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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Move 'n’ groove with Hopscotch

This weekend, get your hip-hop fill thanks to this urban arts celebration.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 1:58 PM

Alfie is opening for Quake & Kayo Friday night at the CoHo. - VIA HOPSCOTCH HALIFAX
  • Alfie is opening for Quake & Kayo Friday night at the CoHo.
  • via Hopscotch Halifax

Starting tomorrow, Hopscotch Festival is back in Hali, for three days filled with hip-hop music and dance, and visual urban art. Hosted by HRM, this fest turns 7 this time around.

Hopscotch kicks off Thursday with an artist mixer they’re calling “NS meets UK,” at Seven Bays Bouldering. These emerging hip-hop and grime artists hailing from across the ocean are Ms Banks, SNE, Mystry, C Cane, Ky’ Orion, and MalikMD7. The performances by Halifax emcees are still TBA.

Friday night brings live art to Dartmouth Cove (18 Canal Street)—when international urban artists will wreak havoc on 10,000 square feet of concrete.

It’s also a live filming recording of Team BackPack’s second ever Canadian cypher, featuring Quake Matthews, Pat Stay, Thrillah and Fortunato. Afterwards, folks can move on over to the Company House, where Quake Matthews and Kayo will wrap up their cross-Canada tour, featuring Lost & Found with special guest openers Alfie, MATTY, and Marvin Divine. “It’s usually more of the underground space, not as well known” says Billy Comer, coordinator of Hopscotch. He thinks this event is the festival’s hidden gem.

Hip-hop enthusiasts won’t want to miss the “music in business” panels at the Central Library, where industry pros will share their wisdom on becoming a successful artist. Speakers include Fiona Bloom from The Bloom Effect (New York). Riley Kirkwood from Post Office Studio (Toronto), Urban Monk, producer/Amy Winehouse Foundation (UK), Miss C Brown, and Kimani Moore from Moore Entertainment (London/Atlanta).

Saturday’s main event is Classified’s performance at the Spatz Theatre, with the first 200 tickets free. But don’t peace out after the show—stick around for an afterparty outside of the theatre. With jams from DJ Premier, this final event is sure to get you grooving.

For more information on the festival, head to HRM’s event page or Facebook.

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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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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Listen to our playlist full of In the Dead of Winter artists

Highlight tracks from this weekend's folky festival in Halifax.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 3:23 PM

click image screen_shot_2016-01-20_at_1.19.37_pm.png

The Coast's IN THE DEAD OF WINTER Playlist 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

GridLock, Halifax's newest music fest, announces lineup

Get ready for one hot fucking July with Lower Dens, American Football & more

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 4:47 PM


Today, Halifax's newest music weekend, GridLock Festival, announced a few of its bookings for the inaugural event from July 8 to 10, 2016. There's so much pop on this lineup, you'd think it's at Forum Bingo. For real, this looks so super sweet, with beer by Stillwell on the grounds of Citadel High. Way to go, Jeremy Macneil and company. Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 18 at 10:00am ($90+HST for early birds, $100 advance, $120 day-of). This is some real real pop music, and it's going to rule. More bands and comics to come. Check this out now: 

Band: Lower Dens
From: Baltimore, MD
This band is insanely amazing; this video. THIS VIDEO!!!

Band: DIIV
From: Brooklyn, NY
This song, though. THIS SONG. 

Band: TR/ST
From: Toronto
"Synth-wave, dark wave" 

Band: Wintersleep

Band: Baths
From: Los Angeles
Splash around in this. 

Band: Beach Slang
From: Philadelphia, PA 
One of Ryan McNutt's favourites.

Band: Lowell
From: Calgary
"Canada's next pop export"

Band: American Football
From: C-U, Illinois

Band: Vogue Dots
From: Halifax
Tynan's my roommate. He's really great. So is Babette.

Band: Dance Movie
From: Halifax
Tara Thorne is The Coast's copy-editor. I'm looking at her right now.

Band: Beauts
From: Halifax

Band: Partner
From: Sackville
New Brunswick's baddest band (*bad means good*)

Band: Sean Nicholas Savage
From: Montreal
You wish you were him. YOU FUCKING WISH.

