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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nova Scotia liquor board cuts down on live music at Timber Lounge following complaints

Unamplified shows are still permitted.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 3:31 PM

You'll have to settle for the sweet, sweet sound of an axe hitting bullseye. - LENNY MULLINS
  • You'll have to settle for the sweet, sweet sound of an axe hitting bullseye.
  • Lenny Mullins

Restrictions on live music has a local business owner wondering “where is music allowed in Halifax?”

Due to multiple noise complaints, the Timber Lounge on Agricola Street is no longer permitted to host amplified shows. Acoustic performances, however, are still allowed.

Owner Marc Chisholm says the axe-throwing bar previously made an agreement with the province’s Alcohol, Gaming, Fuel and Tobacco Division to stop all live music after 11pm. Last Thursday, Chisholm was presented with a letter stating that further restrictions were placed on the lounge’s liquor license.

Chisholm believes most of the noise complaints are coming from one individual who lives a few doors down. “Section 29 of the liquor act is ‘personal enjoyment,’” he says, referring to the "quiet enjoyment" conditions. “So if a venue is affecting your personal enjoyment of your life, which is somewhat subjective, then they have the right to complain.”

Chisholm points out that while live music isn’t the Timber Lounge’s “bread and butter,” the restrictions do impact the arts community. There’s “more demand for stages” than what’s available in Halifax, he says.

“Unfortunately, with the liquor board being able to pull your license really any time that someone complains, it makes it difficult going forward to invest a lot of money in soundproofing.” But Chisholm emphasizes that his beef isn’t with the liquor board itself: “They were put in a tough situation. They had to do something.”

Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for Service Nova Scotia, says they’ve received “multiple complaints from three individuals” since August 2016.

MacInnis notes that if the business disagrees with the restriction, it can appeal to the Utility and Review Board. For now, says Chisholm, the plan is to wait for the new year to take another stab at hosting live music. He aims to crowd fund to cover the costs of further soundproofing—something he hopes will allow the restriction to be lifted.

“I hope the public weighs in a little bit and, you know, says if the Timber Lounge puts in an extra effort for soundproofing then they should be allowed to play music again.”

An outline on the restrictions on the Timber Lounge’s license are outlined below, as provided in an email from MacInnis.

A license was granted to Timber Lounge on April 27, 2016 with no entertainment restrictions. On June 20, 2017, the following conditions, relating to entertainment, were added to the license:
  •  Unless otherwise approved by AGFT, except for New Year’s Eve, all amplified entertainment must cease at or before 11 pm.
  • All doors and windows of the premises are to remain closed while entertainment is being offered at the premises.
  • The licensee shall work with their sound technician to identify ways to limit the base/low tones (reduce levels, raise speakers from the floor, use sound absorbing materials, etc.)
  • The main volume on the sound board is to be set at -10 or below at all times.
  • With the main volume on the sound board set to -10, the average sound level was 95 db inside the premises.  The average sound level shall not exceed 95 db inside the premises.
  • The ambient sound level reading on Fern Lane was an average of 62 db.  The average level on Fern Lane is at no time to be impacted/exceeded as a result of entertainment being offered at the premises.
  • The licensee will conduct regular inspections and sound checks of the premises and perimeter of the property, ensuring sound levels are maintained as prescribed.
  •  No entertainment is permitted on the patio

On November 23, further conditions relating to entertainment were added to the license:

  •  Live amplified entertainment and percussion instruments are prohibited at the premises.
  • Background entertainment, and unamplified entertainment with acoustics is permitted. Only vocals are permitted to run through the main sound board and house PA system.
  • Unless otherwise approved by AGFT, except for New Years Eve, all entertainment must cease at or before 11 pm.

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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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Monday, July 31, 2017

Premiere: Sarah Denim's "We Are Always"

Like a cool breeze

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 1:59 PM

Illustration by Julia Hutt @joolsannie, digital by Sarah Denim @_sarahdenim_
  • Illustration by Julia Hutt @joolsannie, digital by Sarah Denim @_sarahdenim_

Ease into the week with Sarah Denim's audio equivalent of an iced mango green tea, brand new single "We Are Always."

