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Friday, October 28, 2016

How to hit play like The Hitman

Wrestling legend Bret Hart shares his playlist.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 4:21 PM

click image Bret "The Hitman" Hart, a living example of using his powers for good. - VIA WWE SITE
  • Bret "The Hitman" Hart, a living example of using his powers for good.
  • via WWE site

Bret “The Hitman” Hart, the Alberta-born pro wrestler and survivor of a major stroke, is a big fan of the March of Dimes charity. So much that he became the face of MoD’s Stroke Recovery Canada program, or as we like to call it, the Hart & Stroke Foundation. The Hitman is in Halifax for Friday’s Rock for Dimes fundraiser/battle of the bands at the Cunard Centre, so we asked him for a playlist of his favourite songs. To groove like a legend, here’s what you wanna be listening to.

Sting, "Lithium Sunset" 
Sting, "Fill Her Up"
R.E.M., "Strange Currencies"
Bob Dylan, "Tryin' to Get to Heaven"
The Cure, "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea"
The Four Horsemen, "Rockin' Is Ma' Business"
Mighty Joe Moon, "Lady Godiva and Me"
Gordon Lightfoot, "Restless"
Hothouse Flowers, "Isn't It Amazing"
INXS, "Disappear"
Los Lobos, "Emily"
The Call, "What's Happened To You"
Mother Love Bone, "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns"
Tom Petty, "Crawling Back To You"
Simple Minds, "See The Lights"
Van Morrison, "I'm Not Feelin It Anymore"
Van Morrison, "Why Must I Always Explain?"
U2, "One"
The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"
Pearl Jam, "In My Tree"
Pearl Jam, "Given To Fly"
Pearl Jam, "Indifference"
ZZ Top, "My Head's In Mississippi"

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Monday, October 24, 2016

All over but the crying: Friday at HPX 2016 and the Saturday finale

With Partner, TUNS, Germaphobes, Cactus Flower, Basia Bulat and The Highest Order.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 11:30 PM

Basia Bulat's buttery voice was lovely as always Saturday at the Pop Explosion. - LAURA KENINS
  • Basia Bulat's buttery voice was lovely as always Saturday at the Pop Explosion.
  • Laura Kenins

I was a little surprised to have missed all of Monomyth’s set arriving at the Marquee Friday night, but chalked it up to my own lateness. Turns out the band had the sound cut prematurely after drunkenly acting out on stage. (Save it for Montreal, guys.)

Fortunately, no such incident befell Sackville, NB’s Partner. More than just the lesbian two-person answer to B.A. Johnston, Partner nails all of the jokes and all of the feelings—at least the ones you try not to get too serious about.

The pride of Sackville, NB, Partner’s performance is all-around fun. - LAURA KENINS
  • The pride of Sackville, NB, Partner’s performance is all-around fun.
  • Laura Kenins
With a live show that keeps the audience engaged, a grungy sound and songs that cover the range from going to class stoned to terrible jobs to unsubtle efforts to get Ellen Page’s attention (hey, we’ve all been there), Partner’s performance is all-around fun. I keep meaning to put together a playlist of songs about working shitty jobs by Halifax/Maritime bands (shout out to Dog Day’s "Oh Dead Life" and Old Man Luedecke’s "I Quit My Job" for getting me through my early 20s). Where was Partner when I was 23 and making $500 a month? (High school, presumably.) Luckily, the band is here now.

Later Friday, TUNS served up the ’90s Halifax nostalgia. The “all-star team,” as band member Mike O’Neill called it to Morgan Mullin in this week’s Coast, delighted the audience with a sunny, pop-rock performance harking back to a simpler time, when bands still played downtown and beers didn’t have lengthy ironic names.

After some sleep and an intense downpour, it didn’t seem like anything could have made Halifax feel sunny and light on a dreary Saturday evening, but Toronto’s Germaphobes were up to the task. It wasn’t just the tropical shirts; the band played a fun and energetic set even for the somewhat sparse crowd at Art Bar. Montreal’s Moss Lime’s subsequent performance passed in a too-brief 25 minutes and the band’s lo-fi acoustics felt a bit lost in the space.

