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Friday, September 18, 2015

Retro vibes: the 2015 Atlantic Film Fest full program announced

A solid lineup of documentaries, bio pics and intense thrillers, plus Sloan is coming!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 1:25 AM

aff2015_digitalscreen_1.jpg

The 35th Atlantic Film Festival announced the full program this morning at The Lord Nelson Hotel. There was cake, popcorn and coffee and I also met my childhood hero, CTV's Liz Rigney. Along with the earlier-announced Atlantic Canadian selections, AFF 2015 offers an exciting lineup of award-winning domestic and international features and shorts hitting Halifax theatres from September 17 to September 24.  Here are a few of my must-see picks (I'm really into the retro throwbacks about singers and the world wars) plus a few highlights from the full program. Tickets are available online. The in-person box office opens September 11. 

Tom Hiddleston as tragic country legend Hank Williams
  • Tom Hiddleston as tragic country legend Hank Williams

My most anticipated film of 2015: I Saw The Light: The Hank Williams Story. Directed, written and produced by Mark Abraham, the film stars Tom Hiddleston as one of the greatest and most tragic country singers of all time. There's no trailer yet. My bucket's got a hole in it. 

Mavis! - Documentary Trailer from Film First on Vimeo.


Mavis! is a doc tribute to R&B/gospel singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples. With her Chicago-bred Soul Train family-band, The Staple Sisters, and as a commanding solo performer, Mavis' messages of peace and equality in the 1960s still need to be heard and heeded today. 



The Stanford Prison Experiment is a dramatic thriller based on professor Philip Zimbardo's fucked up psychological trials at Stanford University in 1971. The retro aesthetic looks cool as heck and the film's casting of almost-only hot dudes is turning me on. Analyze that, baby. 


*Oscar Alert* One of two Nazi-themed films, Labyrinth of Lies (German: Im Labyrinth des Schweigens) is set in 1960s Germany as the country attempts to forget the horrors of Auschwitz. A portrait of a nation ravaged by murder and shame; a man who wants justice. 


*Oscar Alert* Another Nazi one with a stellar Christopher Plummer performance, the Atom Egoyan-directed Canadian drama Remember is another story of memory and revenge after WWII. A portrait of a nation ravaged by murder and shame; a man who wants justice. 


Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta will be in attendance for the Closing Night feature, Beeba Boys, the untold story of Vancouver's Sikh drugs and arms traffickers. A first look at the true-crime world of Canadian-East Indian gangsters, Beeba Boys is an emblem of Mehta's bold filmmaking: "Mix bhangra beats, AK-47s, bespoke suits and cocaine and you get Beeba Boys.

In the heart-warmer category, comedy-great Lily Tomlin stars in Grandma, a hip and indie-looking reverse-Juno (knocked-up teen learns the meaning of life or whatever) and tear-jerker Brooklyn, a 1950s romantic-drama by love-sap writer Nick Hornby. It looks really pretty but it feels like an off-brand Titantic draft written by a male film student. Basically, if I'm getting my period that week, I'm into these, but I'm way more excited for twisted Nazi movies and Josua Oppenheimer's documentary, The Look of Silence. 


A companion film to the Danish director's 2012 The Act of Killing, with exec production by masters of doc-cinema Werner Herzog and Errol Morris, The Look of Silence focuses on an optician confronting his family's murderers in the Indonesian genocide of 1965-66. 

These are only a few of the amazing films at AFF 2015, so check out the full program now! As a very special bonus, AFF presents Festival Music House Atlantic on September 19 at The Marquee Ballroom, featuring performances by The Brood, Rose Cousins, Buck 65 and the best band in the whole damn world, Sloan. Yes, that's right. OUR BOYS ARE BACK.

It's going to be a great 2015 Atlantic Film Festival! Stay tuned. 


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Friday, August 28, 2015

Dark Arts: Matt Samways' gothic lounge this Saturday night

The multidisciplinary art and music event challenges time and experience

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 3:25 PM

Sleep and Longevity: a sensory-sound party Saturday at The Khyber - MATT SAMWAYS
  • Sleep and Longevity: a sensory-sound party Saturday at The Khyber
  • Matt Samways


"The more you sleep, the less you live. It's pretty simple really," says Matt Samways, electronic artist and the head of Halifax-based avant-garde label, Electric Voice Records.

On Saturday night, Samways presents Sleep and Longevity, a multidisciplinary sensory-sound party at The Khyber (10pm, $5). With previous performances at Halifax's outsider art festival OBEY Convention, Samways has shifted his artistic practice from analog and digital electronic-experimental songs — heavy, dark, disorienting, passionate — to a live band. He'll sing six songs from his repertoire of releases backed by the instrumentation of Jeremy Costello and Nick Dourado (Special Costello), with Seamus Dalton and Josh Salter (Monomyth). 

