloved fest just announced its second round of 2016 acts this morning—fans, hold onto your fanny packs, and get ready.

Over 50 new acts are slated to grace our stages in October, including Hey Rosetta!, Keys N Krates, Charles Bradley, Grandtheft, PUP, Basia Bulat, Holy Fuck, TUNS and Voivod.

You won’t be starved for local talent, either, with acts like Reeny Smith, Century Egg, Old and Weird, Crossed Wires, Beauts, Mo Kenny with Symphony NS and Nap Eyes lined up.

Early bird passes are on sale now for $89—get ‘em while they last. Prices will jump to $109, and eventually reach $129 over the coming months.

The festival runs from October 19-22, at various city-wide locations.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

10 ways to make your weekend amazing

Beyonce-themed eats, Australian live music and obviously, the PARADE!

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 3:29 PM

Pride Week only has a few days left, so let's make 'em count with Pride festivities, diva-themed brunches, outdoor exploration and, of course, THE PARADE.

The Mae Trio travelled all the way from Australia to bring their sweet, folky sound to The Carleton Music Bar & Grill this Saturday (see 4). - KATE ATKINSON
  • The Mae Trio travelled all the way from Australia to bring their sweet, folky sound to The Carleton Music Bar & Grill this Saturday (see 4).
  • Kate Atkinson

10. Queer Contra Dance. Saturday, July 23, 5-9pm Not your typical dance, this event eschews traditional gender roles, offering a binary-free, queer-friendly atmosphere. Bring something to the 5pm potluck and then lace on your dancing shoes for an old-fashioned good time, no experience or partner required.

9. Little Spoon Pop-Up Stand. Saturday, July 23, 11am-2pm The entrepreneurial spirit runs in the Doherty family. Ten-year-old Aidan Doherty, nephew of Middle Spoon owners Ciaran and Lacey Doherty, is passionate about small business and is working on one of his own. Just in time for the Halifax Pride Parade, Aidan will debut The Little Spoon—a pop-up shop that'll sell a variety of fresh-squeezed lemonades and sweet treats, like whoopie pies, fudge pops and other portable desserts. Aidan promises most of his goods will run you under $5—and that he'll be back in action on most sunny Saturdays, 11am-2pm. —Allison Saunders

8. McNabs Island Summer Tour. Sunday, July 24, 9:30am-3pm Learn all about iconic isle, from hearing tales of the ancient Mi'kmaq peoples to exploring the historic forts and homes that dot the island's hills. Event organizers suggest wearing comfortable shoes and bringing water and a lunch. Arrive at the boat's departure point 15 minutes before the 9:30 start time to ensure your seat.

7. An Evening with Jim Carroll: Readings from an American poet. Thursday, July 21, 7pm Gather to hear hosts Jerry Ropson and Dr. Bart Vautour, along with others, share their favourite passages by the late Carroll. Probably most famous for his autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries (which became a ‘90s film starring Leonardo DiCaprio), Carroll worked with many famous artists, including Andy Warhol.

6. Dark for Dark in concert. Friday, July 22 Catch Nova Scotia's own Dark for Dark as they tour Eastern Canada on the heels of their new album, All Dressed. The record is a haunting, folky offering that stays true to their sound. With this as the only Halifax date on the tour, fans won't want to miss it! —Lewis Rendell

5. LES AMOURS IMAGINAIRES Screening. Friday, July 22, 7pm Quebec's famed director Xavier Dolan released LES AMOURS IMAGINARIES (literally "the imagined loves"), a story about two friends who fall for the same guy, in 2010 to rave reviews at the Cannes Film festival. Now, Alliance Francaise is giving you the chance to catch the flick, complete with English subtitles.

Get ready for Pride Parade! (see 1). - DYLAN WHITE
  • Get ready for Pride Parade! (see 1).
  • Dylan White

4. The Mae Trio in Concert. Saturday, July 23, 2pm All the way from Australia, these musicians offer a contemporary take on folk, playing original songs across many instruments, including cello, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and ukulele.

3. The Grind. Friday, July 22, 10pm-2am This outdoor party promises to be a steamy summer night. With drag star Adore Delano (Of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame) on the mic and Montreal’s DJ Alain Jackinsky spinning beats, partiers will wanna dance for hours.

2. Beyonce Brunch. Sunday, July 24, 9am-4pm All hail Queen Bey!! Get in formation and head over to Black Sheep Restaurant, 1569 Dresden Row, for a meal filled with your favourite 'yonce anthems and brunch eats. Drink specials include Boozy Lemonade (made with vodka and Proseco) and the Queen Bey cocktail (a mix of gin, honey, ginger, mint and ginger beer). Feeling like a queen yourself? Spring for the $290 bottles of Cristal, complete with a Black Sheep hat included.

