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Halifax Pop Explosion

Monday, September 4, 2017

Applications for The Plumtree Project are now open

The project gives women and trans folks the chance to learn music for free.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 4, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Indie rockers Plumtree, the namesake of The Plumtree Project.
  • Indie rockers Plumtree, the namesake of The Plumtree Project.

The Halifax Pop Explosion (HPX) and Mirus Records are collaborating to empower more women, trans folks and/or people of colour to “be in bands and feel confident playing music.” The result is The Plumtree Project, an initiative named after a local all-female band that took the stage at the first HPX and for many years after. 

Erin McDonald, one of the project coordinators, says lack of accessibility and lack of encouragement are barriers to marginalized people trying to break into the music scene.

“There’s not really a reflection of those people on the Halifax stage at this time,” adds McDonald. “I can only really speak for myself as a woman, but I always played music, but I was really afraid of playing with other people.”

Since the scene is dominated by men, playing with other people usually meant playing with men—and McDonald “found that really intimating.” 

Applications for The Plumtree Project are open to women as well as non-binary, genderqueer and trans folks between the ages of 18 and 29. The eight successful applicants will receive free private lessons (drums, guitar, bass or keyboard) every week for two months. The hope is that the musicians will end up playing together, and they will have access to a “jam space” as well as an improvisation workshop.

McDonald says the project aimed towards beginner-intermediate musicians: “It can be from people who don’t have much experience at all to people that have a little bit of experience, but not a ton.”

Apply for The Plumtree Project here. Applications are due September 15.


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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Halifax Pop Explosion 2017 lineup revealed

The 25th anniversary is traditionally the silver one, FYI

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 2:16 PM

The Courtneys - LINDSEY BYRNES
  • The Courtneys
  • Lindsey Byrnes


Celebrating 25 years in the music festival biz, Halifax Pop Explosion Music Festival and Conference (October 18-21, 2017) has announced even more bands slated to perform this year. Among them are METZ, The Courtneys, Yukon Blonde, Rural Alberta Advantage, Bambii, Ralph, Julie and the Wrong Guys, Partner, Lido Pimienta and Malcolm London.

Early bird festival wristbands are on sale now for $99 (plus taxes & fees) and are available here.

The full list of over 100 acts is right here for your scrutiny:

✘O ✘V ✘T, Aquakultre, Aron D'Alesio, Bad Pop, Bambii, Bat Sabbath, Beach Season, Beliefs, Casper Skulls, Cedric Noel, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Charlotte Day Wilson, Clairmont The Second, Cloud Nothings, Crossed Wires, Dabin, Dance Movie, Designosaur, Devarrow, Devonte, Digging Roots, Duo Tang, Elijah, Elliott BROOD, Emma Willmann, Fake Palms, Frigs, Future Girls, Inland Island, Japandroids, Jon Mckiel, Julie and The Wrong Guys, Kirsten Olivia, Kurt Braunohler, LA Foster, Lee Watson, Lido Pimienta, Lou Canon, LUKA, Maje, Malcolm London, MAYLEE TODD, Megan Nash, METZ, Milk & Bone, Motherhood, Mountain of Wolves, Mozart's Sister, Ms Banks, New Swears, Not You, OVAV, Owen Meany's Batting Stance, Partner, Patrick Watson, Pony Girl, Pony, Quake and Kayo, Ralph, Reeny Smith, Ria Mae, Rural Alberta Advantage, Scott Helman, Silver D'Apple, Slow Down Molasses, Sorrey, Tanika Charles, Tasha The Amazon, Taylor Holden, Texas King, The Avulsions, The Boo Radley Project, The Courtneys, The Mattson 2, The Very Reverend, Thick Business, Thrillah & Jay Mayne, Twist, Weakened Friends, Weaves, WHOOP-Szo, Wyatt Cenac, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Yes, We Mystic, Yukon Blonde, and Zoology.
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Halifax Pop Explosion announces more headliners and keynotes

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Charlotte Day Wilson, Clairmont The Second, Cloud Nothings and more

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 3:11 PM

Wyatt Cenac
  • Wyatt Cenac


Halifax Pop Explosion Music Festival & Conference celebrates a whopping 25 years this October 18-21 with headlining acts like Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Charlotte Day Wilson, Clairmont The Second, Cloud Nothings, Patrick Watson, Tasha The Amazon, Weaves and comedy headliner Wyatt Cenac, in addition to the previously announced Japandroids and Ria Mae.