Sleep and Longevity, a "gothic lounge," also features electro-artist JFM (performing as GIA): "Bass-heavy and trashy," says Samways. There will also be performances by drone-experimentalist Moss Harvest and oblique-house music by DJ Claire Dragon, with a set by fresh scrap-jazz band Kurt Inder and live visual projections by Alex van Helvoort. The collaborative and engaging event is inspired by Samways' somber, challenging and consistent aesthetic principles. 

"By taking up the components of my electronic instruments and transcribing them to acoustic and electric instruments and saxophone, we maintain the overarching aesthetic but it is presented under a different vibe," he says, "It's the same principle but in a different voice." As someone who operates on the fringes, who consciously rejects societal norms, Samways says "Sleep and Longevity" is inspired by his inability to sleep — his periods of insomnia cause periods of creation. 

"Our biological and internal clocks are trained by society to function in a certain way. They shouldn't be," he says, "You can retrain the body and get more from life by changing your relationship to time. Because this is subversive as an idea, the expression of myself through my art is also going to be subversive, transgressive and sometimes perverse." His practice is thus motivated by his development and experience of each present moment: "It's about living the most you can while you can, because eventually we're all going to disintegrate ... thankfully." The event will be an exposure to the painful aspects of chronological experience. Wear black. 


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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tips on chips: two great music shows to see tonight

Double down on these sound bites at The Company House or Gus' Pub, or both!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 4:04 PM

Klarka Weinwurm - DANIELLE ASPEN
  • Klarka Weinwurm
  • Danielle Aspen

You know when you're standing at Needs in front of the chips, not sure what to buy? Well, my hot dogs, I've got some tips for you. Tonight, Halifax has options with two great shows: crunchy rock jams or smooth pop-rock serenades. Honestly, I'm torn like a bag of Doritos. Should we split the difference? Should we try to do both? All I know is that it's snack time and I'm hungry. 

To get your crunch on, check out Sackville, NB's Klarka Weinwurm with Halifax crispers The Grubbies and the always-fresh Craig Currie and The Hot Products (10pm, $5).

As the garage-rock Weinwurm gears up to move back to Halifax, it'll likely be the last show with Weinwurm's current band: "We'll be performing as a three-piece. Three large pieces of pie to fill up Gus' stage. But a new life means a new band," she says. Since her May cassette EP, Huddle, she's been recording a Headless Owl split with Jon McKiel, so keep your potatoes peeled for that. 

Speaking of peeled potatoes, The Grubbies haven't played a show since December, guitarist Adam Mowery tells me. He also adds: "My chip of choice are Cheetos Corn Twists, those salty yellow scrunches in a bag." With guitarist Andrew Mazzerole, The Grubbies offer classic pop jams about pretty cool things, like chips. I like chips. Mazzerole's favourite chips these days are the special edition Covered Bridge Sloppy Joe flavour. I ate a whole bag of those just yesterday. Treat yourself, you know?  Weinwurm adds that Currie's new-ish band will surprise you, and also her fave chip flavour is Old Dutch Sour Cream & Onion, a classic. 


Toronto's Bernice
  • Toronto's Bernice


But if you want to get your smooth on, there's an ultra sweet folk-rock and ambient-pop combo show at The Company House with Toronto's Bernice, Virginia's Devon Sproule and Halifax's Old & Weird (8pm, $10). Label-mates Sproule and Bernice have been touring companions the last few years, and both got wrangled up with Old & Weird through a friend of a friend: "It was a correct hunch that we'd love them," says Bernice's vocalist/songwriter Robin Dann. This show is all wound up like a Twizzler; Sproule is closely connected to Halifax's Mike O'Neill (the duo released Colours in 2013), who often plays with Old & Weird.

Bernice is also selling a tour "cassingle," says Dann, "One track off of our upcoming record, and a series of really beautiful remixes by some of our favourite musicians." And much like the soft-folk of Sproule, Bernice is a sonic feast for your ears and heart.  "I think what I like most, when I listen to a song that I love, is that it makes me see into my own life and experience with fresh eyes," she says, "I hope our songs have the imagery and feeling that allows for some self-help." 

For the record (my personal interest in chips), Dann likes Covered Bridge's Lobster specials. 



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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

String Things: German artist Helmut Lemke performs tonight

A collaborative improv sound performance, plus a poem by Andrew Patterson

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Helmut Lemke performs tonight - HTTP://WWW.SOUND-ART.DE/
  • Helmut Lemke performs tonight
  • http://www.sound-art.de/

Tonight, UK-based, German sound and performance artist Helmut Lemke presents "Long Strings 'n' Short Encounters" at The Bus Stop Theatre (8pm), a collaborative, improvisational concert experience with Paul Cram (sax/ clarinet), Brandon Auger (modular synth), Lukas Pearse (bass) and Andrew Patterson (reading). It will be his only performance in Halifax. 

As one of the the Ballast artists at the White Rabbit Arts Festival last weekend, Lemke performed stringed sound experiences solo, and with drummer/artist Lindsay Dobbin (Gift from God), the culmination of his three-week residency. There, he also met Halifax poet Patterson, who will read excerpts from modern language poet Ron Silliman's Sunset Debris. 