1. HALIFAX PRIDE PARADE. Saturday, July 23, 1-3pm The height of Halifax Pride’s festival, the Pride Parade is a celebration of all things LGBTQIA. Join the party on the streets of downtown Halifax, and don’t forget to bring your rainbow flag! Looking for accessible viewing? A platform will be available at the Halifax Central Library from noon onwards. The parade route travels from Upper Water Street to Barrington Street to Spring Garden Road to South Park Street.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Final Tragically Hip concert to be screened at Grand Parade

Gord Downie says "Hey man, thanks!" as he takes the stage one last time.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

click image Downie and the band onstage in Kelowna in 2015. - AVEN HOFFARTH
  • Downie and the band onstage in Kelowna in 2015.
  • Aven Hoffarth

When The Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie announced his terminal brain cancer last December, Canada's musical consciousness exploded.

News headlines wailed about our impending loss of a national treasure. All of a sudden, Hip hits like Ahead By A Century seemed to be playing on the radio a lot more—or maybe we were finally registering the song’s lyrics, particularly Downie's croon "No dress rehearsal /This is our life.”

Like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I had grand plans with friends to make the pilgrimage to Ontario this August and see the Hip make their magic one last time at their final concert in their hometown of Kingston.

And, just like every other maple-syrup-eating, over-apologizing Canadian, I was outraged when the tickets sold out in seconds to online bots, soon to be resold for thousands.

Now, Halifax’s Downtown Business Commission and the CBC are offering a solution. Today,it was announced there will be a screening of CBC’s broadcast of the Hip’s final concert live on August 20. As the CBC are turning the Grand Parade into a giant, communal living room, the buisness commission is promising a full day of events “that may include live, daytime, musical performances throughout downtown; Hip-themed programming by many downtown businesses, and the closure of Argyle Street for a day-long street party.” Culminating with the CBC's concert screening around 9pm, it might be just as good as going to the actual concert.

At the very least, it will be wonderful to see so many people come together and say goodbye to a great talent, and celebrate some of the most popular homegrown music of our time. As Downie sang in In View, “Yeah, it’s perfect/ Well it isn’t and it is.”

Keep up-to-date on the day’s events on the Business Commission's website. Fundraisers will be held throughout the day to support the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Hats off: a Jazz Fest fashion guide

Whether you’re counting them in the crowd or trying to plan your outfit, this weekend you’ve got to know your jazz hats.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 12:23 PM

  • illustrations by Matt Bustin

The Pork Pie
If jazz is your highway, the pork pie is your Cadillac. This eccentric lid belongs to a true jazz nerd, who’s happily holed up, syncopated snapping at the Village Vanguard, or ripping sax solos of their own in a hotel bar. Lester Young made this look legendarily cool, hence why this style should be reserved for true players.


The Fedora
If done right, a fedora-topped outfit is classy—think sexy Sinatra, or badass bandleader Count Basie. Given its prevalence at Jazz Fest, we assume the large brim is a tool in aural enhancement for mega fans—but the carpet has to match the drapes. Unless you’re some kind of Indiana Jones, don’t attempt pulling this one off with flip flops, board shorts or a sleeveless top.


The Trilby
Often confused for a fedora, this smaller-brimmed hybrid hat (the porkdora?) can be used as a cover-up for bald spots , lack of jazz knowledge and total untrendiness. T-shirt and vest wearing Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears have visited trilby territory, as have many “down south” beachgoers, but only the truly cool cats manage to pull it off.


The Beret and Page Boy
A gateway jazz hats, call it fedora rising. Malleable enough to roll up and shove in your pocket, but jaunty enough to make a statement if the mood—or drum solo—permits. Equal parts art, pomp and chill.


The Wild Card
Miles Davis said, “Don’t fear mistakes, there are none” which is fitting for the “you do you” of the jazz hat spectrum. The wild cards are usually a modern or “funky” take on the old school—think Slash’s towering top hat, Pharrell’s oversized Arby’s logo or Jamiroquai’s fuzzy Cat In The Hat getup. Just improvise, man.

h/t to Jennifer MacDonald & Mike Ritchie

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Top 10 ways to heat up your weekend

It's getting hot out there, and we have the sizzling concerts, film screenings and art to prove it. Yow!