Cool, calm and organic-sounding, the track is a preview of Denim's upcoming album, due for release in September, following up 2016's gorgeous Left Side Trilogy EP.

Produced by Sarah Denim, engineered by Evan Cox, and mastered by Galen Conroy, Denim says the song is about "letting go of ideas and thoughts that keep us apart and finding and knowing and going to the place inside where we are always together, in love, with everybody."

Denim's sensual songs are like a cool breeze, with a gentle feeling of optimism. Denim says that writing allows her to "process my experience and feelings ... in a healthy way through creating."

"I believe the part of us that loves music and art, loves each other unconditionally and feels connected to everything."

Listen and enjoy in advance of her SappyFest show this Saturday.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

LISTEN TO THIS: Vadell Gabriel's new maxi-single

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 3:34 PM

Cover art created by The Yangsta. - VIA BANDCAMP
  • Cover art created by The Yangsta.
  • via bandcamp

If you’re not a fan of the first version of this single, you might like the next. Or the next.

“Rule Five,” a new maxi-single by Seth Glasgow—AKA  Vadell Gabriel—was released earlier last week. It’s currently available to listen to on his bandcamp and for pay-what-you-can download.

Glasgow says he used to be in a toxic relationship which put a lot of strain his ability to make music, and that’s what “Rule Five” is about.

Glasgow was inspired by his friend and fellow rapper The Yangsta and samples a couple lines from Yangsta’s tune “Rules to the Game” on the track.

He stresses that the purpose of the song isn’t to demean anyone.

“I’m just talking from my experience and it can happen to anyone else just like it happened to me,” says Glasgow.

The maxi-single also includes a song from Glasgow’s 2015 album Timbits, remixed by Chudi Harris.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Teaching the technical side of music and media

This female-led technology workshop is open to all women and femmes.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 1:53 PM


Electro Femmes: A Technology Focused Workshop Series

July 29, 10am to 3pm
CKDU, Dalhousie University Student Union Building

Three local women are looking to support artists who want to work in digital media—specifically, women and non-binary folks.

Grace Stratton, Francella Fiallos and Danielle Jakubiak are putting together Electro Femmes: A Technology Focused Workshop Series coming up in July.

“Our goal is really creating a comfortable environment where everyone is gonna feel welcome and included,” says Stratton, a musician currently studying to become an electronic technician.

“It can be intimidating to start working with this media and it can be difficult to find other people around you who can kind of guide you.”

The workshop itself is free, although those attending may make donations to CKDU. Participants will learn about recording audio, using music software and how to troubleshoot problems with instrument circuits.

In Stratton’s experience, the electronic music community is very male-dominated. “While they’re often really accommodating and lovely people,” she explains, it can be challenging to find a space with other women. On top of that, digital media can be tough to break into if one isn’t already familiar with software and techniques.

“We wanted to host this series so people could build their individual skills and learn things, but we could also meet other women and femmes who are interested in working with this media and hopefully strengthen our community.”

They’re encouraging people of any skill level take part.

“Everyone is welcome who self-identifies as female or non-binary,” says Stratton. “We’re just really excited to hold this.”

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cecilia Concerts launches its upcoming season

Check out this classical music lineup.

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 12:22 PM

Belgian cello octect Ô-Celli will be performing in October.
  • Belgian cello octect Ô-Celli will be performing in October.

Cecilia Concerts has announced its 2017/18 season, and it’s music to our ears.

The season kicks off in September with clarinetist Dominic Desautels, Cecilia’s musician-in-residence for the year. In addition to homegrown talent, music fans can get a taste of Belgium later in the fall through the Psallentes ensembles and cello octect Ô-Celli. Things wrap up next April with JUNO-winning soprano Jane Archibald.

Cecilia began more than 25 years ago, presenting non-symphonic classical music from local, national and international musicians ever since.