Patterson attempts to describe Lemke's installations and performances during White Rabbit: "Helmut is really into installation work, building contraptions out of drum kits and fishing rods, with little motors to make them run," he says, "At White Rabbit, he did a performance with Lindsay where they were in the ocean, with contact mics, and Helmut was playing a reel of fishing line that was out in the water. There was a guy with a solar panel on his back powering the amps, which were in a wheelbarrow, and moved as the tide went out. It was essentially a mobile performance of playing the tide line. Hard to describe. He also put fishing line across a pond and played the strings. I think tonight he's playing the room. It's pretty out-there stuff."

Lemke also hosted workshops at White Rabbit, which entailed listening as shared experience: "We'd get up early in the morning and all draw what we heard," explains Patterson, "Helmut is really interested in the interactions of language." Naturally, as a poet, Patterson shares these interests. "I stopped seeing a boundary between composition and improv. Any performance has a set of parameters, but they're different for improv, which is something I'm learning."

In the wake of White Rabbit, Patterson has been writing semi-collaborative poetry with Chicago-based artist Anna Wolfe-Pauly, in the spirit of Shiomi Mieko's "Spatial Poem No. 2" circa 1966. The project is a simultaneous listening and writing experience. For the last four days, at 5:00pm in Halifax (3:00pm in Chicago), both Patterson and Wolfe-Pauly write about exactly what they're hearing at that time. They then have 24 hours to send the poems to each other. Below, Patterson shares one of his poems from this series, written during Saturday's power outage. 

Check out the Facebook event for more information about tonight's performance. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

SOUND REPORT
Nova Scotia ... 5:00pm // August 22nd . 2015

ANDREW PATTERSON 


Swish-
swishing of pants
and moisture parting

in step

Ever a siren
just
barely, off somewhere.

It's suddenly after-work-or-before-work-ending
and everyone has keys
or small bits of change

and children
announce the days to come.

What the crosswalk
does to the sound
of
cars in motion

(and one, two, three) gear
sets freely
strung along the close

- Did the power go out everywhere?
- Oh . . . I didn't notice. It hardly made a sound.


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Rock Show: Photos from bands at Polly's Cove Trail

An outdoor show on Saturday plus a new Surveillance video

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 1:24 PM

Nigel Chapman (Nap Eyes) solo set - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Nigel Chapman (Nap Eyes) solo set
  • Adria Young

This past humid Saturday afternoon, a bunch of Halifax bands carried gear, a generator and sweet summer snacks to the old lookout on the Polly's Cove Trail, a rugged path with a beautiful view of Peggy's Cove. Organized by Matt Peters, the Polly's Cove Summer Show featured eight sets of folk, rock, sludge and electronica on rock beds. Real rock and roll. This reporter (me) slept in until 3:30pm, so I missed Escape Tapes and Sledge, but after grilling hot dogs and drinking coffee, I snapped a few photos as the day moved between light and grey. It was a pretty sick show.

Matt Peters (organizer) kept things rolling - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Matt Peters (organizer) kept things rolling
  • Adria Young

Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis) solo set - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis) solo set
  • Adria Young

Bad Vibrations (sometimes "Bad Vibes") - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Bad Vibrations (sometimes "Bad Vibes")
  • Adria Young

Evan Cardwell (Bad Vibes) - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Evan Cardwell (Bad Vibes)
  • Adria Young

Bloodhouse - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Bloodhouse
  • Adria Young

Bloodhouse - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Bloodhouse
  • Adria Young

The sun came out, Nick Dourado says peace - ADRIA YOUNG
  • The sun came out, Nick Dourado says peace
  • Adria Young

Dave Burns (Surveillance) - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Dave Burns (Surveillance)
  • Adria Young

Rachel Fry and Tri Le (Surveillance) - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Rachel Fry and Tri Le (Surveillance)
  • Adria Young

Josh Salter and Evan Cardwell: "For the homies" - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Josh Salter and Evan Cardwell: "For the homies"
  • Adria Young

Surveillance - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Surveillance
  • Adria Young

Gift From God (Kira Daube, Lindsay Dobbin, Liz Johnson) - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Gift From God (Kira Daube, Lindsay Dobbin, Liz Johnson)
  • Adria Young

Liz Johnson (Gift From God) - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Liz Johnson (Gift From God)
  • Adria Young

Nigel Chapman and Danika Vandersteen - ADRIA YOUNG
  • Nigel Chapman and Danika Vandersteen
  • Adria Young


Check out all of these bands online or at an upcoming show (I'll let you know). And this just in: Surveillance released a new video today in anticipation of their upcoming seven-inch (check out Dave Burns' label Various Records, you distortion-loving freaks). Memories of the rock. 

Surveillance- Surveillance from julienwb on Vimeo.