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Nigerian musician Kunle brings his traditional tunes to Halifax (see number 4). - VANESSA DESTRA
  • Nigerian musician Kunle brings his traditional tunes to Halifax (see number 4).
  • Vanessa Destra

10. Visual Arts › Murder at the Dart. Until Jul 28. Painter and mixed-media artist Lee Cripps and ceramics artist Susan Paczek unveil their newest works at the Dart Gallery, all centred around a crow theme. The misunderstood creatures (called a murder when they're in a group) are actually said to be seen as multicoloured birds to other animals who have better vision than humans. See Cripps' and Paczek's colourful take on them until July 28.

9. Film Screening › Animated City screens The Lord Of The Rings. Friday, July 15, 8pm. Gather near dusk at Tall Ships Quay on the Halifax waterfront for a chance to see another vision of Tolkien's beloved universe. This 1978 animated version tells the story of the ring in a way you've never seen before! Part of the Animated City Outdoor Film Fest.

8. Health & Wellness › Party at The Pond for Feed NS. Saturday, July 16, 6-7:30pm. Get your groove on for a good cause at Sullivan's Pond. A blend of high and low intensity dance steps taught by an instructor, this workout promises to torch calories while you enjoy songs ranging Salsa to Top 40.
Bring your sneakers and a donation to FeedNS, who recently reported their pantry shelves to be critically bare.

7. Visual Arts › Summer Group Exhibition. To Sept 3. A rotating exhibition featuring works from many of the gallery's artists in dozens of mediums, this exhibit offers something for every art lover.
Highlights include a small selection of paintings by Belgian-born New Brunswick artist Francis Coutellier , who's back on the art scene after a four-year hiatus with this show.

6. On Stage › Queer Acts Festival. July 13-17. Come celebrate our queer community, artists and stories. Seven productions take place over five days during Halifax’s Pride Festival. Highlights include Theatre Outré’s drag rock opera Castrati and “Friend” “Like” #Me by comedian Gavin Crawford (of This Hour has 22 Minutes fame), as well as a variety of shows from emerging and established artists. —Kate Watson

Murder at the Dart brings a thoughtful eye to crows (see number 10). - LEE CRIPPS
  • Murder at the Dart brings a thoughtful eye to crows (see number 10).
  • Lee Cripps

5. Dance › Swing OUT! w/ Dalhousie University Dance Society. Friday, July 15, 8:30-11pm. Wish you were a better dancer? Envy the smooth moves of others on the dance floor? Well the Dal Swing Dance Society is here to help you up your game! Just in time for Pride Week, they're throwing an LGBTQ+ swing party. Learn new moves between 8:30 and 9:30pm, and show them off until 11pm. No partner required. Located at 1531 Grafton Street.

4. Live Music › Kunle. Sunday, July 17, 3-4:30pm.Nigerian singer/songwriter Kunle will be sharing African rhythms and stories at this free concert. The perfect way for world music lovers to add some texture to their afternoon!.

3. Halifax Jazz Festival › Verbal Warnin'. Friday, July 15, 11:15pm. Keep dancing till dawn with Halifax's own reggae-roots rockers Verbal Warnin'! This Jazz Fest event is an opportunity to catch the group (who rarely perform) in all it's spontaneous, dance-able glory, so snag some tickets while you can.

2. On Stage › As You Like It. To Sept 1. Shakespeare by the Sea takes on the 317-year-old classic, telling the upside-down story of Rosalind, Frederick and Orlando, love, exile and honesty. The show schedule alternates over the summer with SBTS's Pinocchio and King Lear, and Mondays are dark, so check the website before you go.

1. Halifax Jazz Festival › Thundercat w/River Tiber. Saturday, July 16, 8:30pm. Thudercat brings big sound—just as his name promises—with a mix of laid-back neo-soul and dance music elements. A Pitchfork magazine fave (and Kendrick Lamar collaborator!), catching his Jazz Fest performance gives you insane amounts of hipster cred—and the songs are so good, you can enjoy them un-ironically. Toronto producer/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist River Tiber opens the show with a blend of Justin Timberlake-style vocals and heavy beats.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lauryn Hill goes electric

Concert review: Halifax Jazz Fest’s kickoff was pure jazz.

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 11:24 AM

Lauryn Hill got three songs into her Halifax Jazz Festival set before a lightning storm took over the show. - ASHLEY CORBETT
  • Lauryn Hill got three songs into her Halifax Jazz Festival set before a lightning storm took over the show.
  • Ashley Corbett

Tuesday night at the 30th Halifax Jazz Fest’s big opening show, a thunder and lightning storm erupted over Ms. Lauryn Hill and her band. As the musicians were ushered off the stage, the light show over the harbour kicked up in dreamy purples and hazy greys, then the skies opened up and rain fell like it would swallow us whole. It rained and rained and rained. Slowly, nearly imperceptibly, it began to fall more evenly, its fury dulling, ending in a kind of gentle salt woven mist. People were drenched and radiant.