Band: Southern Shores
From: Toronto
Lyrics: boop-be-boo-be-boo-boo-boop 

Band: Peach Kelli Pop
From: Ottawa

You can find out more info here: 

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

11 local hip-hop artists are heading to Atlanta

Halifax's finest showcase at AC3 Festival in the southern hip-hop hub

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Our local artists showcasing in Atlanta next week
  • Our local artists showcasing in Atlanta next week

Next weekend, 11 local hip-hop artists are heading to Atlanta to showcase at AC3, one of the largest hip-hop festivals in America. The southern city is a literal hot-bed of hip-hop, home to artists like Gucci Mane, Rich Gang, 2 Chainz, Jermaine Dupri, Waka Flocka Flame, Andre 3000, TLC and many more. Also known as 'Hotlanta,' several musical movements have grown out of the socio-economic culture of the city, with incredible wealth positioned next to incredible poverty. Because of this economic disparity, and as a hub of the illegal drug trade, Atlanta is one of the most dangerous, crime-ridden cities in the U.S. The trap, as they say, is real. 

But this cultural climate of Atlanta has created music and artistic expression that is unique, innovative and influential, especially in the last decade. Some of America's most important hip-hop artists, labels and studios circulate around the Atlanta scene. Talent is found constantly.

To get our local rap artists down there, Melissa MacMaster at Buds Entertainment joined up with Andree Gracie (Grey Sea Management) and TMG Entertainment's Tony Makhoul to select a roster of talent to rep Nova Scotia. MacMaster pitched the idea of an all-Canadian showcase and AC3 was down to clown. With the support of Music Nova Scotia and the Province of Nova Scotia, a team of 16 people (artists, staff and a videographer, Brendan Lyle) are whippin' down to ATL on October 7: "We have been working hard setting up meetings, interviews, participating on panel discussions and organizing a VIP industry mixer, which will take place right before our showcase," MacMaster explains, "We are looking to secure publishing deals and build relationships and A&R's which will help us break into the Atlanta market." 

I spoke with the 11 artists hoping to break into the Atlanta scene, just so you know who they are when they get their own Noisey documentary. Best of luck to our hip-hop homedogs. 

First time in Atlanta

WHO I AM: I'm an 18-year-old hip-hop artist from Glace Bay. Fresh out of high school, I have four projects under my belt, most recently my "Young Superstars" mixtape from July. I've recently just returned from my Maritime "Young Superstars" tour with CDN Movement along with performing at Pop Montreal the weekend after, and I opened for Mad Child in Sydney. I've also incorporated my own company, Buds Entertainment. 

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: I have traveled to the land of Young Thug's brain many times. I'm most excited to take in the whole environment and the culture down there, and try to make as many connections as possible. I just wanna work with dope people, personality wise and creativity wise.


Been to Atlanta many times,
"networking and kickin it with friends." 

WHO I AM: A 21-year-old rapper and song-writer known for my unique and diverse style, raw and thought provoking lyrics, as well as my down-to-earth persona and community contributions.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: Most excited to dip my toes in new waters, exchange experiences and endure knowledge, and of course this showcase. It's a blessing to be able to be a part of A3C, especially with a team of amazing Canadian artists. 

First time in Atlanta 

WHO I AM: Certi (Carvel Clayton), just turned 20. I'm from Dartmouth, from a small neighbourhood where you must hard work to see yourself get out. I've worked with a few major local artists, like Ghetto Child, JRDN, Thrillah and Quake, who taught me how to make music in a more powerful way. I released my fifth mixtape, Born And Raised 2, on along with other mix tapes. I am slowly working on my first album called Born And Raised, dropping next year. 

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: I am expecting to have a very good show, on my behalf. I want to create a fanbase out there and meet people that can help take my music to the next level. 

First time in Atlanta

WHO I AM: Dartmouth rapper; my single "Drop That" won Best Single in The Coast's Best of Music. I’ve been working on Thrillville3Thrillville2 is nominated for "Best Recording of the Year" (MNS). I’ve just been working hard trying to make another recording that will out-do my last one.

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: I’m looking forward to meeting new artists and making new connections, and the conferences. There’s always more ways to become a better artist. I’m excited to perform in the U.S for the first time. I can't wait to show them why my rap name is “Thrillah”.