Jess Lewis of Cactus Flower has the best pantsuit game in town. - LAURA KENINS
  • Jess Lewis of Cactus Flower has the best pantsuit game in town.
  • Laura Kenins
At the Marquee/Seahorse, I dodged the Marquee’s baseball-capped crowds to catch the first half of Cactus Flower’s set at the Seahorse, proving Jess Lewis has the best pantsuit game in town and delivering an enthusiastic, upbeat performance.

Dashing upstairs to catch Basia Bulat, the always-pulled-together Bulat had someone waiting in the wings for her with a sequined cape after her first song. Put this on my list of life goals, please. Playing a set of newer songs, Bulat’s buttery voice was lovely as always, with her newer music sounding both a touch poppier and darker than earlier recordings.

The Highest Order will make you wonder if it’s the reverb pedal, or Simone Schmidt’s voice naturally has that much reverb in it. - LAURA KENINS
  • The Highest Order will make you wonder if it’s the reverb pedal, or Simone Schmidt’s voice naturally has that much reverb in it.
  • Laura Kenins
Returning to the basement for The Highest Order, the band did not disappoint. Moving from psychedelic jams to slowing and deeper numbers, the band played most of its set bathed in a blue and impossible-to-photograph light. “Warm Front” brought out the best of Simone Schmidt’s haunting vocals. The band almost leaves you wondering if it’s the reverb pedal, or Schmidt’s voice naturally has that much reverb in it. Schmidt tried to encourage the audience to get out of their comfort zone through the set, asking everyone to switch sides of the room and complimenting some dancers who were using the music “for its intended purpose—other than crying.”

And now that HPX is done for another year, it’s time to sit back and listen to or wear your new purchases off the merch table, while you nurse that hangover that won’t go away until Wednesday. It’s OK if you cry.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Bright lights, gig city: The first two nights of HPX 2016

In which our correspondent digs She-Devils, White Lung, The Yips, Crossed Wires and Not You.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 7:35 PM

She-Devils' Audrey Ann Boucher and, in the background with his suitcase full of electronics, Kyle Jukka. - LAURA KENINS
  • She-Devils' Audrey Ann Boucher and, in the background with his suitcase full of electronics, Kyle Jukka.
  • Laura Kenins

The Art Bar was the perfect home Wednesday night for Montreal’s She-Devils. Audrey Ann Boucher dresses like a youthful version of Xavier Dolan’s belaguered mother in J’ai Tué Ma Mère, and the band plays like a soundtrack, with a smooth while electronic sound ranging from the dreamily droning to the upbeat. Bandmate Kyle Jukka hovers in the back with a suitcase full of electronics. Like being stuck on a film set from an unclear decade sometime in the second half of the twentieth century.

Thursday’s bill of locals Crossed Wires and Not You with out-of-towners White Lung and The Yips is one of the top lineups of the festival, with four loud female-fronted bands.

White Lung is so good I had to see them twice—on the main stage of The Marquee Wednesday, and downstairs Thursday at The Seahorse. The Vancouver punk group put on a loud, forceful performance at both. Vocalist Mish Barber-Way puts a clear take-no-shit attitude on stage, with a snarl echoing The Gits’ Mia Zapata. This band seemed equally at home in a pushy upstairs crowd or tossing microphones around downstairs. Could you jump around the Seahorse’s low-ceilinged stage in boots with six-inch heels? That’s right, you couldn’t.

Ottawa’s The Yips are heavier than their name suggests, with a psychedelic twang underlying the intensity of the post-punk vocals. Vocalist Kerri Carisse knows how to scream. Dark, raw and loud.