 2017/18 Cecilia Concerts Season At-A-Glance

September 16, 2017
Musician-In-Residence Dominic Desautels & Friends
Dominic Desautels, clarinet; Stéphane Tétreault, cello; Jean-Philippe Sylvestre, piano

September 23
Belgian Medieval Vocalists, Directed by Hendrik Vanden Abeele

October 14
Postcards From France
Cameron Crozman, cello; Hugo Lee, oboe; Philip Chiu, piano

October 29
Belgian Cello Octet

November 12
Giants of the Piano
Jane Coop, piano

November 19
Mozart & da Ponte’s Don Giovanni
Performances by Jeunesse Musicales

November 25
The Parcival Project
Emmanuel Vukovich, violin; Victor Fournelle-Blain, violin; Marina Thibeault, viola; Julia MacLaine, cello; Dominic Desautels, clarinet

January 21, 2018
O Mistress Moon
Jennifer King, piano

February 4
Heemin Choi Recital
Heemin Choi, violin

February 18
Faune & Naïades
Palladium Duo: Ariane Brisson, flute; Olivier Hébert-Bouchard, piano

March 10
Ladom Ensemble
Michael Bridge, accordion; Adam Campbell, percussions; Pouya Hamidi, piano; Marie-Cristine P. St-Jacques, cello

March 24
A Celebration of Spring
Dominic Desautels, clarinet; Pascale Beaudin, soprano; and Walter Delahunt, piano

April 8
Red Piano
Jeanne Amièle, piano; Simon Larivière, piano

April 29
Jane Archibald Recital
Jane Archibald, coloratura; and Liz Upchurch, pianist

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Addicted to The Drug Rugs

The self-proclaimed bubbly pop musicians are ready to rock The Seahorse.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 4:42 PM

The Drug Rug members L-R: Guitarist Emma LeBlanc, vocalist Laura Kempton and guitarist Marcus Tracy. Not pictured: Drummer Spencer McPhee and bassist Billy Habib. - JORDAN HAINES
  • The Drug Rug members L-R: Guitarist Emma LeBlanc, vocalist Laura Kempton and guitarist Marcus Tracy. Not pictured: Drummer Spencer McPhee and bassist Billy Habib.
  • Jordan Haines

Aftermath 2017 - An NSCC Last Class Bash
Friday, April 7, 9pm-2am
The Marquee Ballroom and The Seahorse Tavern,
2037 Gottingen Street
NSCC Students: $5 advance/$7 door
Public: $10 advance/$12 door

Psychedelic pop group The Drug Rugs are dropping in to a two-level concert on Friday, lined-up with popular locals such as The Town Heroes and Toronto's After Funk.

“There’s the Seahorse, which is more of the poppy, electronic stuff in the basement,” says Laura Kempton, Drug Rugs' lead vocalist and music arts student at NSCC. “Then the Marquee is like rock—rock n’ roll.”

The Drug Rugs is falling in with the “poppy” crowd, taking the Seahorse stage.

Students from NSCC's music business program took the reins on organizing the end-of-school year celebration as their final project. Kempton says her band was lucky to be asked to get on board.

The Drug Rugs have been on the scene for about a year—coincidentally, it also started off as a group project for a class. Since its beginnings, three members have grown into five, and the band’s audience is drinking it all in.
The group has had requests for merchandise as well as more song availability online. Overall, Kempton finds the local music community “super welcoming” to newcomers.

It’s “really easy to book a show—multiple venues on the same street, like Gottingen,” she says. “But then, promoting yourself is a different story.”

Thanks to the music program, Kempton feels she’s been “catapulted into the scene,” and meeting people in the industry.

“Now, I’m friends with The Brood, who were like, just a name I kind of recognized beforehand.”

She plays with them, too: The Drug Rugs’ current bassist is Billy Habib, who also rocks out with The Brood.

“I'm friends with all these musicians I’d only kind of heard of,” says Kempton.

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Andrew MacKelvie wants you to hear the silence

Halifax-based saxophonist talks improv music and his upcoming show.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 4:00 AM

“If silence is like a timbre, silence has a quality and that quality is part of the room, how can I then start to influence that quality?” - SUBMITTED
  • “If silence is like a timbre, silence has a quality and that quality is part of the room, how can I then start to influence that quality?”
  • submitted

Sounding Evolution: Andrew MacKelvie w/Lukas Pearse, Geordie Haley
Monday, April 10, 8pm
1313 Hollis, 1313 Hollis Street

Silence is seemingly the opposite of music. For Andrew MacKelvie, though, there's a certain resonance to it—and that's what he seeks to explore in his work.