Performed at AC3 in 2014

WHO I AM: I'm 26, made a name in the battle rap scene in my teens, now a seasoned artist. Award-winning MC. Released fourth studio album, Rap Music, which hit the #4 spot on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts. Now working on an EP with Classified

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: I want to see Beanie Sigel and go out to eat at Glady's Knight's chicken and waffles restaurant



First time in Atlanta

WHO WE ARE: An award-winning Aboriginal group from NB & NS. We won two Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg for 'Best Single Of The Year' & 'Best Group Or Duo.' This is only the beginning. 

WHAT WE WANT TO DO IN ATL: We're excited to share our music. We take pride in it. 


First time in Atlanta

WHO I AM: I've managed to build a brand around my music. "ChopTrees." I'm 15 mix tapes deep and now creating the 16th. I'm just trying to keep moms smiling. 

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: Very influenced by Atlanta's music scene, so I'm stoked to meet people and just see how it is. I wanted to see Curren$y and 2Chainz but they play the day we leave. Other than that, this is my first time in the States so I'm just stoked. May have to cause a slight sun shower at Magic City


First time in Atlanta 

WHO I AM: DJ, Singer, MC, Producer and Host of $mooth Groove$ on CKDU 88.1 FM (Sundays, 5pm). About to release $ecret $tudio $e$$ion$ Vol. 2 on Oct 12. 

WHAT I WANT TO DO IN ATL: I'm the most excited for the opportunity to showcase our talents in a music hotbed like Atlanta. Who knows what opportunities await. I'm also excited to check out the conference and festival, including seeing a lot of the artists and especially the industry insiders that will be sharing their knowledge.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Check out all these locals playing Pop Montréal

Québec's coolest music festival features a ton of dazzling Haligoons and more

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM


From this Wednesday until this Sunday, the city of Montréal will be "fire," as they say. The kids say that. Dozens of music's 'coolest' acts (Thurston Moore, for one, and Motörhead, for some reason) will take over the land of smoked meat sandies and cheap gross '40s for Pop Montreal. I wish I could go but alas. Luckily The Coast has Montréal correspondent, Josh Salter (Nap Eyes, Monomyth, Psychic Fair), on the beat. Yeah that's right. He's a Beatle now. 

Anyway, if you're planning on hitting up Pop Montréal, you can discover tons of new bands or see old favourites, but mostly you should support all the Halifax-associated acts that are dominating the lineup, plus a few of my recommendations. For starters, I'd probably go see Montreal's First You Get The Sugar not because I like their music (I don't) but because that's a pretty blatant Simpsons reference and one of my favourite episodes of all time. Please enjoy this Simpsons clip. 

In alphabetical order (very convenient), here are some of our Halifax music ambassadors:

AA WALLACE: A Toronto-lover since 2014, I guarantee he's still wearing a trucker cap with a fishing boat on it as he parties with those coneheads, Tupperwear Remix Party.

BA JOHNSTON: A Hamilton man whose aroma lingers long enough at Gus's that he's pretty much one of us. The Polaris Prize-nominated song and dance man will delight Montreal with jokes about Sherbrooke and fancy French-grade sparklers. His aroma, by the way, is 'donair.' 

CROSSS: If a pack of nomadic but funky demons was the cast of That '70s Show — all of the trippy graphics and weed, none of the inane bullshit. A cross of death metal and synth-wave. 

DAVID R. ELLIOTT: With The Novellas, Elliott is on tour in support of his new record, Sunshine, with hints of early Stones and Dartmouth's finest. Now that's a spicy meatball. 

GIANNA LAUREN: The Ottawa-born Italian Stallion leads an orchestra of harmony and ambient sound explorers with one of the most delicate but strong voices we have in Halifax. 

HAND CREAM: Halifax's Meghan Sivani-Merrigan takes this kick-ass Montréal band on galaxy quests that are too cool for me. Like, if NASA was repopulating Mars, they'd take Hand Cream to the new land and leave me behind. Probably. 

HOMESHAKE: Okay, this one is a stretch. More Halifax-associated than a Halifax band, but Truro's Brad Loughead is the bass player so Homeshake makes the list. Also it's my goddamn list. Also it's a pretty amazing jazz-influenced rock band. It's got me home-shakin' all over. 

MARDEEN: Good ol' Cape Breton bys. Mardeen are great classic songwriters with some Celtic offshoots. Sweet like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with jam. 