When Hill returned to the stage it was as if she had conducted all that electricity, intensity, and fed it back out into our breastbones and rib cages through the bass of her unstoppable words. Her voice is unlike any other instrument. She conducted her band as an army general—wildly, prophetically, madly—and in the process redefined live improvisation. The Jazz Fest was a perfect vessel: As Hill drew on the strengths of her mothers, Ruth Brown, Etta James and Nina Simone, she remained inherently herself. This, in a sweeping electric shock of a night, couldn't have been MORE jazz.

Hill crouched in blue light and it felt as if she were drawing us in, around her fire. She popped out like a bullet with “Fu-Gee-La.” She invited us to sing along to “Killing me Softly” like we've done unabashedly, but perhaps, before tonight, only alone.

She nurtured us with three original takes on Bob Marley classics we were nursed and bred on. For “Feeling Good,” the way she sang "it's a new dawn it's a new day it's a new life" made Simone’s song as gritty, crackling and fearless as it's ever been.

A mighty queen has met Nova Scotia. The Maritime weather threw everything it had at her, and she threw it back in an orchestral explosion of dominating poetry, passion and sheer life force. The woman is made of fire.

You electrified us with your spirit, Lauryn Hill. Thank you for making us feel alive.

ICYMI: last night was dynamite
ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite ICYMI: last night was dynamite

ICYMI: last night was dynamite

Scenes from the opening night at Halifax Jazz Festival 2016, with performances from Cyndi Cain and Ms. Lauryn Hill.

By Ashley Corbett

Click to View 9 slides

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Tunes at Noon free concerts are back

Dig into the 9th annual lunchtime Grand Parade music series.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Looking to liven up your lunch hour? The annual Tunes at Noon concert series is back for its 9th year, lighting up Grand Parade with sounds from a variety of genres. We're especially excited for Zoe Leger's spot on the stage, as her so-new-it-hurts album just dropped today so her audience is bound to be treated to a new song or two (scroll on for a video)!

Here's the full, newly released lineup:

July 13 – Willie Stratton
July 14 – Donna & Andy
July 15 – Zoe Leger Duo
July 20 – The Hupman Brothers
July 21 – Razzmatazz
July 22 – Chelsea Amber
July 27 – Dusty Keleher
July 28 – Alycia Putnam
July 29 – Urban Surf Kings
Aug 3 – Arsoniste
Aug 4 – Christine Campbell
Aug 5 – Jamie Junger
Aug 10 – Jen Miller
Aug 11 – Jason Price
Aug 17 – Terry Kelleher
Aug 24 – Natalie Lynn
Aug 25 – Ced, Marty and Dave
Aug 26 – Celtic Rant
Aug 31 – 36th Halifax Pipes & Drums
Aug 12 and 18 as well as Sept 1 and 2 are yet to be announced.

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Sidney Crosby brings home the Stanley Cup

Everybody loves a parade with the greatest Cole Harbourite ever!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Calling all hockey fans: Get a dose of Cole Harbour pride—and the chance to see the Stanley Cup in real life—as hometown legend Sidney Crosby marches the community's streets, celebrating his recent win with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The parade starts Saturday, July 16, 10:30am, at Pope John XXIII Church (35 Colby Drive), and it's happening rain or shine.

It's the second time Crosby and the Penguins have received the enormous trophy (the original win was in 2009). It's also the first time since 2009 the team has made it to the playoff finals.

While the Penguins faced a worthy advisory in the San Jose Sharks, they racked up a 3-1 win early last month, meaning Crosby's earned the right to a little party back home, right? Join in the buzz yourself by making the trip to Cole Harbour (there are shuttle options available, see below!) and consider this an option to deal with end-of-season withdrawals. For updates and the whole parade route, check the city's official Sidney Crosby Parade page.

Shuttle Info: Many of the streets in Cole Harbour will be shut down to accommodate the parade, so leave your car at home and grab a free bus ride from Penhorn and Mic Mac Terminals between 7:50 and 10am. Make your way back into town with a bus from Cole Harbour Place between 1 and 3pm.