"There's certain patterns, almost, in the air that you can start to hear," says MacKelvie, who's been playing saxophone for more than 15 years. "I know that sounds a little out there, but it's really fascinating." That's what MacKelvie has been incorporating into his own music, particularly in the last two years. "If silence is like a timbre, silence has a quality and that quality is part of the room, how can I then start to influence that quality?"

MacKelvie has a passion for improvised music and released a record of it, You'll Come Upon A Mountain, in 2014. In addition to his solo ventures, he's played in The Original Folk Trio, xxvii and New Hermitage (his most recent project). New Hermitage is honing in on the idea of "environmental sound"

Next week, MacKelvie is collaborating with guitarist Geordie Haley and bassist Lukas Pearse for a concert in the suddenlyLISTEN series. SuddenlyLISTEN, founded in 2000, focuses on "creative art events" and "celebrating improvisation."

Ironically, says MacKelvie, improvised music tends to be strict. "Your allegiance to the music has to be really strong," he says. "The minute you sort of lose focus on what you're doing—especially in a group like that—you're just left behind."

That said, MacKelvie finds a distinct joy in playing with other people, creating "something from nothing" as a group. He's especially excited to take the stage with Haley and Pearse, who he describes as "pros" in the improvisational style.

He hopes folks won't be intimidated by the concept and will be willing to attend the show to "give it a try."

Ahead of this concert in particular, MacKelvie has been dwelling on the best way to write for improvisation. He's put together ideas, textures and melodies, but they can be "totally ripped apart" by the musicians. He compares the concept to a Lego set: Simple parts can become complex. "I just give you all the pieces. You can assemble it however you want," he explains. "This is what's on the box, but you can do whatever you want with it. You can make whatever you want." 

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Make way for Vulva Culture

The band is back and raising money for Avalon Sexual Assault Centre.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 3:25 PM

Vulva Culture's Amy Vinnedge, pictured here at the 2015 Halifax Pop Explosion. - LENNY MULLINS
  • Vulva Culture's Amy Vinnedge, pictured here at the 2015 Halifax Pop Explosion.
  • Lenny Mullins
Vulva Culture w/Husband & Knife, Special Costello
Saturday, March 25, 8:30pm-12am
Timber Lounge

Vulva Culture w/Chudi Harris, Aquakulture
Monday, March 27, 8pm-12am
The HMCS Wardroom, University of King's College

After a four-month hiatus, Vulva Culture is hitting up two live shows in Halifax at the end of March.

“We’ve still been working in-between, just not playing too, too often,” says band vocalist Amy Vinnedge. “We’re very pleased to be out of hibernation and gearing up to go again.”

The shows will also mark the release of demos from the group’s 2015 album In Vain. When Vinnedge originally wrote the songs and recorded the demos, it was “an emotionally stressful period of time” in her life.

“The songwriting process itself was like, kind of the first step in a cathartic therapy—like a purgative kind of therapy for myself.”

These days, Vinnedge is feeling grateful for the support she’s receiving, both for the band and on a personal level. It made her want to do something to give back. While talking with bassist Hannah Guinan (who is also artistic director at the Khyber), the two got on the topic of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre.

“The Centre is such a valuable resource to Halifax,” says Vinnedge. “One of the most important things for survivors of any abuse and trauma is to receive that support and that care.”

Avalon has also played a role in helping Guinan “make the Khyber a safer space.”

“They really empower—not just survivors—but like, the community as a whole and really work to educate the community,” says Vinnedge.

As a result, proceeds from purchases of In Pain: In Vain Demos will go to Avalon.

“I think this is a nice way for us as a group to do something for them and to help support them.”

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ten years of SPEWing

The “thrash fuckin' metal” band celebrates a decade of music with Saturday’s show.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Throwback to SPEW in 2015.
  • Throwback to SPEW in 2015.

Decade of Alcohol Abuse with Spew, Hard Charger
Saturday, March 4, 10pm-2am
Gus' Pub & Grill

As SPEW’s last remaining original member, bassist and vocalist Simon Fraser has been part of some wild performances.

“There’s just been a lot of craziness,” he says.

Looking back on the last 10 years, three instances in particular come to mind.