MOONSOCKET: The legend of Chris Thompson returns. 90s-era indie rock from way the hell out in Sambro now. Still Halifax, though. Isn't this whole province basically Halifax now?

MOON: A new lineup that includes Nathan Doucet (drums) and Scott Grundy, Moon's moving in different directions (for ex: they covered "Big Me" several times this summer). 

OLD & WEIRD: Last year's cover feature in The Coast cemented this band as one of Halifax's best, even if not fully appreciated YET. We're going to lose them to the big leagues. 

QUAKER PARENTS: Mark Grundy recently moved himself and his brand of math-inspired, lyrically smart and playful songs to Montréal, so best of luck but remember who you are

REBECCA WEST: These '90s stars reunited at Pro Skates and are now playing Pop Montréal and the Halifax Pop Explosion. In 1995, Allison Outhit wrote the kind of music people want to write now: introspective, meaningful, punk influences, art-rock, dreamy, rad. 

PARTNER: From Sackville, NB (close enough). Lucy Niles (The Mouthbreathers) and Josee Caron debuted at SappyFest and were the talk of the town. This is real rock & roll. 

TASSEOMANCY: The Lightman twins lived here for awhile and Tasseomancy's performance at the OBEY Convention in May was like if Stevie Nicks and Game of Thrones met with instrumental wizards in an enchanted forest of lost love and despair. Beautiful and theatrical. 

WALRUS: Walrus gave me a free t-shirt this summer, size XXL, so I cut off the arms and made it a crop-top. It's extra special since it's a picture of a dude who's not even in the band anymore. Talk about collector's item. They're putting out a new shirt soon. This band rips like an acid trip. 

YEAR OF GLAD: Coast contributor Nick Laugher and his OG homies make some emotionally powerful stuff, like an NYC coffee house (Central Perk?) with the grime of a Mile End alleyway. 

So after checking out ALL THAT, if you have time, here are some of my personal faves:

FREELOVE FENNER: a totally enchanting Montreal three-piece circa Fixture Records: witchy, dark and awesome. Someone please give Michael Brooks Wright a hug for me.

BABYSITTER: Full disclosure, these guys just crashed at my house last week and boy it was fun. I said something like "You guys are a mix between Lemmy and Ted Nugent." That's not totally right, but it ain't wrong either. I've never seen bass-playing like this before. 

NEW FRIES: Okay, prepare yourself for something different. New Fries fucking rocks. 

HAGFACE: Like Babysitter, this Calgary/BC/Montreal combo was face-ripping. Asymmetrical, double vocals, SO MUCH FUCKING POWER, bleach blonde everything. It was so good that I threw up in my own yard later that night. Not even an accident. 

JEF BARBARA: Sometimes also plays in Hand Cream, and just released this cover of "A Perfect Day" by Rexy, totally sexy. The most captivating performer of OBEY Convention 2014. 

There's also HUA LI, TELSTAR DRUGS, TOWANDA, LEE RANALDO and about 200 other amazing bands and if I was going to this festival, I'd hit all of the above and more. I almost puked on the Metro once and I hope — one of these days — I can make that dream come true.

Until then, have a great Pop Montréal. 

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

24 Hours at Evolve 2015

“How many Polaris musicians have played in a dirty yurt?”

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:32 PM

Festivalgoers check out Moon Hooch
  • Festivalgoers check out Moon Hooch

It’s been a few years since my last trip to Evolve and I was finally feeling groovy enough for 24 hours of the three-day peace, love, camping and music experience on rolling hills near Antigonish. After threat of cancellation last week due to a whack insurance policy, Evolve went on! The lineup was one of the most thematically consistent to date, with more electronic, dance and reggae acts than rock or folk. This gave Evolve strong waves of positive vibes; upbeat tempos create natural movements and warm energies. 

As always, it was wild. Some of the crazy things I witnessed include: boobs, a couple having sex out in the open, a nerd in a dinosaur costume tripping on acid, a guy playing a full round of invisible golf, about a dozen massage-trains and three different penises. Between all of this madness was incredible music.

BA Johnston
  • BA Johnston

Just as we arrived, Hamilton's B.A. Johnston played in the Palace Yurt. After pouring beer all over himself, he did the worm on the dirt floor and made a mud mess, then rubbed his mud mess all over people. I had to change my shirt. He called a couple clean-cut dudes “narcs” and then asked, “How many Polaris musicians have played in a dirty yurt?” His leg bled through his pants. He’s a true showman.