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10 Ways to rock this weekend

From the ultimate summer dessert to new Nova Scotian art to energetic pop-punk, we've got a wild few days ahead.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Sackville, NB punk rockers Partner bring the party to Gridlock (see number 1). - COLIN MEDLEY
  • Sackville, NB punk rockers Partner bring the party to Gridlock (see number 1).
  • Colin Medley

10. Food & Drink › Dock and Dine. Sun Jul 10, 4-9pm. An annual series that pairs an evening paddle with East Coast Outfitters in Prospect with a local-inspired meal—prepared right on the dock—from Dennis Johnston, former chef at acclaimed Halifax restaurant, Fid. Here's a link to the menu—read it and drool.

9. Summer Festival › Lebanese Festival. Jul 7-10. This cultural festival proves to be a true sensory experience. Taste authentic Lebanese favourites like falafel, hummus and tabouli, listen to traditional music and even learn to play Lebanese drums. See examples of rich traditions, like religious artwork and architecture. Leave with a full belly, and greater understanding of this dynamic region.

8. Live Music › TJ King w/ Lynnea Rose. Fri Jul 8, 9pm. TJ King brings his acoustic guitar and big country sound to the waterfront for this free concert after an emotive set by singer-songwriter Lynnea Rose. What's more summery than live music on the waterfront? Have some ice cream for us while you're there!

7. Visual Arts › Terroir. To Jan 1, 2017. “A Nova Scotia Survey” might suggest a lot of Maud Lewis and 18th-century engravings of Halifax Harbour, but Terroir skips the tourist fare and celebrates the artists who are living and working in our province today. Curated from an open submission process, the exhibition shows the work of 29 contemporary Nova Scotian artists working in all media, including works by Wayne Boucher, Melanie Colosimo, Ursula Johnson, Susan Tooke and others. Curator Sarah Fillmore calls it “the first of its kind in the province.” Taking up three floors of the gallery and including painting, sculpture, video, drawings and mixed media, this new exhibition is one not to be missed on any local or tourist’s itinerary this summer. —Laura Kenins

6. Food & Drink › Victorian Afternoon Tea. Every Fri to Aug 26. Party like its 1867 with the folks from Dartmouth Heritage Museum at one of their Victorian tea parties. Complete with sweets, sandwiches and a tour of the heritage house, it's the perfect excuse to play royalty for the day!

5. Lecture › Journey to the Centre of Our Galaxy. Thurs, Jul 7, 7:15pm. Learn about our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the incredible sights we can see along the way to its core! This guided lecture by Tony Schellinck has you exploring the night sky, teaching you about the stars you wish upon at night. Registration is required on the Astronomy Nova Scotia website.

4. Food & Drink › Strawberry Social. Sat Jul 9, 2-4pm. An entire event that centres on the summer’s biggest sweetie, strawberry shortcake. Biscuits, berries and cream are the dream team behind this urban farm event, but there’ll be live music, lemonade and socializing too. Pre-buy a ticket to guarantee your dessert.

3. On Stage › The Colour of Courage. To Jul 10, 3 and 7:30pm. A new stage play written and directed by Anthony Sherwood, The Colour of Courage is meant to be an educational tool commemorating the 100 year anniversary of World War One. Inspired by the diary of Rev. Captain William Andrew White, the only Black Chaplin serving in the British Military at the time, it offers a more diverse retelling of a familiar slice of history.

2. Meeting › Death Café. Every fourth Thursday, 12-1pm. Looking to increase understanding of death in an effort to help people live their best “finite life,” this unusual event asks you to bring your thoughts and questions. Those needing greif councelling can find resources here, while others can explore what it means to be alive.

1. Live Music › Gridlock Festival. Jul 8-10. DIIV, American Football, TR/ST, Wintersleep, Baths, Lower Dens, Lowell, Beach Slang, Peach Kelli Pop, Sean Nicholas Savage, Southern Shores, Partner, Vogue Dots, beauts and Dance Movie are among the acts already announced for Gridlock, Halifax's newest music festival.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

The story behind Gridlock

The inside scoop on where the festival came from.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 3:49 PM

Who's pumped for Wolf Parade? - SHAWN MCDONALD
  • Who's pumped for Wolf Parade?
  • Shawn McDonald

Gridlock Festival is the child of co-founders Matt McIntyre and Jeremy MacNeil. It’s something the two have wanted to do for years, and this summer they’ve mustered the funds, energy and guts necessary to take the leap.

MacNeil knows the biz—he’s been an independent concert promoter in Halifax for the past 14 years. “I’ve always wanted to do an outdoor summer festival and never really had the opportunity to do something from scratch,” says MacNeil.

Now that the festival is a reality, McIntyre says the co-founders are “wearing their biggest fear on their chest,” and aiming to show people they’re not afraid to do something new.