The first time SPEW played with Dayglo Abortions, a Vancouver-based punk band, was a big deal for Fraser. He listened to the group throughout his school years and they became a huge influence on his own music.

Another memory that stands out to Fraser involves him losing part of his tooth, but he maintains they had a good time. 

“Someone bumped my mic stand while I was playing and broke my front tooth, but we didn’t skip a beat. We just kept going,” he says, guessing this was eight years ago. “Some guy got onstage, started getting in my face so I pushed him offstage, he fell on his face and everyone cheered. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.”

One of Fraser’s favourite shows—he can’t really call it a memory as he doesn’t remember playing the set—was at Club 1668.

“We were just basically playing in a mosh pit. Amps were getting knocked over, drums were getting knocked over. Apparently it was just crazy.”

The local music scene, Fraser says, is always changing: “Sometimes people are really excited about it and other times no one cares about it.” For Fraser and his bandmates, it’s not about “awards and accolades,” but having fun.

“As a kid, I never won any awards. Now I’m 30, so I don’t need to start winning them now.”

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Strengthening live music in Halifax

“We know there’s great artists and the fans are amazing."

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 1:41 PM

LAPS perform at HPX 2016. - KATE GIFFIN
  • LAPS perform at HPX 2016.
  • Kate Giffin

James Boyle already sees Halifax as a “music city,” but he thinks a live music strategy could help “make it stronger.”

“It’s the infrastructure that can change the city into a strong event city—or work towards corroding the reputation we have as an incredible place to visit,” says Boyle, executive director of the Halifax Pop Explosion.

In January, the motion for a strategy was passed by the Community Planning and Economic Development committee. South end councillor Waye Mason put the idea forward based on a 2015 report from Music Canada and IFPI: The Mastering of a Music City.

Mason met with Boyle and other industry professionals such as Erin Benjamin of Music Canada Live (MCL) and Louis Thomas of Sonic Entertainment Group. After three other meetings, the group spoke with mayor Mike Savage and gained his support to bring the motion before the committee.

“A live music strategy for the city of Halifax, I think, is a wonderful and important and critical way for us to examine the current state and health of live music in the city,” says Benjamin, MCL’s executive director.

The organization was formed in 2014. Since then, it’s aimed to advocate for live music across the country by raising awareness and providing resources for people in the industry.

“The goal of the organization is to entrench the economic, cultural value and power of live music.”

If live music isn’t taken into consideration as HRM develops its Centre Plan or Moving Forward Together Plan, says Boyle, the scene could suffer. The challenge lies in sustaining what already exists in Halifax as well as opening new venues.

“We know there’s great artists and the fans are amazing. It’s just—we’re looking ahead to changes.”

Boyle hopes the upcoming strategy will “clean up some of the bureaucracy” that makes it difficult to put on local events and bring larger concerts to the area. Audiences change and popularity shifts, but he says that’s to be expected. The problem comes down to city infrastructure—“archaic” liquor laws, for example.

Having a special event license means a sectioned off drinking area, which Boyle feels only causes people to drink more in between sets.

It “only creates a scenario where people can binge drink,” he says. Instead, there could be a drink limit while allowing people to “walk around an event grounds.”

Boyle points out that options for underage music lovers are also scarce, as HRM is “not committing to having an all-ages space.”

“We need to develop young audiences—we need to develop young people into music fans.”

On top of that, people can’t attend live music shows if they have no way to get there or no way to get home. Boyle feels a university city could benefit from having busses running later.

“You arrive in a city that’s known for its culture, known for its music, known for its night life,” he says. “You go to look at the bus schedule and the next thing you know you can’t get home at the end of the night.”

Even a single 24-hour route—or one that goes a few hours later—would be an improvement.

Richard McNeil, who plays keyboard for Dub Kartel, agrees that transit is an issue.

“How do you expect people to experience downtown culture if they can’t get downtown without spending $40 on cab rides?” he says.

“Busses stop until midnight and all shows go until two. What’s the expense in keeping, you know, select routes open the extra two and a half hours?”

McNeil says he’s been playing music locally since he started living in Halifax in 2009. Another thing he notices the region is lacking is rehearsal spaces.