As for Not You, I may be biased: This is my editor Stephanie Johns' band, so I was going to love them even if I didn't love them. But having played only about four shows so far, two of them festival appearances, this is already a Halifax supergroup to be reckoned with. With Nancy Urich (Dog Day), Meg Yoshida (Bad Vibrations) and Rebecca Young (The Got to Get Got, Pastoralia), the music brings together the best of everyone’s current and former bands, with Urich’s and Johns’ vocals melding nicely together in an unexpected way. Just go see this band.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ten ways to have a winning weekend

We've got your weekend covered with film screenings, quirky art and, of course, the Pop Explosion!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:54 AM

A.A. Wallace brings his scavenger-style pop to the Pop Explosion! (see 5). - SCREEN GRAB FROM HALIFAXPOPEXPLOSION.COM
  • A.A. Wallace brings his scavenger-style pop to the Pop Explosion! (see 5).
  • Screen grab from

This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge

Thursday, October 20, 7pm
Tzeporah Berman, scholar and activist, "is known for her role as a key organizer in the 1993 logging blockades of Clayoquot Sound, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history." Since then, she's been working with First Nations groups and environmental organizations on climate and energy issues. Now, she tells her story at Ondaatje Hall, Marion McCain Building, Dalhousie Univeristy.

Cineplex Community Day
Saturday, October 22, 9-10am
A morning of family friendly, recent releases (think The Jungle Book and Inside Out) will be screened at select Cineplex theatres in support of the Me to We foundation. With showtimes starting between 9am and 10am, we say it's worth getting up early for! Participating locations include Scotiabank Theatre Halifax, Cineplex Park Lane, Cineplex Dartmouth Crossing and Cineplex Lower Sackville.

Johanna Close Artist's Talk
Saturday, October 22, 2pm
Halifax-based artist Joanna Close presents this talk in line with the MSVU art gallery's Home Economics hooked rug exhibit. Discussing contemporary and historic rugs as well as dye choices and design motifs from her own works, Close covers a swath of topics related to the under-represented medium.

Halifax Zine Explosion Cabaret
Friday, October 21, 7pm
A patch-making workshop, zine readings and other indie-cool activities make for an artsy, entertaining evening that's just hipster enough at Radstorm. Live music will also be at the party, which is "experimental dance music made with 2 gameboys." Intrigued? Us, too.

October 19-October 22 at 8pm and Sunday, October 23 at 2pm
A reflection on "the infinite possibilities of our choices," the play Constellations reimagines boy-meets-girl by crafting a love story spanning time and space, seeing lovers Roland and Marianne's relationship existing in the multiverse. Playing at The Waiting Room.

White Lung are serving up their brash, punky sound at Pop Explosion! (see 2). - SCREEN GRAB FROM HALIFAXPOPEXPLOSION.COM
  • White Lung are serving up their brash, punky sound at Pop Explosion! (see 2).
  • Screen grab from

A.A. Wallace w/Bravestation, Alphacub, Maccie
Saturday, October 22, 10pm
Nova Scotia kid A.A. Wallace crafts quirky pop: His first record, a solo piece, sampled broken toys and dollar store albums. By turning trash into sonic treasure, his broody brand of pop shows that things aren't always what they seem. Jam with him and Bravestation, Alphaclub and Maccie at this show bound to last all night at Reflections. Part of the Halifax Pop Explosion.

Defiant Specimens
To Nov 16
Artists Susan Feindel and Cindy Stelmackowich "blend images and ideas from nature, natural habitats, old dictionaries and scientific textbooks," to create these pieces exploring the concept of the scientific specimen. See for yourself at Studio 21.

Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
Friday, October 21, 7pm
"Documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog examines the past, present and future of the Internet and how it affects human interaction and modern society," says Carbon Arc. We say it's the perfect before-dinner movie, as we expect it'll leave lots to debate over drinks.