Aqua Alta
  • Aqua Alta

After that, I caught Halifax’s Aqua Alta on the main-stage, led by Jenn Grant with Charles Austin, Matt McQuaid (Holy Fuck) and Seamus Erskine on the kit. This band brings out a sassy side of Grant. Her vocals moved from whispers to bold delivery and the textures that the band created were hypnotizing. See them on August 5!

Little Ruckus
  • Little Ruckus

It got dark and I stood transfixed by Iowa's Little Ruckus (Dom Rabalais), whose love song techno-cabaret was set in contrast by his self-made Lynchian video projections. We hung out for the rest of Evolve and he rules; his art projects are amazing.

Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
  • Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt

Then Tennessee's one-man-mantra-band Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt was joined by Little Ruckus, members of Austin psych-folk ensemble Calliope Musicals and Halifax’s sexy sax man Nathan Pilon. It was a neon-sequin near-gospel experience of existential empowerment: “Go and fuck the shit out of your dreams.” Then we all hugged. 

  • Doldrums

The yurt turned electric royal blue for Toronto electro-noise act Doldrums (Airick Woodhead). He and bandmate Alex performed a minimalist DJ set and I got lost in the industrial heaviness. His main stage experience earlier that day was also unreal, and soft but terrorizing. I can't wait to see him at Sappy Fest

Rich Aucoin
  • Rich Aucoin
Later in the night, Rich Aucoin stormed the main stage with a rainbow of confetti cannons, new lyric visuals, wicked synchronized lighting and a full band. Before he began, he asked everyone to lie down and watch the stars. Then he played from Ephemeral while he crowd-surfed on an actual surfboard and floated over the audience in an inflated bubble. I love that every Rich set is different. Subtle variations in each song over time create such unique experiences. Everyone lost their minds and danced forever.

Night turned to morning and I ventured from the artist’s camping area into Tent City, the general camping grounds atop the hill. By Day 3 of Evolve, Tent City becomes a microcosm of society with its own neighbourhoods, marketplaces and a visible sense of community. Overall, it feels safe and inclusive. 

Matthew Silver
  • Matthew Silver

At mid-morning, New York performance artist and YouTube star Matthew Silver proselytized from the main stage. It was disorienting. His lessons to “dream,” to “create” and to “live free” were heard for miles.  At one point, he showed his penis and sound-tech Tynan Dunfield (Vogue Dots) asked me when it might be considered indecent exposure. “I think probably 10 minutes ago,” I replied. Silver then stuffed his one-piece bathing suit full of confetti, stage-dived into the crowd and was carried off into Tent City. 

Moon Hooch
  • Moon Hooch

I spent the rest of the day wandering the grounds, eating curry chicken, learning about Texas with members of Calliope Musicals and swimming in a river. Before the Rich Aucoin Party Bus (our rented minivan) hit the road, we watched Brooklyn's Moon Hooch, fresh from the Halifax Jazz Fest, in the early evening sun. They were so killer with duelling avant-garde saxophones. So much fucking wind!

As we drove back to Halifax, I realized Evolve is such a diverse collection of weird, interesting people who are excited to proudly be themselves for a few days. I wasn’t dressed as a flamingo or flashing my boobs around, but I sure as shit didn’t feel any judgement. I felt very welcome; Evolve offers a rare kind of freedom. The artist hospitality and crews are amazing and organizer Jonas Colter obviously believes in the transformative power of music. Evolve Festival really can change you and I hope it lasts forever.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

OBEY Convention VIII initial lineup

Prepare for "sonic spring" May 21-24

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 4:50 PM

I'll take any chance I get to look at pictures of Last Lizard's Alex Zhang Hungtai
  • I'll take any chance I get to look at pictures of Last Lizard's Alex Zhang Hungtai

The eighth OBEY Convention has announced an initial lineup of some of this year's acts, with 21 more artists to be announced later this month. Taking place May 21-24, OBEY features contemporary and underground music and art and this year's early lineup looks exciting. Great way to shake off winter's cobwebs. Tickets to Peter Brötzmann and Last Lizard and early bird passes are available now.