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Friday, August 21, 2015

Interview with L.A. rock band Fragile Gang on love and loss

Southwest sunset meet pop-rock sunrise tonight at Gus' Pub

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 5:40 PM

L.A. via Austin rock band Fragile Gang in El Paso
  • L.A. via Austin rock band Fragile Gang in El Paso

"Bands are like gangs," says Arlo Klahr of Fragile Gang, "Gangs need each other to be strong."

Tonight at Gus' Pub, Fragile Gang brings their folky post-punk, hazy heartfelt pop jams all the way to Gus' Pub. The touring duo will be joined by Toronto post-punk band Casper Skulls, with Halifax locals Josh Salter and fuzzy pop ensemble The Everywheres ($5, 10:00pm). 

Klahr, a Toronto-born singer and multi-instrumentalist who also lived in Cape Breton, met Aisling Cormack (originally from Ireland) at their El Paso, Texas high-school, "in what I'd call the punk scene," he says. Since then, "We've lived in a lot of different places together — New York, Dublin, Austin, Berkeley — like 'rolling stones, like complete unknowns." A decade ago, the duo settled in L.A. but continue to tour. Klahr says they hate and love it like no other. 

Since 2003, Fragile Gang have released album upon album of songs that feel like scrapbooks of their travels and range of instrumentation: emerald harmonies, acoustic strums, heavy punk interludes, jangled post-punk melodies, harmonicas, electronicas, mandolins and violins, wailing fretboard crawls and a lo-fi attitude. Southern spice, Manhattan grit, songs to sing along. 

The touring duo usually record and sometimes play with Matthew Schmitz (drums) and Kiki Solis (bass): "That's part of the sense of Fragile Gang, we and our friends," says Klahr. 

Last November, Fragile Gang released the nine-track album For Esme. It's a painful tribute and a honoured remembrance of one of the band's dearest friends: "Esme Barrera was murdered by a stranger in the early hours of New Year's Day in 2012 in her house in Austin," explains Klahr, "She was an inspiration to us. She was a volunteer at a girl's rock camp in Austin, a teacher for special needs children, a DJ, a record store employee, the life of the party, just full of life."

Despite her petite and shy demeanour, and issues with her health, Barrera was bold: "She was our biggest (and it felt like sometimes our only) supporter." After Fragile Gang's first show, which they thought sucked, "Esme came up to us and said, 'I'm your biggest fan. Can I be in your fan club?" 

After Barrera's murder: "We tried to get on with our lives and play and write an album but we just found that many of the songs we were singing somehow revolved around her. Like in, "You Are My Rock N Roll Star," we sing, "I'm in your fan club, / You really move me, / I'll be your roadie." Really, we were her fan club. We took her example and tried to better ourselves." 


They started volunteering at an L.A. girl's rock camp: "I was the only boy that year in the camp," says Klahr, "I was one of the roadies. It felt so good to see these young girls rocking out and learning confidence, and all the time thinking of Esme and what she would do or say. Everyone loved her. So thematically, the album is about grief, and there are sad songs, but it's also about celebration and joy. Remembering the joy and the wild life Esme had. Also remembering to try your best and celebrate and live in the beautiful kind warm moments and movements, he says." 


For Esme is delicate yet tough and raw and loud: "There'll be a quiet song that comes from our sadness, but then there's one where we've put our all into creating as much joy and volume and noise as we could," says Klahr, "All that leads into 'fragile' and what the name means to us." 

I ask about my favourite song from Wire's 1977 record: "The Wire comparison is right on! 'Fragile' has always been a band favourite. And of course there's The Pastels song we named ourselves after off 1997 album, Illumination. Hearing those lyrics and that shambling music and soft voice for the first time solidified a lot of things we had been feeling and thinking about," he says, "I think there's a paradox at the heart of popular music: vulnerability and strength, needing each other, a scene, an audience, a group of friends, a band." Sometimes you need a gang. 


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Flood Together: Q&A with Floodland's Lauchie Headrick

Halifax's fab four play Abbey Road tonight at The Carleton

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 at 3:46 PM

Floodland as The Beatles - SEAN MACGILLIVARY
  • Floodland as The Beatles
  • Sean MacGillivary


In April, Halifax’s Floodland released It’s The Fire, which featured the single “Old School,” a perfectly named rock jam for this four-piece rock band. Across the universe of their releases, Floodland brings classic pop sounds into modern indie rock, like a revolver.

To shake it up, baby, Floodland’s been covering legendary Beatles songs in live performances. With other modern songs, Floodland might be the city's best Beatles cover band. 

Tonight at The Carleton Bar & Grill ($5, 9:30pm), Floodland will play their original jams, plus some Radiohead, Alvvways and Morrissey covers. But they’ll also play the entirety of Abbey Road, an album that’s iconic not just for its artwork, but as the last recorded record by the band (recorded after the already tracked but later released finale, Let It Be). Abbey features the most of George Harrison’s Moog synth; it's the first album without a cohesive narrative; it’s the last with a Ringo Starr solo. It might not be your favourite one, but it's so heavy. 

I talked to Lauchie Headrick, Floodland’s Macca, to get the Mersey beat on tonight's show.  