“It’s taken a lot of our own money…and hopes and prayers,” says McIntyre. Luckily, the support the festival has received on social media helps to take the “new business terror” off, he says.

The inspiration behind the name of the festival is twofold: “We basically looked at the city of Halifax on satellite imaging, and tried to figure out an area that interlocks all of the neighbourhoods,” says McIntyre. It’s also a play on “what people would warn us about starting an event here, that we would head butt with a bunch of gridlock, whether it’s bureaucratic or financial.”

The pair’s vision will spring to life when acts like Wolf Parade, American Football, Waxahatchee, Wintersleep, DIIV, Baths, Peach Kelli Pop, Beach Slang, Partner and many more perform on the grounds of Spatz Theatre/Citadel High School this weekend.

The festival founders aimed to build a line-up that’s curated and streamlined on bands who might not normally play here—or at least artists who haven’t played in Halifax for a while. McIntyre says the simplistically of a small scale business partnership helped them out a lot.

“Because it’s just the two of us, there’s a whole lot less democratic wrangling involved then if you were working with something that has a board of directors,” he says. “So we were able to just say, what do we think are bands that people this year would be psyched about and let’s just go for it and try to find them.”

McIntyre and MacNeil say they’re pumped about the line-up they did achieve, and are already making plans for next summer’s headliners. Gridlock will be an annual festival.

Both weekend and single-day passes, as well as individual tickets, are all available online. If you’re under 19, you don’t even have to sweat the cash! Both of Gridlock’s all-ages shows are free for under-aged festival goers (limited to capacity).

“The all-ages program is really important to both Matt and I, because we both grew up going to a lot of concerts and culture events in the city, but mainly specifically concerts at the Halifax Pavillon,” says MacNeil. “We wanted to do something to give back.”

If you want to ensure you’ll get into an all-ages show, you can RSVP in advance by emailing MacNeil at

Gridlock has got those who can drink covered too; Stillwell will be running the festival’s beer bar. This was a key collaboration, says McIntyre.

“It means that people can go and get good quality, almost entirely local products,” he says.

“We wanted to make this a really homegrown festival.”

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Top 10 ways to make the most of your Canada Day long weekend

Loads of live music from country to trap, plus fireworks, all-you-can-eat ribs and more!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Samantha Power belts out country style tunes for Canada Day (see #5). - SOLANGE RICHER DE LAFLECHE
  • Samantha Power belts out country style tunes for Canada Day (see #5).
  • Solange Richer de Lafleche

10. Film Screening › Shrek. Saturday, July 2. Who's better, Shrek or Donkey? Decide for yourself at this dusk screening of the film! Part of the Animated City Outdoor Film Fest, you'll have the chance to catch this beloved animated flick at Pondside Amphitheatre, Hector Gate, Dartmouth.

9. Food & Drink › Ribfest Halifax. June 30- July 3. Bring your appetite to this giant outdoor barbecue on the Halifax waterfront. Offering ribs, local beer and live music it's bound to be a party. There will even be award-winning "ribbers" (AKA rib chefs) from all over North America. Hungry yet?

8. Special Events › Canada Day Fireworks. Friday, July 1, 10pm. Is it really Canada day if you don't go to a fireworks show? We don't think so! If being part of a teeming, excited mass is your thing, head to Alderney Landing for 10pm's light show. Introverts can skip the crowd and go to Bedford's fireworks at DeWolfe Park at 10pm instead.

7. Visual Arts › Canadian Colour by Danny Abriel. To July 1. Candy-coloured spins on familiar Canadian landscapes (from British Colombian forests to Peggy's Cove) await at this patriotic art showing at Argyle Fine Art. Emerging artist Danny Abriel's acrylic works are on display for a short time only and are the perfect choice for those wanting to add some culture to their July 1 experience.

6. Live Music › The Carleton Canada Day Deck Party. Friday, July 1, 2-5pm. Former Much Music VJ and musicologist Kim Clark Champniss has been spinning hits since the 1980s. For Canada Day, he’s back at the turntables—this time for a free show on the Carleton’s patio, with a blend of ‘80s alternative, Motown and Ska for you to groove to. Get the party started early and see an iconic Canadian DJ work (er, spin!) his magic for a different way to get your dance on this long weekend.

Danny Abriel's colourful spin on Canadian Landscapes (see #7). - DANNY ABRIEL
  • Danny Abriel's colourful spin on Canadian Landscapes (see #7).
  • Danny Abriel

5. Live Music › East Coast Country Night: Samantha Power. Friday, July 1, 9pm. The smoky, blues-infused country sound of east coast crooner Samantha Power will be radiating from the Halifax waterfront this Canada Day, making a perfect way for music lovers to cap off some time exploring the area.