Peter Brötzmann - German free jazz icon

Last Lizard - Alex Zhang Hungtai's new design is a saxophone dream

Noveller - Austin's finest fixes the world with guitar

Homeshake - Montreal lounge

Absolutely Free - Toronto psych

Container - Rhode Island techno

RAMZi - Vancouver beat tripper

You’ll Never Get to Heaven - dream pop

Gashrat - ideal Montreal punk

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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celebrating 10 years with the Halifax Summer Opera Festival

Up with affordable, accessible opera for all

Posted By on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Dvořák's Rusalka plays from August 8 to the 16 at the Dunn. - ALL PHOTOS: MJ PHOTOGRAPHICS
  • Dvořák's Rusalka plays from August 8 to the 16 at the Dunn.
  • All photos: MJ Photographics

It's been a decade since Nina Scott-Stoddart and Tara Scott first came up with the idea to create an annual workshop for aspiring young opera singers. Since then, Halifax audiences have been entertained by 17 fully-staged operas.

This year, more than 80 performers from Canada and the U.S. are taking part in three main stage shows and five special concerts.

Opera lovers were thrilled to have the rare opportunity to hear Ermanno Mauro sing at the Italian Canadian Cultural Association on August 7th. The world-renowned tenor gave a masterclass to the opera workshop students during the week. Several of the students then showcased their talents at the Opera Gala, performing solo arias and excerpts from Puccini's La bohème with the legendary singer. Soprano Beth Hagerman soared in the role of the consumptive Mimi, holding her own with Mauro's dashing Rodolfo. 

The main stage operas will be running at various times and venues from now until August 17th.
Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld
  • Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld
Handel's Giulio Cesare
  • Handel's Giulio Cesare

Ticket information is available at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival website

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Friday, July 11, 2014

HPX Digital is now Collide

Startups unite!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Halifax Pop Explosion’s annual creative technology conference, until today known as HPX Digital, has a new name and a snappy new look. In a release on Collide’s new Facebook page (natch), the conference is described as follows:

“Where students and aspiring professionals COLLIDE [sic] with established creative minds to see and shape the future. Up-and-comers can uncover new role models and explore the world’s best ideas from the leading edge.”

Since its launch in 2012, HPX Digital has been focusing on disciplines including gaming, startups, design and marketing through its presentation of keynote speakers, social events and networking opportunities.

Though it is no longer explicitly mentioned in the conference’s name, the rebanded event won’t stray too far from the Pop Explosion brand as the two events will run concurrently during the third week of October: Collide from October 22-24 and Halifax Pop Explosion from October 21-25.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wrapping up Ottawa Bluesfest with a time-traveling slideshow

Taking you right back to the good times

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 4:00 AM

  • Grace Potter
  • Scott Blackburn

Words by Jonathan "Mixtape Magazine" Briggins and photos by Scott Blackburn.

Sunday was the ultimate genre-mashing day of this year’s Ottawa Bluesfest. From hip hop legends Wu-Tang Clan to baby-faced country sensation Hunter Hayes, there was a little bit of everything.

Wu-Tang Clan definitely brought the ruckus as the New York group played on a crowded main stage. The bass from the stage was loud enough to speed up the evaporation process for the rain that covered the festival off and on all day. The group covered a number of their hits along with hits from individual members GZA, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. Fittingly, they covered the Beatles track "Come Together" on the same night Sir Paul McCartney was in town for a concert.

Hannah Georgas took to the river stage playing mostly songs from her Polaris long-listed self-titled album. Spotted in the crowd dancing and cheering along was hometown hero Kathleen Edwards.

It seemed like everybody on the festival grounds tried to get a front-row spot for iconic Canadian twins Tegan and Sara. The band’s live show reflected their shift towards electro-pop on their latest album Heartthrob. They buttered up the crowd saying the crowd was better than in Toronto where they played the night before.

Recent Grammy winners fun. headlined the show. But some nights you just have to leave a festival early to grab some late-night fast food.


A DJ set at 6pm on a Monday can be an awkward time, but Edmonton’s Cadence Weapon took everything in stride playing rap music for the fifty or so people who gathered at the Black Sheep stage. He sampled everything from Kanye West’s Yeezus to Kendrick Lamar. The crowd urged him to rap so he took a break from the planned DJ set to drop his track "Loft Party" before returning to DJing.