Q: I know you’re the Paul, but who in the band is each Beatle?
A: Deep down, I think we all wish we were Billy Preston *cue organ solo*

Q: Why Abbey Road? Why did you choose this album?
A: Abbey Road is just one of those albums, you know? A classic. We’ve all had a moment with it. Also, Abbey Road is the only album with “Octopus’s Garden," so it seemed like the logical choice.

Q: Last month, you did Beatles Night at the Casino. What did you cover?
A: What didn’t we cover? We played about three hours worth of material, which equals out to about 3,245 songs. It was a magical evening. Journey was also playing at Alderney Landing and we could hear “Don’t Stop Believin’” across the water. The music gods were smiling on us that night.

Q: When did Floodland start following the sun as a Beatles cover band?
A: We’ve put this together about three or four times now. It started when we heard that The Stogies did a Rolling Stones tribute show. The Stogies are our rivals. We had to do something.

Q: Why do you think these songs are so precious almost 50 years later?
A: That's an excellent question, Adria, and I’m not sure I have the answer to it, but I think that it really says something (for itself) when a group of sweaty indie rockers in 2015 can dig into these songs from the 1960s and discover new sounds and inspirations.

Q: Any Beatles moments? Thousands of teens chasing you in alleys? Got a Yoko? 
A: Typically, after a Beatles tribute show, the only people chasing you through alleys are thousands of old men wanting to discuss the bass line in “Something.” Occasionally, we get the odd blister on our finger. And we are now having open auditions for the role of Yoko. Please contact.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bid on Joel Plaskett tickets for The Khyber

Bust out the money bags to save arts and culture in Halifax

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 12:25 PM

joelp.jpeg


Just this morning, Halifax-Dartmouth hero Joel Plaskett opened an Ebay auction for two tickets to the sold out Joel Plaskett Emergency Down at The Shore Club on September 4. 

The event is a benefit for The Khyber Building Fund to restore The Khyber Building (1588 Barrington Street), which has been facing a red-tape nightmare since the city closed its doors last year until further notice. Plaskett has been an advocate of saving the Khyber since then. 

Bids start at $250.00 and include two "I Met My Love Down at the Khyber" hoodies. The auction is open for nine days; the winner will be supporting one of the most important arts buildings in Halifax history. You can find out more via Friends of the Khyber. Biddy-up. 



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Mark Little's Good Dad Tonight Returns Tomorrow

Catch the variety/sketch talk show at the Bus Stop Theatre on Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Good Dad Tonight: Tomorrow!
  • Good Dad Tonight: Tomorrow!

For the last few summers, while filming CBC series Mr. DToronto-based/former-Picnicface comedian Mark Little has hosted a whacky talk show called Good Morning Tonight.

What started in 2012 as a sketch show in the sweltering Khyber attic — with Andy Bush, Cheryl Hann, Brian MacQuarrie and more — Good Morning Tonight became such an annual hit that the ensemble cast staged a sold-out special for the Halifax Pop Explosion last fall. 

Tomorrow, Good Dad Tonight returns for two back-to-back shows at The Bus Stop Theatre, a comedy grab-bag with Little and Hann, Geordie Miller, Everardo Ramirez, Struan Sutherland, Paul Doucette and musical guests Rich Aucoin and Windom Earle.

The show usually centres around Andy Bush, now a hot-shot L.A. director who comes home for summer vacation. Little soon appears as Bush’s father, “Rollie,” who routinely interrupts and humiliates Bush's attempts to host his own talk show. This year, with Bush still in L.A., Rollie is left to his own devices as the host of Good Dad Tonight. Rollie never holds back. That’s his thing.

“My son Andy isn't here yet so there’s more time for me, Dad, to bring you the freshest takes on the latest political snafus and some classic bits,” says Rollie, “When it comes to good old-fashioned fun, Good Dad Tonight is like a comedy version of Kelsey’s: family-friendly and full of love."

"We’ve switched things up to bring you more music and even more laughter. Rich Aucoin will be on hand to perform one of his ‘youth anthems’ or whatever he calls them. I told him no parachutes and he threw a fit so we’ll see what happens. Windom Earle will also play some songs. This might be their last show so it could be an emotional night for their many fan. That’s not a typo.”

Miller and Rollie on the Comedy Couch
  • Miller and Rollie on the Comedy Couch

Rollie says he’ll perform some skits with “skit vets from the horribly named Picnicface” as Miller and Doucette “reprise their roles as non-contributors.” Along with Good Dad Tonight, Rollie reveals his other highlight of the summer: “Two words: Jazz. Fest.” He says it'll be fun, as always. 

Tickets for both shows are sold out, but a few are available at the door ($10, 8pm/10pm). 


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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mauno Myth: Trio Release Album Wednesday night

Halifax pop group mixes analog and digital at Menz Bar

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Evan Matthews, Eliza Niemi, Nick Everett (Mauno)
  • Evan Matthews, Eliza Niemi, Nick Everett (Mauno)

"It's a study of digital and analog — the difference between them and what happens when they're combined," says Nick Everett, one of the three musical wizards of Mauno ("mao-no"). With Evan Matthews and Eliza Niemi, the experimental pop group releases Rough Master with Dories, Foam and Kurt Inder on Wednesday night at Menz Bar ($8, 8:30pm). 