This year, the fest is leaning harder on the conference side of things with a radically different format. The XPAND Music Conference is free and open to the public, and keynote speakers Lido Pimienta, Malcolm London and Laina Dawes will be laying down the truth, "exploring socially-focused topics such as activism and community building." Even if you aren't involved in any aspect of the music industry whatsoever, the insight of Pimienta (Toronto-based, Colombian-born interdisciplinary musician, artist-curator and Polaris Prize shortlister), London (Chicago poet, activist, educator, and musician) and Dawes (author of What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal) is guaranteed to be enthralling.

Early bird festival wristbands are on sale now for $99.00 (plus taxes & fees) and are available here.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

A 35mm look back at HPX 2016

Remember the good ol days of four weeks ago

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 9:53 AM

Local photographer Kate Giffin wrung even more beauty out of this year's Halifax Pop Explosion, taking some thoughtful pictures of beloved local and not-so-local artists. Take a look.

LAPS L-R: Heather Ogilvie, Cedric Noel, Chris Hauer - KATE GIFFIN
  • LAPS L-R: Heather Ogilvie, Cedric Noel, Chris Hauer
  • Kate Giffin

Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes - KATE GIFFIN
  • Nigel Chapman of Nap Eyes
  • Kate Giffin

Brad Loughead of Nap Eyes - KATE GIFFIN
  • Brad Loughead of Nap Eyes
  • Kate Giffin

The Painters L-R: Josh Boguski, Alex Bourque, Fez Gielen - KATE GIFFIN
  • The Painters L-R: Josh Boguski, Alex Bourque, Fez Gielen
  • Kate Giffin

Cheryl Hann and Allison Higgins of Old and Weird - KATE GIFFIN
  • Cheryl Hann and Allison Higgins of Old and Weird
  • Kate Giffin

Daniel Caesar at the Carleton - KATE GIFFIN
  • Daniel Caesar at the Carleton
  • Kate Giffin

Daniel Caesar - KATE GIFFIN
  • Daniel Caesar
  • Kate Giffin

Mark Grundy of Heaven For Real - KATE GIFFIN
  • Mark Grundy of Heaven For Real
  • Kate Giffin

Nick Dourado of Century Egg - KATE GIFFIN
  • Nick Dourado of Century Egg
  • Kate Giffin

Shane Keyu Song of Century Egg - KATE GIFFIN
  • Shane Keyu Song of Century Egg
  • Kate Giffin

Monomyth: Seamus Dalton and Mark Grundy - KATE GIFFIN
  • Monomyth: Seamus Dalton and Mark Grundy
  • Kate Giffin

Partner: Josée Caron and Lucy Niles - KATE GIFFIN
  • Partner: Josée Caron and Lucy Niles
  • Kate Giffin

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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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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Clear your calendars: Halifax Pop Explosion dates announced

October 19 can’t come fast enough.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 6:35 PM

VIA HALIFAX POP EXPLOSION
  • via Halifax Pop Explosion

The Halifax Pop Explosion has just announced its dates for 2016. Surprise! It’s October 19 to 22. While we’re waiting patiently for the line-up to be announced, what better time to muse about who’s on our wish-list?