Festival goers who weren’t interested in the progressive rock songs of Rush who played the main stage for over two hours had the alternative of watching Vancouver’s Mother Mother or New York’s Baauer (yes, the "Harlem Shake" dude).

Mother Mother had the crowd dancing and singing along as they kicked off their set with radio single "The Stand" from 2011’s Eureka. The band expressed their love for Ottawa and the festival with this being their third time playing Bluesfest. Extended intros, outros and bridges gave the songs a completely different feeling compared the album versions. The biggest singalong of the night came when they did a rocking cover of Nirvana’s "In Bloom". The group also gave a shout out to saying “Their shit is way too complicated” before launching into "Simply Simple".

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Your window to the Ottawa Bluesfest

Live vicariously!

Posted By and on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 12:07 PM

  • Scott Blackburn

Words by Jonathan Briggins (@mixtape_mag), images by Scott Blackburn (

Neko Case

Neko Case was in fine form both musically and physically. Case, also known for her work with Vancouver indie giants The New Pornographers showcased a number of songs from her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You coming out in September. She made multiple jokes about being in shape, telling the audience she wanted everybody to see how fast she could run across the stage. "I'm going to show you how ripped I am by playing this tambourine," she declared a few moments later. Case lamented about having to miss the headlining Dixie Chicks later that night because she had to fly to Toronto immediately after for an 8am soundcheck the next morning.

Belle & Sebastian

Stuart Murdoch, lead singer of Belle & Sebastian, enjoyed the hospitality of Ottawa as the band played the nation's capital for the first time. Murdoch told the story of him hopping on a bus to get to the venue and only having a twenty dollar bill. The bus driver let him get away with a free ride but said "Just this one time." The Scottish band had a plethora of musicians including a string quartet, cellist and two guitarists. The best reactions from the crowd came when the band played early hits such as "Judy and the Dream of Horses" and "Dylan In the Movies". The mix of old and new songs were perfect for a city hosting the band for the first time.

Sharon Van Etten

Despite having the same time slot as the re-united Dixie Chicks on the main stage, Sharon Van Etten and her band played to a couple hundred people at the River Stage. The show saw Van Etten show off a few new tricks. "This is the first time I've played this song before and this is the first time I've played bass live," she said. The performance was highlighted by her powerful and haunting voice wrapped around atmospheric guitars, thundering bass and equally haunting backing vocals. It'll only be a matter of time before she headlines the main stage of festivals.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stereophonic Music Festival sets the bar high for lineup announcement videos

And you can't even step to it

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 11:52 AM


Taking a weekend trip to Sackville, NB in the middle of January has never been so appealing. Don't worry, you won't be slip sliding your ass across that damned duck pond, you'll be safely housed in sweaty venues with a bunch of attractive people celebrating campus and community radio station CHMA's tenth anniversary of the Stereophonic Music Festival, a yearly fundraiser for the station, taking place January 16-19, 2013

Stop whatever you are doing and watch this amazing animated video that the talented Joe Chamandy, Ilse Kramer and Kevin Brasier made to announce the lineup. It hits staggering new levels of charm, and must have taken forever.


The full lineup for Stereophonic 10 is:

Adam Mowery, Astral Gunk, Banded Stilts, Bloodhouse, Bolivia, Cold Warps, Cousins, Crosss, El Ron Maltan, Go Get F*cked, Hash Jesus, Heaven For Real, Jon McKiel, Les Hay Babies, Lucas Hicks and the Ex-Boyfriends, Marine Dreams, Michael Duguay, Monomyth, Negative Circles, Nubians, Old Man Luedecke, Rich Aucoin, Sack City, The Mouthbreathers, The Weather Station, YELLOWTEETH.

For more info and to download a free compilation featuring most of Stereophonic’s tenth anniversary lineup, see

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Berserker Lion's collective soul

Alex Cameron, The Lucy Grays and more this weekend at Summer's Eve

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Alex Cameron
  • Alex Cameron

Berserker Lion Music Collective are back at it, the plucky little co-op who are consistently doing it for themselves will post up at the Company House all weekend with the Summer’s Eve Music (and art!) Festival, where several of their pals will be doing big things: Alex Cameron offers up an EP on Thursday, September 13 (9:30pm, $7 with David R. Elliot from St. John, Liars on Fire and Montreal’s Leafer), The Lucy Grays release their newest album When Pluto Was A Planet on Friday, September 14 (9:30pm, $7 with The Sweet Deals, Willie Stratton, PEI’s Colour Code and live art from Nick Brunt and Justin Lee) and Minus World unveil their new video for “Summer Wars”—an interactive one yet (9:30pm, $7 with Poplar Street, This Ship, live art by Julianne Harnish and This Sound Will Save You).