The album's six tracks were recorded in May at Montreal's Drones Club by Mike Wright, who is one of Mauno's inspirations: "We are all influenced by pieces of the Halifax canon past and present, particularly Long Long Long and Each Other," says Everett (both bands in which Wright is involved), "We want to make pop songs. Concision, efficiency, direction. But we love all sorts of music and sound. Quickly set up little worlds then move on."

Matthews says: "We all have different backgrounds that seem to complement each other. Eliza has a background in classical cello, R&B, and prog rock. I have a background in classical percussion, punk rock, and session work. Nick has a background in folk music and choral music. We share an affinity for pop structure and experimentalism and the ways in which they manifest themselves." 

In other words, Everett says, "Evan brings the van, Eliza brings the chips, I bring the doubt."



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Monday, August 17, 2015

In-Flight Safety's Got Stockholm Syndrome

Halifax ambient-pop band releases new single and tour dates

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM

MEGHAN TANSEY-WHITTON
  • Meghan Tansey-Whitton


Halifax's careful ambient pop-band In-Flight Safety recently released a new single, "Stockholm," to announce a new EP to be released in September, alongside a couple mini-tours in the fall. Plus, visual artist Graeme Patterson is currently working on a music vid to be released later this month, says the band's vocalist/guitarist John Mullane. No surprise that In-Flight Safety references Sweden's capital city; their music has strong European-pop influences and interests. 

Mullane says that the EP features a collaboration with a fan, "some acoustic-y stuff, a B-side and maybe a cover. We just wanted to put together some stuff we had kicking around that we never got to finish. August is the best month for recording because it's nice and slow and summery." 

While he hated flying when he started the band in 2003, Mullane now likes it: "My favourite part is the meal and movie time," he says, "It's very relaxing for me. There's no cell phones or emails or calls, and I enjoy the solitude up there." Have a listen to "Stockholm" below. Then take off, eh. 



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Friday, August 14, 2015

Q&A with Cactus Flower's Jess Lewis

The groovy goddess plays from new album Magic Hour tonight at The Seahorse

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis)
  • Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis)

Last month, Halifax singer-songwriter Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis) released her first full-length, Magic Hour. It's an album that was years in the making but completely worth the wait.

Splitting her time between several projects — as a harmonious vocalist in Dark for Dark, as a technician in Halifax theatre productions, as a player in three other bands — Lewis was patient in creating Magic Hour. As a result, her collection of psych-folk inspired tracks showcase her deep smokey voice, her interests in narrative and storytelling and the like-minded musical chops of friends who perfectly complement such poetic and moving songs.

Tonight, Cactus Flower plays The Seahorse with Halifax flange-rock gods Monomyth and Walrus ($10, 10pm). It'll be an experience that channels one of rock and roll’s most exploratory eras: harmonic combinations, exotic tones and colourful emotions. Have you ever been experienced? Are you feeling groovy, baby? I'm feeling groovy, baby. 

Q: "China Blue" came out in 2012. When did you start recording Magic Hour
A: Most of the songs on the album have been around for awhile now. Since Cactus Flower is my own project, it means I’m the only one to motivate myself and make it all happen. “China Blue” was probably one of the first things I wrote that I made into a complete song and that I was willing to share with people. I may have started “China Blue” as long as eight years ago! But I think it just took until last summer to really get the full-album ball rolling. Let’s say the stars finally aligned. The songs on Magic Hour are some of the first songs I wrote and I think they fit well together.

Q: You've got a strong psychedelia vibe. What appeals to you about '60s sounds? 
A: I don’t know what it is that appeals to me about the ‘60s sounds so much. But music from the ‘60s and ‘70s has always been my favourite. The bulk of what I listen to comes from that era. Of course, what I listen to is going to effect what I create. I tend to write more folky numbers and I wanted to find a way to get things a bit more rockin’, and throw in splashes of that ‘60s psychedelia where I could. Really, I wanted to make an album that I’d listen to.

Q: Tell me about the musicians you worked with on the album?
A: That choice was a no-brainer. I am very grateful I got to make the album with some of my best pals. I’ve been playing music with Levon (Campbell) and Dave (Ewenson) for years. Evan (Cardwell) is a great bass player and a great person. We all have similar tastes in music so I knew they’d get what I wanted to go for. I knew it’d be a fun and easy recording environment. Plus, I literally paid for their time in booze and burritos so it was a real sweet deal.

Q: When exactly is the magic hour?
A: I wanted a title that rhymed with Cactus Flower and Magic Hour worked in a number of ways. I think it’s a really nice looking time of day, when the sun is just setting and the light starts to change. The colours get rich and lovely and everything seems to glow. I also liked the idea of the album being ‘Cactus Flower’s Magic Hour,’ as in, an hour of music that’s actually only 34 minutes long. I thought that was pretty funny.