White Lung w/The Yips, Not You, Crossed Wires

Thursday, October 20, 10pm
It's a night of all-out girl power (of the riot grrl variety) with Vancouver's three-chord-rocking pop-punkers White Lung sharing the stage with local punks Crossed Wires. Ottawa's ouija-rock The Yips and horoscope-influenced Hali kids Not You round out this Seahorse Tavern Pop Explosion bill.

TUNS w/Partner, Monomyth, Century Egg

Friday, October 21, 9pm
TUNS are billed as a "Halifax super group," its members an amalgamation of '90s Hali bands Sloan, The Super Friendz and The Inbreds. We call them sugary-sweet, vocally-driven pop that sounds the way birthday cake tastes: sweet, fun and light. Sharing the stage with New Brunswick's "barista-rockers" Partner and Hali's own Monomyth and Century Egg, this Pop Explosion show will rock The Marquee, we're sure of it.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Top 10 ways to make this weekend rock

From artsy Nocturne to celebrating natural curls to Halifax Pop Explosion's kickoff, this weekend is rockin'!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 4:03 PM

My Love Don't Cross That River pulls the heartstrings at a Carbon Arc screening (see 5). - SCREENSHOT FROM CARBON ARC'S WEBSITE
  • My Love Don't Cross That River pulls the heartstrings at a Carbon Arc screening (see 5).
  • Screenshot from Carbon Arc's website

Maud Lewis-The Heart on the Door Book Launch

October 14 and 15, 6-9pm
Author Lance Woolaver reads from his book on the Nova Scotian folk art icon at Wicker's Gallery, in time for Nocturne's artsy takeover of town! Learn more about our (arguably) best-known painter and feel a little wistful for rural views.

"Against Hungry Listening" Lecture

Thursday, October 13, 12pm
A Stó:lo scholar and Indigenous Arts research chair at Queen's University, lecturer Dylan Robinson shares details about his current research project that documents Indigenous public art across North America at Dalhousie's Art Gallery.

Maritimes Natural Hair and Beauty Show
Sunday, October 16, 1-5pm.
"Be your own kind of beYOUtiful," advises the website for this expo held at Pier 21, which highlights services, products and how-tos for natural hair. Called a "face-to-face resource network where people can get answers to their hair questions from people in their community," you can kiss bad hair days goodbye!

The Naked Ballerina

October 15-16, 7:30pm
Award-winning Canadian ballerina Sarah Murphy-Dyson brings this story of passion, love and pain from Toronto to the Halifax stage. A one-women show, it centres around the price an artist pays for creativity, pirouetting big questions about art for the audience to digest.

The Sorrys Live Album Recording at Gus'

Friday, October 14, 10pm
The Sorrys aren't apologizing for their brand of retro-tinged sound, and to prove it they're doing what they believe to be a Hali first: Recording a live record at Gus' Pub. Come witness a bit of toe-tapping, local music history in the making (er, in the recording?).

The Sorrys make Gus' history recording a live album from the pub's stage (see 6). - TODD HAWKINS
  • The Sorrys make Gus' history recording a live album from the pub's stage (see 6).
  • Todd Hawkins

My Love Don't Cross That River

Friday, October 14, 7pm
Called the largest independent film in South Korea's history, this documentary appeals to your inner romantic, telling the story of a couple married for 76 years. Filmed over 15 months in Byong-man Jo and Gye-Yeul Kang's home, a love story is captured through intimate shots—like them falling asleep while holding hands. Screening at Carbon Arc Cinema.

The Rimers of Eldrich

October 11-14, 7:30pm, Oct 15, 2pm
Watch the American Dream turn into a nightmare as a small midwest town's economy falls apart. Dusty, vacant Main Street is almost unrecognizable to the remaining townspeople who dream of their escape. Will they find a way out or will they rust away like the place surrounding them? Find out at the Dal Arts Centre!

The Thundermaker

To November 1
First Nations artist, activist and musician Alan Syliboy presents this collection of works, inspired by indigenous Mi'kmaq petroglyph tradition (rock drawings). Creating his own artistic vocabulary for the forms, Syliboy leaves the viewer a meditation on his culture and how it informs his creative process. On display at the Anna Leonowens Gallery.