  1. Run the Jewels: Killer Mike and El-P are at the height of their gritty, uncompromising hip-hop game. Their deep, industrial beats and dark production would make for one heavy show. You’d have a hard time keeping Halifax hip-hop heads away from this one. Maybe we’d get a taste of their cat-based remix album, Meow the Jewels.
  2. Grimes: Queen of witch-pop. We thought she might have disappeared for a few years there. Fortunately Grimes killed (v. maimed?) those uncertainties and is back in the spotlight. With her driving pop and pixie-from-hell singing style this’d be a hit show for Halifax’s art angels.
  3. Destroyer: West Coast baroque pop from Dan Bejar’s poetic, reverby, orchestrated reverie would be right at home at a venue somewhere like St. Matt’s church. There’s no way that Halifax would miss out on the charms this act’s grooving instrumentals and dreamy vocals.
  4. BadBadnotgood: Always an uproarious show, BadBadnotgood have proven to be a highlight of Pop Explosions past and it’d be great to see them grace the east coast again. Their jazz-infused hip hop jams are not to be trifled with.
  5. Ty Segall: showcasing some of the best of what garage rock and psych has to offer, a Ty Segall appearance at Pop Explosion would feel fitting. His driving psych-rock music is right in line with a lot of the sounds Halifax has been producing over the past 25 years. There’s no end to the lo-fi love in this city, and no doubt Haligonians would embrace Ty Segall’s weird, punchy style.


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Photo Gallery: Halifax Pop Explosion in 35mm

Coast photographer Kate Giffin takes on local bands at HPX in film and Polaroid

Posted By and on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Vogue Dots at Olympic Hall - KATE GIFFIN
  • Vogue Dots at Olympic Hall
  • Kate Giffin

The Everywheres at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • The Everywheres at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Rilla Word (The Everywheres) at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Rilla Word (The Everywheres) at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

The Everywheres - KATE GIFFIN
  • The Everywheres
  • Kate Giffin

The Everywheres - KATE GIFFIN
  • The Everywheres
  • Kate Giffin

Josh Salter (Monomyth) at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Josh Salter (Monomyth) at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Monomyth at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Monomyth at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Monomyth at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Monomyth at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Sam Hill, Kat Shubaly, Alison Higgins, Danika Vandersteen at Monomyth - KATE GIFFIN
  • Sam Hill, Kat Shubaly, Alison Higgins, Danika Vandersteen at Monomyth
  • Kate Giffin

Walrus (Justin Murphy) at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Walrus (Justin Murphy) at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Walrus at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Walrus at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Mauno at St. Matthew's Church - KATE GIFFIN
  • Mauno at St. Matthew's Church
  • Kate Giffin

Eliza Niemi (Mauno) at St. Matthew's Church - KATE GIFFIN
  • Eliza Niemi (Mauno) at St. Matthew's Church
  • Kate Giffin

Heaven for Real at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Heaven for Real at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Each Other (Mike Wright) at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Each Other (Mike Wright) at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Best Fiends - KATE GIFFIN
  • Best Fiends
  • Kate Giffin

Crosss (Andy March) at The Seahorse Tavern - KATE GIFFIN
  • Crosss (Andy March) at The Seahorse Tavern
  • Kate Giffin

Crosss (Scarlett Rose) at The Seahorse Tavern - KATE GIFFIN
  • Crosss (Scarlett Rose) at The Seahorse Tavern
  • Kate Giffin

Nap Eyes (Nigel Chapman) at St. Matthew's Church - KATE GIFFIN
  • Nap Eyes (Nigel Chapman) at St. Matthew's Church
  • Kate Giffin

Nap Eyes at St. Matthews Church - KATE GIFFIN
  • Nap Eyes at St. Matthews Church
  • Kate Giffin

Nap Eyes (Brad Loughead) at St. Matthews Church - KATE GIFFIN
  • Nap Eyes (Brad Loughead) at St. Matthews Church
  • Kate Giffin