Q: I think my favourite track is “Lady and Red,” it’s so wavy — Hawaiian slides, sweet wordplay, a love story. Those parts feel important, and very country and western.
A: I find writing the lyrics the hardest part of songwriting. I feel like I try to avoid writing love songs. I’m certainly not interested in writing about anything too personal. I prefer to write about situations or funny characters. I do consider “Lady in Red” a love song, but as a cute little fictional story. And the lyrics to “Lady in Red” were inspired by the lyrics in “The Diary of Horace Wimp” by ELO. But the songs aren’t really similar, except about sad lonely people getting married. “You Messed Up” is meant to be a hurtin’ love song, in a country and western way. But most of my songs are about cats and dumb things like TV characters. Maybe I’m good at making it all sound more poetic than that.
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Going through the (e)motions at Fat Wrecked

Flooded with feelings at Fat Wreck Chords' 25th anniversary tour

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 5:13 PM

ERIC MATHESON
  • Eric Matheson

I’ll be honest, Fat Wreck Chords predates me. But the legendary punk label's artists were there when I needed them, stumbling into my lap in the form of the Warped Tour 2005 compilation CD. I wasn't allowed to attend Warped Tour 2005, so I was just an angsty 12-year-old with a Discman and a long family vacation ahead of me. The tunes inside changed my life.

At the Fat Wreck Chords 25th anniversary tour at the Cunard Centre on Monday night, I saw seven of the label's artists in action and it put me through a gauntlet of emotions, both positive and otherwise. 


I arrived just after toyGuitar began their set as the cavernous Cunard Centre began to fill with people. Hanging out in the all-ages area was magical––the under-12 showgoers were my favourite, decked out in tiny denim vests and too-big NOFX t-shirts.

I was flooded with fond memories of being a tween in oversized band merch and I felt excited for all the kids who were experiencing a punk show for the first time, thrashing, singing along, dancing with joy-some with their dads in tow. Later in the night, some found their way into the pit. All-ages shows are as rare as they are valuable, the few opportunities that minors have to enjoy live music should be celebrated. These kids celebrated.

The absolutely delightful toyGuitar delivered the upbeat rock realness. The fun, surfy vibes of the set were a great contrast to the devil-may-care attitudes of the rest of the night’s acts. Laid-back but never lazy, the carefree set was a perfect introduction to the evening. Drummer Rosie Gonce smiled and smashed her way through the set effortlessly.

Without a doubt, Masked Intruder’s set was the highlight of my evening. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, they’re a campy, gimmicky four-piece that wear balaclavas on stage and sing almost exclusively about robbing people. They have a hype-man in tow, Officer Bradford, whose job is to dress up like a police officer and play the heel, crowd-surf and start the pit.

Masked Intruder stealing hearts - ERIC MATHESON
  • Masked Intruder stealing hearts
  • Eric Matheson

I ended up on Officer Bradford’s back in the pit before he hauled me up on stage to dance with him to “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” Given my fears of both masked men and crowds, it was as terrifying as it was thrilling.

Heather Grant (of local act Crossed Wires) was pulled on stage to sing “Heart Shaped Guitar” with Masked Intruder near the end of what was by far the most energetic set of the evening. Masked Intruder have absolutely hip gyrated, soloed and high-kicked their way into my heart.

The Flatliners have got "Fangs" - ERIC MATHESON
  • The Flatliners have got "Fangs"
  • Eric Matheson

The Flatliners opened their set with an obligatory joke about being young. I was largely underwhelmed with the beginning of the set, hoping for more energy. My prayers were answered, though, when they burst into “Fangs,” a track they released alongside “Resuscitation of the Year” back in March, and it breathed new life into the crowd, ramping up the anticipation as the sound got heavier.

Swingin’ Utters were great. All the uncouthness I expected, their punk rock cred evident in their swagger. They joked about Halifax and Canada as a whole, asking the crowd if Mad Men is even on TV “up here” before launching into an explosive rendition of “Tibetan Book of the Damned.” Their entire set was tight, well-practiced and fantastically executed while their stage show was perfectly unpredictable. Frontman Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel’s loose and careless movements made it clear that he’s grown comfortable but stayed authentic in the nearly thirty years he’s been performing.

#HairGoals with Strung Out - ERIC MATHESON
  • #HairGoals with Strung Out
  • Eric Matheson

By the time Strung Out took the stage, the Cunard Centre was packed to the rafters with people. The garage doors and large windows in the venue made an interesting atmosphere–because the show took place so early, the sun was not yet set by the time the fifth band began to play.

Strung Out got political, interjecting a snippet of John F. Kennedy’s infamous “Peace” speech between songs, the only real sombre moment of the evening. The bittersweet moment soon passed, and the band burst into a heavy (though a tad clumsy) set. It was largely predictable, and I came away a little disenchanted.