4. Visual Arts › The Carriage Room Photography Studio Thursday, June 30. Visit Dartmouth Heritage House's recreation of a 19th century Photographic Studio to learn how the art of photography has developed through the years. Peer into the past through the lenses of select antique cameras, and witness the process of creating wet-plate photographs.

3. Live Music › HFX Civic Events’ Canada Day Concert. Friday, July 1, 5pm. This free, outdoor show at Alderney Landing might just be the most talked-about event of the long weekend—and if you see the line-up, it’s little wonder why: Pop-rockers Dear Rouge and Born Ruffians share the stage with Montreal’s DJ Kid Koala before local R’n’B crooner (and Jazz Fest performer!) Reeny Smith shows off her pipes. The buzziest bit of all though? Vancouver indie darlings (and this week’s Coast cover stars) Yukon Blonde are headlining.

2. On Stage › BIPOCalypse Performance Festival. Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2, 8pm. A mini theatre fest with works created and performed by queer, transgendered or two-spirited people who are black, Indigenous or people of colour, BIPOCalypse is an explosion of onstage diversity. With acts ranging from spoken word to theatre, the evening promises variety for it’s audience at The Bus Stop Theatre. The July 1 show is a safe space event exclusively for those who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour, while the second evening is open to all.

1. Live Music › Views from the 9 with Boi-1da Canada Day Bash. Friday, July 1, 10pm. Possibly Toronto’s most of-the-moment producer, Boi-1da is bringing his sound out east and bringing the party vibes for Canada’s birthday party! Watch him share the Marquee Ballroom stage with up-and-coming Halifax rapper Ben Francis.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Five unmissable events at Halifax Pride 2016

What we're most excited about for this year's Pride festival.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 7:07 AM

Halifax Pride is geared up for another year of rainbow-filled celebrating, announcing their full lineup for the 10-day fest. Here, we're rounding up the events we're marking on our calendars—but full event listings are available here.

  • Dylan White

Kate Bornstein presents Trans, Just for the Fun of It!
A nonbinary trans author, activist and performance artist, New York-based Kate Bernstein wants to widen the focus on talks about transgendered people. While there are very real difficulties not to be glossed over, Bornstien's lecture is meant to remind us of the "physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual joy that can be had by creating and living one's gender mindfully."
Halifax Central Library, 6:30 p.m., Monday, July 18, free

Proud Prana
This yoga set will help you work off last night's drinks—or get into a more spiritual space. No matter your motivation, this free event is a different way to get into the Pride spirit.
Garrison Grounds (5425 Sackville Street), 11am-12pm, Saturday, July 16, free

Interactive Mean Girls Screening
Wear pink, make your own burn book and relive your favourite scenes from this cult classic teen dramaedy! So fetch.
Cineplex Cinemas Oxford, 4:30-6:30pm, Thursday July 21, free

TimeOUT Lecture #3—With Pulp, Please: The Significance of Lesbian Pulp Fiction
Mount Saint Vincent University has an almost-unrivalled vault of lesbian pulp fiction, one of the biggest in North America! Join two of their librarians, Meg Raven and Denyse Rodrigues, for a virtual tour through the collection, complete with select readings by surprise speakers.
Halifax Central Library—Paul O'Regan Hall, 12-1pm, Wednesday July 20, free

Cosmic Drag Queen Bingo
Supporting Feed Nova Scotia, this isn't grandma's bingo night! With black lights, party tunes and some queens dressed in their finest, this old-fashioned game has clearly upgraded.
Halifax Forum Super Bingo Hall 2901 Windsor Street,9-11pm, Friday July 15

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

10 totally-on-fire weekend ideas.

We got your back with tea parties, star gazing, all-night hip-hop, a punk record release and more!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 5:04 PM

Colleen MacIssac takes the stage in The Blazing World, her climate change play aiming to make audiences take action (see number 2). - ASHLEY MARIE PIKE
  • Colleen MacIssac takes the stage in The Blazing World, her climate change play aiming to make audiences take action (see number 2).
  • Ashley Marie Pike

10. Food & Drink › Georgian Tea Party. Sat Jun 25, 2-4pm. Start practicing your British accent now: Scott's Manor House is inviting you for high tea, Georgian-style! Free teas, sandwiches and sweets are on offer with live entertainment. Complete the experience by checking out the art exhibit by students of Peggy-Lynn Holland.