Sonic Avenues W/Outtacontroller, Disasterbaters

Saturday, October 15, 9pm-1am
Montreal punk-rockers Sonic Avenues drive you down streets of sound with help from Hali's own Outtacontroller and Moncton's Disasterbaters. Get ready to thrash at the T-Room!

Nocturne 2016

Saturday, October 15, 6pm-12am
Watch Halifax turn from coastal city into open-air art gallery as Nocturne unleashes a new flood of installations at this annual after-dark festival. Highlights of this year's edition include Argyle Fine Art dressing up like the set of Friends and a murder mystery circus performance at Studio In Essence.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sonic Avenues drives down a new road

Montreal garage gurus to rock their latest album, featuring an evolved sound, in Hali.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 3:50 PM


Sonic Avenues, Montreal’s longtime punk squad, return to the stage following the release of their fourth album Disconnector. In an effort to evolve their garage sound, this new record brings a new take on the band’s signature “fast, noisy, fuzzed-out sing-alongs.”

In advance of Sonic Ave’s Halifax tour stop this Saturday, we caught up with singer/songwriter/guitarist Maxime Desharnais. He says Disconnector marked a conscious decision to change up the group’s sound.

“We’re an old band,” he laughs, trying to convert the band’s 10 years of age into cat years, settling upon that the resolution that they are, indeed, old. “We wanted to do something to keep our interest in place, you know? Like, I could rewrite the same record over and over, but there’s no fun in that.”

The result is a record that’s still punk at heart, but features a cleaner, slower sound than Sonic Avenues’ albums past. “We were trying to push the envelope a bit further on this one,” says Desharnais, pointing to the deliberate contrasts within single tracks, creating a sound that is quiet one second, and upbeat the next.

Disconnector also marks a thematic change for the band; in this album they exploring themes of self-control, human potential and its annihilation, future and destiny, and abandonment. “It just morphed into this without me deciding what I was going to talk about lyrically,” says Desharnais. He welcomes the breath of fresh air—a shift from writing about love.

Although the songwriter struggles to pick a favourite track, he settles on Forgetting The Sound of My Mind. It’s one he says would never have made it onto the band’s past albums—a track therefore representative of the album’s ambition as a whole.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Twelve better-than-turkey weekend picks

You'll be tempted to skip the turkey (or tofurkey) for these 12 picks instead.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2016 at 5:34 PM

Artist AHI lights up the Company House on Friday (see number 6).
  • Artist AHI lights up the Company House on Friday (see number 6).


Halifax Record Fair
Saturday, October 8, 10am-4pm
With stacks of new and used vinyl in every imaginable genre to sift through, this is the place for music lovers to dig for rarities and new favourites. You might just find a new treasure! Held at the Forum.


Thanksgiving Brunch
Sunday, October 9
If you're more about eggs benny than turkey with the fixings, get to Elements on Hollis for this holiday brunch complete with a "seafood pavilion, sauté station, and all the dessert you could desire." Reservations can be made at 902.496.7960.


Beginner's Building Session
Monday, October 10, 10am-1pm
"This class takes you from a pile of scrap wood (provided, or bring some interesting pieces) to a finished product in a single session!" promise event organizers. Presenting basic principles, you'll be taught how to build a stool, side table or bench. The skills gained include how to safely use various saws, perfect various cuts, drilling, clamping and more. This is the perfect class for "beginners who want to take an entire project from start to finish with some guidance on tool use and techniques," organizers add, and is held at Hands on Halifax, 6070 Almon Street.


A Tribute To Cher
Sunday, October 9, 10pm
Some of the city's most notorious drag performers honour the gay icon and disco diva by playing her best at Menz & Mollyz. Do you believe in life after love?