Harley Alexander & The Universal Lovers at Gus' Pub - KATE GIFFIN
  • Harley Alexander & The Universal Lovers at Gus' Pub
  • Kate Giffin

Sheer Agony (Jackson MacIntosh) at The Company House - KATE GIFFIN
  • Sheer Agony (Jackson MacIntosh) at The Company House
  • Kate Giffin

Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis) at The Stubborn Goat - KATE GIFFIN
  • Cactus Flower (Jess Lewis) at The Stubborn Goat
  • Kate Giffin

Moon at The Forum MPC - KATE GIFFIN
  • Moon at The Forum MPC
  • Kate Giffin

Moon at The Forum MPC - KATE GIFFIN
  • Moon at The Forum MPC
  • Kate Giffin

Robert Loveless and the Loveland Band at The Carleton - KATE GIFFIN
  • Robert Loveless and the Loveland Band at The Carleton
  • Kate Giffin

Robert Loveless and the Loveland Band at The Carleton - KATE GIFFIN
  • Robert Loveless and the Loveland Band at The Carleton
  • Kate Giffin


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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: Rich Aucoin & Purity Ring, Halifax Pop Explosion

Coady LeBlanc loved Saturday night's big acts, ended HPX with a donair

Posted By on Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 6:08 PM

Rich Aucoin with Symphony Nova Scotia - MARTIN BLAIS
  • Rich Aucoin with Symphony Nova Scotia
  • Martin Blais

Saturday night was a bittersweet affair. While it is always sad to say goodbye to HPX, the Pop lifestyle is not a sustainable one. You can only crawl home at 3am just to wake up mere hours later so many consecutive times before it begins to take its toll on your sanity (and liver). That being said, as sad as I was to see it go, Pop was going to go out with a bang (GET IT?!?!) because Saturday night’s line-up was straight fire, yo.

To begin the evening I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of seeing Rich Aucoin with Symphony Nova Scotia at the Rebecca Cohn. I know for certain that if you have lived in Halifax for any amount of time, you have heard of Rich. His live shows are the stuff of legend, incorporating audience karaoke, kindergarten parachute parties and dancing until you can’t dance no mo’. Aucoin is certainly one of the best entertainers in Halifax, approaching his live shows with childlike abandon paired with precise rhythmic calculation that can only come from years of experience. You can’t help but leave with a big, dumb smile on your face.

While his normal (if you could ever get away with calling it that) live show demonstrates his skill and creativity as an entertainer in exciting visual ways, Rich’s performance with the Symphony that night showcased how truly gifted and thoughtful he is as a musician. With the help of the orchestra, conductor Martin MacDonald, David Christensen (who advised Aucoin while scoring the set), and a massive grand piano (some Jerry Lee Lewis-style bench kicks were had, true old school rock n’ roll), crowd favourites such as "Four More Years," "City I Love," "Want to Believe" and "All You Cannot Live Without" came to life with renewed beauty. The anthemic group sing along choruses were rounded out perfectly by a choir comprised of Aucoin’s friends, and a host of extra players added depth and dynamics to selected pieces with percussion, stand-up bass, and acoustic guitar. The classic Grinch Who Stole Christmas act was even brought out, which delighted the old-school fans.

It wouldn’t have been a real Rich show if there was no audience inclusion somewhere in the run of the night. Closing the night out with back-to-back songs "Living to Die/Dying to Live" with microphone outstretched over the crowd, Aucoin invoked the audience to sing along in chorus. It made a beautiful night even more beautiful by bringing the type of unity to strangers that can only come from singing songs about hope and life. It was truly uplifting, enough to bring tears to your eyes and, without exaggeration, it was a performance I will never forget.

Purity Ring at The Forum MPC - LENNY MULLINS
  • Purity Ring at The Forum MPC
  • Lenny Mullins

After pulling myself together I quickly drove home so I could make the jog over to The Forum Multipurpose Centre for Purity Ring. I thought it a certain impossibility that I could be more blown away than I just was at The Cohn. While Rich astounded me sonically, Purity Ring amazed me visually. Let me tell you b’ys, this shit was ~*tRiLL*~ enough to get you high by sight alone.