9. Visual Arts › Great Women of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. To Jun 25, 9am-4:30pm. Curator Jo Napier’s compliation of portraits—primarily in pencil and watercolour forms—of women who changed the face of science, technology, engineering and math, come together to create a powerful exhibit. Lean about the often-forgotten women behind big innovations and how they shaped their respective fields.

8. Live Music › GRAN Fiesta Salsa & Flamenco Latin Party. Fri Jun 24, 8pm. Experience The Marquee Ballroom as it transforms into a steamy dance salon! Live flamenco performances followed by a salsa dance party will keep your hips swaying all night long.

7. Stages Theatre Festival › Drawing Your Own Conclusions. Sat Jun 25, 8pm. Take a wild ride of emotions through text, projection, dance and drawing during Véronique MacKenzie’s double bill of movement theatre! She Wakes Up Gasping, the evening's first piece, is a multimedia performance about the discovery of an eerie, old photograph that launches a journey into the surreal. Switching gears, the evening ends with a comedy: You, Me, and One Piece of Chalk is a bittersweet and witty social commentary.

6. Visual Arts › Anne Launcelott: STREET. Through June 30. Photographer Anne Launcelott returns to her methods of shooting travel fine art photography in black and white. The street images are candid, non-invasive and spontaneous.

Halifax punk-rockers Weekend Dads celebrate their latest EP (see number 1). - HEATHER GRANT
  • Halifax punk-rockers Weekend Dads celebrate their latest EP (see number 1).
  • Heather Grant

5. Literary › Left Bank Writers Meeting. Thu Jun 23, 6:30pm. The Left Bank writers are a collection of local poets and poetry enthusiasts who meet to share work and discuss the art of pairing words. Grab a cup of complimentary coffee and meet some fellow poetry lovers!

4. Outdoors › The Summer Sky 2016. Thu Jun 23, 7:15pm. Learn all about the stars dotting the summer sky and their constellations! See bright planets and maybe even make a wish.

3. Live Music › The Rap Turn Up w/Ghettosocks, Ok TK, Tachichi & Moves. Sat Jun 25, 10pm. A mix of old hip-hop favourites and new tracks from local MCs, this is a party you won't wanna miss!

2. Stages Theatre Festival › The Blazing World Workshop Production. Fri Jun 24, 8pm. Colleen MacIsaac reimagines Margaret Cavendish's 1666 epic science fiction tale The Blazing World to reflect the contemporary issue of climate change.

1. Live Music › Weekend Dads EP Release Party w/ Crossed Wires, Dyscontrol, Noise Policy. Fri Jun 24,10pm. Halifax pop-punks the Weekend Dads are celebrating their return from a European tour and the hometown release of their latest EP. Join them as they party all night with Crossed Wires, Dyscontrol and Noise Policy!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Daveband's first EP is a warm wave hello

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 4:56 PM

  • Morgan Mullin

The members of Halifax’s Daveband are happy and don’t care who knows it. The four piece, who describe themselves as vintage, Buddy-Holly-era rock ’n’ roll, are smiling wide over cups of coffee in their favourite diner.

The band members have every reason to be beaming: While they sit, their debut, self-titled EP is at the printers getting emblazoned with the band’s logo before its release concert at Gus’ Pub on Tuesday, June 21 at 9pm.

The three-song effort is a brief introduction to the 11-month-old band, but instantly offers an idea of who they are through storytelling lyrics and upbeat melodies. Daveband's sound is “quick and propulsive, non-psychedelic sunshine-y pop,” says drummer Kevin MacIsaac, while the others laugh.

“It’s kinda earnest. There’s something very fun and approachable and friendly in a way that a lot of musicians shy away from,” adds lead guitarist Campbell Woods.

“A lot of my songs are about being in my 20s and working a job and being a dirtbag on the weekends in Halifax. I strive to write simple, honest, relatable songs,” says lead vocalist and guitarist David Archibald (and yes, he’s the “Dave” in Daveband).

Perhaps Woods sums the band's musical aim best: “It’s interesting to be super-specific. Maybe you’ll connect with less people but the people you do connect with completely identify with the situation you’re talking about. It’s to take something sort of mundane and weave in a profound underpinning.”

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Sure Thing Events

  • The Last Ride of Dr G? UFO’s Farewell Show @ The Carleton Music Bar & Grill

    • Thu., July 28, 9 p.m. $6
  • SappyFest (Summer Festivals)

    • Fri., July 29, Sat., July 30 and Sun., July 31 $100
    • Buy Tickets
  • Jimmy Swift Band Reunion Tour @ The Marquee Ballroom

    • Fri., July 29, 10 p.m. $14/$20

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Vol 24, No 8
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