Cameron’s EP, The Huntsman, foreshadows a change as his group will now be known as The Huntsman. For now, Cameron is releasing the second of three EPs before the final, full-length installment after the holidays. “They’re all written at pretty much at the same time,” says Cameron. In a post-music school haze, he was living in Antigonish feeling he had “gotten away what I had really started to do music for, being creative,” Cameron says. “It’s a form of therapy for me because I’m not the best at sharing my emotions other ways.”

The Lucy Grays, who are releasing When Pluto Was A Planet on Friday, consider the album to be “a snapshot” of their sound, featuring organic sounding songs with orchestral leanings. Drummer/vocalist Rowan Swain explains why this event, and Berserker Lion in general, is so valuable to a lot of young bands locally. “There's so much amazing music happening in this city and I think a lot of bands just didn't have the support systems to be able to really bring their music to the public, and Berserker Lion has provided all of us a means to do so. Every band in the collective blows me away and we are so honored to be able to play with such talent.”

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Buskers’ street style

Q&A with Victor Rubliar

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 12:38 PM

The straitjacket in question
  • The straitjacket in question

Expect a packed boardwalk, flying footballs, juggling, mimes, juggling mimes, living statues and requests for volunteers August 2-12 for the 26th Halifax International Busker Festival. Whether your memories of festivals past include being charmed by the various accents or well-defined muscles of bicycle acrobats, or not knowing where to stare while someone plays a saxophone solo in your face, this year, forgo the socks and sandals in case you’re met with Miss Australia 1963, who promises “Louis Vuitton glamour” paired with “award winning handbag twirling and also a sassy catwalk” while possibly calling out questionable fashion sense. Last year’s people’s choice winner Victor Rubliar is returning (he won the people’s choice award in every busker festival he participated in last year, for the record), bringing with him dance and football tricks combined in a high energy performance. We spoke with the busker closest to your heart while he was on a break in Victoria.

Q: You've been to Halifax for the Busker Festival a number of times, and you were people's choice winner last year, what do you believe makes you stand out from the crowd?
A: I think it has to do with the fact that I truly love performing for Haligonians. I have fallen in love with this city the first time I came here and I do really wait the whole year to come back.

Q: What first drew you into busking and the performing arts?
A: That is kind of interesting. I used to be rather shy. Not in my real life but I never even thought about being in front of an audience. I wanted to be an architect or an engineer. It was by chance that I learned a few magic tricks and when I started showing them to friends it was like some kind of revelation for me. I realized then that I wanted to be a performer. I knew exactly what I anted to do with my life and I have been doing it since then.

Q: Do you have any advice for young people who are looking to get into juggling, comedy or busking?
A: Train. It is important to get a good level of skills and specially to master them to a point that you don't have to think about the trick when you do it. Then you can start thinking about what you're saying while doing the trick, how does your face look then and so on.

Also, do not be afraid of failing. We all do. The important thing is to just keep on going. Try to keep on developing and remember: Your show may not be that good the first 100 shows. After a 100 shows it may start being better and probably after a 1000 shows you will get a decent show. If not, just keep on trying!

Q: Do you have any new routines that you'll be pulling out this year?
A: I have a new act that I have been training for the last six months. I am actually the only one in the world that can do it. I escape from a straitjacket while I do a one soccer ball routine. It has been a long process to learn this routine. Hundreds of hours of training. But after all the work it is starting to look very good. I have also modified another act in the show. It is an act where I dance and it has a little twist in the end. I have worked with a choreographer to make the changes and rented a dance studio for four months to get everything ready. I really hope the Haligonians like it.

Q: How much of your show is about connecting with your audience?
A: I really believe it is all about that. I always say that what I do is not a show but a party on stage. I lead the party but we must make it all together. It is not about the tricks so much as it is about the connection, the friendship that one creates with the audience.

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