Wordburglar w/Jorun, Uncle Fes
Saturday, October 8, 8-10pm
An early show featuring Wordburglar, the Hali hip-hop head who recently released the video Channel Halifax and Jorun Bombay, the legendary DJ that's been spinning records since before it was cool. Kids, it's a slice of local urban music history at The Seahorse, so forget the turkey and get grooving!


Booth & Blitz
To October 28
Bryan Haycock's works are layered both in style and meaning, drawing on anglo-inspired references such as Charles Booth’s Poverty map of London (1889) and the London Fire Brigade’s map of bomb damage (1941). As the gallery describes it, his multi-media maps are "scraps of topographical information [that] are now little more than meeting places for marks and materials"—much like the wreckage his inspirations echo.


Friday, October 7, 9:30pm
Ontario-based indie soul artist Ahi delivers serious, swoon-worthy '90s soul vibes, from warm music videos to hot vocals. His songs have been heard all the way from London to Ethiopia, and now Halgonians get the chance to groove to 'em, too.


The Fits Screening
Friday, October 7, 7pm
The story of a young boxer who joins a dance troupe, this American film is a twist on the coming-of-age drama: While other dancers make their mysterious seizures into dance routines, the protagonist must decide how far she's willing to go to fit in.


The Green Book
October 5-8, 8pm
This story of an African Nova Scotian looking for adventure on a road trip to New York calls on the brutal history of Jim Crow laws and harsh realities provided by The Negro Motorist Green Book (often referred to as simply "the Green book"). "There is a reason this road is not taken...Carl Jarvis learns this journey is not for the weak and no coloured man should attempt it without the green book," the play poster announces. Will Jarvis find the excitement he hopes for? Will he arrive at all? We can't wait to find out.


Sloan Performs One Chord To Another
Friday, October 7, 9pm
Get ready to party like it's 1996 and join Canadian pop rockers Sloan as they perform a hometown show here in Halifax! The Toronto-based rockers are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their Juno-winning album One Chord To Another by touring it with a collection of fan favourites. Their first time in Halifax since 2015, it's not to be missed.


Stitched Stories: Shauntay Grant and Family in Conversation
Thursday, October 6, 6:30pm

"In the late 1700s and early 1800s, thousands of Blacks evaded American slavery and migrated north to Nova Scotia. With them they brought their songs, stories, language, customs, and crafts," explains the Dal art gallery. Amongst these crafts were quilts, richly patterned, "a refined practice passed down from generation to generation, woman to woman." At this event, Shauntay Grant passes on the stories sewn into her family quilts with us all, displaying and discussing their themes with her family members.


Wen Wei Dance: Made In China
October 6-8, 8pm
A collaboration between Vancouver's Wen Wei Wang and Beijing Modern Dance Company's artistic director Gao Yanjinzi, this show sees a mixture of classical and contemporary Chinese forms. Its debut on the Atlantic Canadian stage is part of Live Art Dance's season. Called "an exploration and celebration of these artists' heritage," it's a chance for dance fans to see a whole new world of movement.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Check out Wordburglar’s video for “Channel Halifax”

This hip-hop treasure is steeped in Hali charm.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 3:23 PM

You know where. - VIDEO SCREEN GRAB
  • You know where.
  • Video screen grab

You may not have seen rapper and writer Sean Jordan (AKA WordBurglar) around much lately, since he's splitting his time between Hali and Toronto. But Jordan's latest video illustrates his love for home.

Filmed over the course of a year, the music video captures Halifax's most iconic corners through all kinds of weather. It's a tribute anyone can appreciate.

“Whether or not you’re from Halifax, the song is about the appreciation of where you’re from and the elements that set you on your path. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in the city and just wanted to rhyme the stuff I like about it,” says Jordan.

“Channel Halifax” is the first video single (directed by Caley MacLellan) from Jordan's fifth album, Rapplicable Skills. Catch WordBurglar this Saturday at The Seahorse at 8pm, where he'll kick off the album with special guests DJs Jorun Bombay and Uncle Fester.

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