Lagwagon bringing people together - ERIC MATHESON
  • Lagwagon bringing people together
  • Eric Matheson

As the sun went down, the Cunard Centre finally felt like a punk venue instead of an airplane hangar. Lagwagon brought swaths of people out of the designated “drinking area” and up to the stage, bridging the age gap of the audience, but also the weird physical gap that existed for most of the show. Between jokes about not condoning drinking and driving but finding it “quite humorous,” Lagwagon slammed out 1994’s Trashed in its entirety, before closing with “May 16.” The room went–to put it gently–fucking nuts. It was absolutely sublime.

"Halifax is so much better than Saint John!"
  • "Halifax is so much better than Saint John!"

As security dragged crowd surfers over the barrier by their ankles, NOFX played The Longest Line in its entirety, much to the delight of die-hard fans. Much to the dismay of die-hard fans, Fat Mike was his usual divisive, inflammatory self. Unsurprisingly, some showgoers took off during his tirades when things got uncomfortable. Though NOFX champion themselves and their music as being anti-racist and pro-gay, making sorry-not-sorry transphobic and racist jokes under the guise of cheeky stage antics is harmful. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed.

I experienced so many things–joy, excitement, terror, disappointment, the dislocation of my shoulder in the pit–and I’m glad I did. The music was mostly great, the audience demographics were wide-ranging and unexpected––at times it felt like a punk rock family reunion. My experience was a ton of fun despite my conflicted feelings, but if I could do it again, I’d spend the whole show up front with the kids having their lives changed.

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Text to win tickets to see The Kiefer Sutherland Band!

Turns out Jack Bauer likes to rock and roll

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 3:46 PM

"We don't have much time!"
  • "We don't have much time!"


How often do you get a chance to see the jerk-punk from Stand By Me? The time is now!

Kiefer Sutherland, one of the original Lost Boys and notorious Hollywood party-dude, brings his alt-rock country-jams to Halifax this weekend. The Kiefer Sutherland Band will appear at The Carleton Bar & Grill on Saturday for a private fundraiser. And thanks to The Carleton, you can win tickets to see the man with a gun, Jack Bauer himself, at this exclusive event!

Just like in Sutherland's TV series 24, use your phone to enter the contest for tickets to this night of music that also features Cape Breton's Bobby Cameron, The Common Linnets (Netherlands), and Halifax's own The Carletones. The fundraiser kicks off at 9:30pm in support of local non-profit, child-focused organization, Family SOS. Follow the instructions to enter.

Text CARLETON to 770077 to learn how to join. Standard message rates may apply.”

The clock is ticking. 





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Everything's Comin' Up Kestrels

Longtime grunge-pop trio play Menz Bar tonight with beauts and more

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 1:54 PM

COURTESY OF KESTRELS
  • Courtesy of Kestrels

It’s been almost a year since grunge-pop trio Kestrels (Paul Brown, Chad PeckDevin Peck) have played in Halifax. Now on summer tour, the heavens have aligned for the band's local return. Octopi Entertainment presents Kestrels with Designosaur, beauts and Teleri tonight at Menz Bar ($8, 10pm): a milky way of sparkly tones. 

As the stars of Noyes Records, Chad Peck’s Truro-based imprint, Kestrels will throwback to their last release, 2014's The Moon is Shining Our Way EPwhile they also anticipate a new full-length next year. So be prepared for new jams: Kestrels has refined their classic garage-rock sounds. 

Smeared-era Sloan is the closest to what we do.To take pop songs and play them heavily and dreamily," describes Peck. "But our sound has shifted a bit in the past seven years, so the new record is trying to say more with fewer words. It’s really drum heavy and super-sonic sounding. There’s a lot of beauty in the layering. We’re really excited about it.”

As the head of Noyes Records, Peck is constantly exposed to new sounds in contemporary rock and shoegaze, which has always informed Kestrels. But he’s also a big pop fan. The Beach Boys and Taylor Swift get as much play on Peck’s turntable as the label's artists, like Austin’s noise-trio Ringo Deathstarr or Halifax’s Cousins. As a result, Kestrels occupies the same scrappy galaxy as Noyes' growing and impressive roster of artists.

All these influences add up to the overall vibe of the new album. Peck says the recording experience was frantic at times, between “recording and scrapping and re-recording, devising new guitar tunings and endlessly trying new guitar pedals and amp combinations in search of the sound I wanted. But it worked.” The album was mixed by Brad Wood, whose credits include work on records for The Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Veruca Salt.

“There are a bunch of songs on the record that we’ve never played live,” says Peck, “We wanted to give them a road test before the record is released.” Tonight’s the night: everything’s coming up Kestrels. You can even grab the new band shirt


New Kestrels merch: Yes, eat ALL of our shirts!
  • New Kestrels merch: Yes, eat ALL of our shirts!

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Sure Thing Events

  • Genius Child: Portia White at Town Hall feat. Harolyn Blackwell @ St. George's Round Church

    • Sat., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. $37.50
    • Buy Tickets

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Vol 27, No 20
October 10, 2019

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