Vocalist Megan James’ ethereal voice is just as beautiful live as recorded, and her presence on stage is equally as commanding and strong. Making use of the entire stage, James engaged every person in the room while showcasing her natural talent on songs from both their first album, Shrines, and March’s release, Another Eternity. Instrumentalist Corin Roddick, the other half of the Ring, had his workstation staged behind what I could only describe as a cage of massive cotton swabs from the future. In the escalation of cool shit that kept happening, Roddick revealed that these giant Q-Tips were infact preprogrammed synthesizer pads that, when struck, LIT UP. REAL COOL. (you can check out what I’m talking about in photos from the night found here).

The Ring didn’t pull out all the guns all at once though. Many strands of cascading bulbs hung on either side of the stage. What I originally thought were stagnant set pieces (to take away from the fact that only two people were on this massive stage) began to light up later in the performance. Like Christmas lights on acid, they were perfectly synched to the music. Sonically the show was equally as impressive, with James' voice clearly cutting through Roddick’s massive bass drops. The tech behind the sound booth on this deserved a cold one.

Speaking of cold ones, this was also the show that taught me Miller Lite is complete garrrrrrrrrbage to drink. I just wanted a switch up from MGD for a second but it was totally not worth it. It’s going to be a long ass while before “it’s Miller time” again for this dude.

Anyway, suddenly it’s 1 am and I’m at Johnny K’s with Greg and Taylor shoving a donair down my throat with every intention of heading to Reflections to catch the last minute Skratch Bastid show. Now friends, there are some pillars of time in your life, those moments that you always come back to because they are so defining and teach you profound truths about who you are as a person. This exact moment in question was the moment when all of the nights of 3 hours of sleep, garbage fast food and, most likely, pretty bad dehydration caught up with me and, like a homesick kid at summer camp, all I wanted was my own bed. I knew it was time to be a big ol’ baby and call it the end of HPX for me.

But it was a wild blast of a ride and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Got a cool Pop Explosion story, favourite act, or dumb thing you did? Comment section is below and I can’t wait to hear ‘em.

Till next year, folks.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Photos: Day Five, Halifax Pop Explosion

Coast photographer Lenny Mullins captures Saturday, the last night of HPX

Posted By and on Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 12:43 PM

MOON - LENNY MULLINS
  • MOON
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Andrew Neville (Moon) - LENNY MULLINS
  • Andrew Neville (Moon)
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

BRAIDS - LENNY MULLINS
  • BRAIDS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

DOLDRUMS - LENNY MULLINS
  • DOLDRUMS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

PURITY RING - LENNY MULLINS
  • PURITY RING
  • Lenny Mullins

Megan James (Purity Ring) - LENNY MULLINS
  • Megan James (Purity Ring)
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Corin Roddick (Purity Ring) - LENNY MULLINS
  • Corin Roddick (Purity Ring)
  • Lenny Mullins

Alvvays - LENNY MULLINS
  • Alvvays
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Cape Breton's Molly Rankin (Alvvays) - LENNY MULLINS
  • Cape Breton's Molly Rankin (Alvvays)
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins



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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Photos: Day Four, Halifax Pop Explosion

Coast photographer Lenny Mullin's captures Friday's big ticket shows

Posted By and on Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 6:51 PM

Cloud Nothings at Olympic Hall
  • Cloud Nothings at Olympic Hall

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Yeah sure, "natural," but have you even tried drugs? - LENNY MULLINS
  • Yeah sure, "natural," but have you even tried drugs?
  • Lenny Mullins

Vancouver's Dear Rouge at the Halifax Forum - LENNY MULLINS
  • Vancouver's Dear Rouge at the Halifax Forum
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

July Talk's Leah Fay at the Halifax Forum - LENNY MULLINS
  • July Talk's Leah Fay at the Halifax Forum
  • Lenny Mullins

Peter Dreimanis of July Talk - LENNY MULLINS
  • Peter Dreimanis of July Talk
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Montreal's Seoul - LENNY MULLIN'S
  • Montreal's Seoul
  • Lenny Mullin's

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

STARS - LENNY MULLINS
  • STARS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

The night the dream died #BlueJays - LENNY MULLINS
  • The night the dream died #BlueJays
  • Lenny Mullins

Set yourself on fire - LENNY MULLINS
  • Set yourself on fire
  • Lenny Mullins


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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan at HPX

Coady LeBlanc says the big-ticket act destroyed the Dirty-O in the best way possible

Posted By on Sat, Oct 24, 2015 at 12:43 PM

The Dillinger Escape Plan at Olympic Hall - LENNY MULLINS
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan at Olympic Hall
  • Lenny Mullins


Going to a heavy show in Halifax that isn’t all ages is still a weird concept to me. I still remember the newness and novelty of finally being legal and getting to see a band at The Pavilion (RIP) one night and then watching the exact same set the next night at Michael’s (also RIP) with a beer in hand. While my hardcore kid days are more or less behind me (the punk rock DIY mindset has moved from promoting shitty bands and sewing back patches on denim vests to actually deciding to do laundry and make car insurance payments) sometimes the boy wonder comes out for a night and, man, if he was ever going to come out, Thursday night was the time.

Big-ticket act The Dillinger Escape Plan destroyed the Dirty-O in the best way possible with some help from Cancer Bats along with local darlings A Sight For Sewn Eyes and Barlow. It was a chaotic, deafening circus of circle pits, tattoos and MGD. Here’s the play by play for those who missed it:

First up was Barlow. The Barlow crew has been around the block, with all of the members playing in no less than 600 bands over the course of their life on earth. Four young dudes they sure know what they’re doing, and last night’s set proved it again. Watching a mosh pit begin to form is like watching the beginnings of an awkward high school dance but Barlow had the crowd moving in no time. Never change boys, and don’t be strangers.

Next were the hometown heroes of heavy, A Sight For Sewn Eyes. It had been a while since I had seen ASFSE play, and I have to confess I haven’t heard any of their newest album (it’s been out since July, go check it out kiddos), but the b’ys have not skipped leg day as they were out the gate running. You wouldn’t have guessed that this was only the second show they’ve played in the last two years. For a band in a style of music that produces SO MUCH mediocrity and monotony ASFSE continues to age like a fine wine, becoming more complex and distinctive with each passing year. Vocalist Joshua Hanusiak gave a super genuine and emotional mid-set speech, thanking the Hali scene for all the support over the years. True hardcore kids never die, they just get older, and they’re still sticking by ASFSE.

Cancer Bats hit the stage next. I’ve never really followed the Bats, but I jammed along to the songs I knew. Personal highlight of the set was hearing Hail Destroyer and Pneumonia Hawk live because I remembered those tracks from high school. I also totally forgot that they had that rad-ass cover of The Beastie’s "Sabotage," so that was pretty cool. This was around the point where my phone was hitting the 5% mark and considering how badly I wanted to get shots of Dillinger for The Coast’s Insta (my press pass says photographer, I guess every dummy with a cell phone is a photographer now) I neglected most of the set for a suitable place to charge my phone and grab a beer. Sorry Bats, maybe next time.

Finally, fulfilling what I had been waiting for years to see, The Dillinger Escape Plan took the stage. From beginning to end it was bat-shit crazy. If you have not heard of or seen these guys before, do yourself a favour and head over to YouTube because their shows are legendary for complete disregard for personal safety (you can also check out the pictures from last night here). While to many their music may sound like children on bath salts demolishing a music store, what Dillinger does is pure art. Combining elements of metal, jazz, progressive rock and good ol’ punk, Dillinger continues to creates some of the most interesting music in their scene 18 some odd years since conception. Fortunately, they encapsulated their career pretty well that night. DEP played several tracks from their most recent release One Of Us Is The Killer, but not leaving out some jams from the older albums, which I feel should be a requirement for all bands that play Halifax for the first time. I mean this because there’s always that one person in the crowd who has been waiting YEARS for you to finally tour in our fine city and you have some catching up to do in their books. It’s common courtesy.

All in all it was everything that the little hardcore kid inside me had wanted. Hell, it was everything grown up me had hoped and dreamed for too. I mean, there’s still Cloud Nothings, Cryptorips, Rich Aucoin w/ The Symphony, Scratch Bastid and so many others to see still, but I might have to make the early call and give Dillinger the completely subjective and made up award of Best HPX Performance of the Year. I’ll get back to you if that changes.

Coady LeBlanc is The Coast's Front Desk Enforcer


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Photos: Day Three, Halifax Pop Explosion

Coast photographer Lenny Mullins captures the third night of HPX

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 3:38 PM

Vulva Culture (Amy V) at CKDU 88.1 FM - LENNY MULLINS
  • Vulva Culture (Amy V) at CKDU 88.1 FM
  • Lenny Mullins

Vulva Culture's Bianca Palmer - LENNY MULLINS
  • Vulva Culture's Bianca Palmer
  • Lenny Mullins

Hannah Guinan - LENNY MULLINS
  • Hannah Guinan
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Joyfultalk at St. Matthew's Church - LENNY MULLINS
  • Joyfultalk at St. Matthew's Church
  • Lenny Mullins

Jay Crocker (Joyfultalk) - LENNY MULLINS
  • Jay Crocker (Joyfultalk)
  • Lenny Mullins

Majical Cloudz at St. Matthew's Church - LENNY MULLINS
  • Majical Cloudz at St. Matthew's Church
  • Lenny Mullins

Majical Cloudz - LENNY MULLINS
  • Majical Cloudz
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

Cancer Bats at Olympic Hall - LENNY MULLINS
  • Cancer Bats at Olympic Hall
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

\m/        \m/ - LENNY MULLINS
  • \m/ \m/
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

The Dillinger Escape Plan at Olympic Hall - LENNY MULLINS
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan at Olympic Hall
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins


LENNY MULLINS
  • Lenny Mullins

LENNY MULLINS
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: Day Two, Halifax Pop Explosion

Danced so much last night I changed my shirt three times, yeah that makes sense

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Okay Day Two. Halifax Pop Explosion. Almost went full Lamar Odom last night. Just kidding. Once again, I didn't do a full-city every-show tour for the sake of it. No, I spent the majority of my night at the Olympic Hall catching one of the best lineups to hit Halifax ever. Oh yes, last night was incredibly amazing. Ryan Hemsworth, thank you, bless you, that was so tight. 

No wait, let's start from the top. Got home from The Coast and made nachos with pineapple on them; it's really the only thing I can make. After my cheese-up, I walked a block to O-Hall for Vogue Dots. It was just 8pm so the crowd wasn't huge but that didn't stop anyone from enjoying Babette Hayward's beautiful voice over Tynan Dunfield's electronic beats and drumming by Nathan Doucet. They covered "Thunder" by Cousins and my favourite Vogue Dots song, "Way with Silence." Doucet on drums filled out the sound big time. Looove it. Slowly, people began filling up the joint. I went home several times throughout the night to drink a beer and change my shirt occasionally. Gotta stay fresh. During Suicideyear, we goofed around on the upper-level and starting swinging from the rafters until Security Guy told us to stop. We danced really hard to the Baton Rouge DJ's terror-jungle melodies. My only beef is that it felt early for that kind of club-turn-up, but it was still very sick and flowed well. At one point, I leaned over the railing and my buddy Jordan jumped from the lower level to high-five a storey apart. I hope someone saw that.

I think I ripped my pants during Skylar Spence. Formerly Saint Pepsi from Long Island, Spence really got things heated up, chopping Drake jams and Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" (and here's a 360 throwback: Pop Explosion 2013, Seamus Dalton of Monomyth played that same Mariah song from his phone into the mic just before a Monomyth song, and then Monomyth played last night after Spence. Not sure what that means but it's a cool coincidence, I guess). Anyway, I spent most of the summer listening to Spence at parties and in cars and it was so sweet to hear him perform some of his own songs live. Homebruh can sing. I also had a chat with Hemsworth about his Frank & Oak mix. If you're wondering (like I was), it was pulled off Soundcloud in the great Soundcloud copyright purge. I had 100 other conversations last night so if we talked, it was nice meeting you or catching up with you. Say hey anytime. 

Then Hemsworth came on and by this point, I was very "turnt" and I can only remember Miller Genuine Draft, screwed-up Fetty Wap ("Trap Queen") and my pants ripping more (#RIP). People were going bananas in the crowd. It wasn't even midnight yet and the dance floor looked like a hot bag of gummy worms. The thing about DJs is they need to have good taste, they need to know what people want to hear and they need to play off the crowd's energy. Hemsworth is a true talent at all three of those thangs. Thank you, dog, for your Secret Songs. I left a few minutes early to get to Gus' Pub, which (hooray) didn't reek like farts! On the way, I got into an incident at Needs (don't ask) and then muscled my way past the lineup around the block for Monomyth. 

Monomyth is one of my favourite bands in the world. But holy, Gus' was so packed. Elbows were flying like the clearance rack at a wedding dress sale and it was genuinely frustrating. But I got myself up front for the last few songs, which included "Cigarette," the one about falling in love with you again and Seamu's new one from their forthcoming album. There was some goofing around, since former bandmates Graeme Stewart and Matthew Peters were pulled onstage. Josh Salter mistakenly said AC/DC was from Scotland and I yelled "AUSTRALIA" and he said, "You think I don't know that, Adria?!" I'm really tired right now so I'm sorry this is gonzo. Well, I'm not sorry, actually, but what more can I say? You should have been there. Things got hazy for Walrus, which actually seems appropriate for the heaviness of their psych-rock. It was thunderous, really. I went into the glass casino to sit down for a minute, which turned into 15 minutes, and then we were wandering the streets looking for a party and I got cranky and went home. Maybe I'll catch a nap before tonight's shows so that I can provide some comprehensive coverage tomorrow but for now I just wanna nachos and chill. Check out Lenny's beautiful photos. See you tonight.  



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Travi$ $cott cancels Halifax Pop Explosion show

Pack your lean back up, Travi$ cancels due to "travel" yeah okay sure

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 3:53 PM

The 'antedote' is playing your show, BRUH
  • The 'antedote' is playing your show, BRUH

Bad news: Houston's Travi$ $cott just cancelled his Halifax Pop Explosion show tonight, sorry everyone. Pack your lean cups back up, take your grills out. Individual tickets will be refunded, hit up info@etixnow.com  or call 1-877-384-9669. Luckily, we can still turn up to DJ T-Woo, Jazz Cartier and Weirdo Click but the show has moved to Reflections Cabaret.

Tickets at the door are $15. Sorry bruhs. I called it, though. 


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Sure Thing Events

  • Hip Hop Karaoke w/DJ OKAY TK, DJ Uncle Fester @ The Seahorse Tavern

    • Fri., June 28, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $10
  • The Midnight Ramblers cover The Rolling Stones @ The Carleton

    • Fri., June 28, 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $10
  • Lungbutter w/Glazey, Meat Substitute @ Lost & Found

    • Sat., June 29, 6:30 p.m.

In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 5
June 27, 2019

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