“Either you’re getting noise complaints in your residency, or you’re paying out the ass for rehearsal space with a bunch of other bands or you’re lugging all sorts of gear in and out of the location all the time.”

In the same vein of the recording studios at the Halifax Central Library, McNeil sees the value in a shared community space for rehearsal. Ideally, it would have considerably lower costs than privatedly-owned rental spaces, with a backline and drum kit available for use. A shared space would also allow for interaction between different musicians, strengthening the community.

“You’re sharing spaces and therefore sharing experiences,” says McNeil.

When it comes to cultivating live music, the onus is on the city’s venues and musicians. McNeil wants the responsibility to be more evenly divided, and he believes even small changes can make a huge difference.

“It’s falling 100 percent on these venues to create these opportunities for the musicians, when it should be a shared load by the venues and the city alike.”

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Salt-N-Pepa is coming to Halifax

Get ready to Shake Your Thang with the I Love The 90s Tour

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 11:33 AM

  • OMG

Time to dig out the big earrings and bright bodysuits—an all-star '90s dance party is headed this way in May. Headlined by Salt-N-Pepa and featuring names like Biz Markie and Color Me Badd, the I Love The '90s Tour be Halifax’s chance to push it real good.

Tickets for the May 24 show (which takes place at the Scotiabank Centre) go live February 10 (and are in the 40 dollar range), but while you’re waiting to talk about sex, baby, let’s relive some of the best by the Queens, NY queens of hip hop.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A live music strategy for Halifax might be on its way

An “industry-led live music working group” would develop the plan.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:16 PM

How can Halifax encourage, "enhance and protect" its sweet tunes? - DYLAN CHEW
  • How can Halifax encourage, "enhance and protect" its sweet tunes?
  • Dylan Chew

Music in Halifax may be going through some changes—hopefully positive ones—if a motion by south end councillor Waye Mason goes ahead.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Community Planning and Economic Development committee, Mason is asking for a live music strategy for HRM. An “industry-led live music working group” would be put together to develop the strategy.

Mason was inspired by a 2015 report from Music Canada and IFPI: The Mastering of a Music City. The report offers a series of recommendations based one what’s worked in music-centric cities such as Austin, Berlin and Melbourne.

“That’s what this advisory group or this working group would be talking about—would be trying to implement the ‘music city’ program that’s already been well fleshed-out,” Mason explains.

A few Canadian cities have implemented strategies too. In particular, Mason says, “Toronto’s been right at the forefront of this.”

The strategy could touch on everything from what venues the city should own and maintain to how to manage noise complaints.

“It’s those kinds of discussions that have to happen: how do you enhance and protect (live music).”

On a smaller scale, there’s something Mason says has been discussed since before he was part of council.

“How expensive and how hard is it to get it so that when you’re on hold at 311…that the hold music is local music instead of muzak?”

He might be on to something, there. Listening to Ria Mae could make being on hold a lot less painful.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dub Kartel gets serious

Hear a track off their newly released full-length album

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:32 AM

Dub Kartel havin' a time
  • Dub Kartel havin' a time

“It was awesome, probably our biggest show ever. Just a super fun night of sweaty dancing and reggae and crowdsurfing and all that stuff we’ve been known for,” Dub Kartel’s Richard McNeil is talking about last weekend’s album release at the Seahorse, and if you missed it and you’re a fan, then I’m sorry. That said, the whole point of the party was that the band has a new full length album, and the good news is that you can buy an album and have a mini Dub Kartel party in your living room whenever the mood strikes. Crowdsurf your cat.

It’s an album they’ve been working on for the past two years, which they completely produced themselves, without a red cent of grant money. Throwing everything they earned from shows and merch into the record, McNeil calls it a “unique type of crowdfunding.”

Dub Kartel has been a band for five years, and in that time they’ve had the loyal love of their fans, but have remained without label representation. That’s the next goal, and a theme that’s covered on the album. “The songs were written over along period of time, mostly about the highs and lows of being a band in existence in Canada,” McNeil says. “Control and losing control is a big theme, that’s something we’ve all experienced. We’ve gone on trips and let stuff get out of hand before.”

“We spent a lot of time partying! We’re trying to find a balance and take next step as a group, become a more professional act and take it as seriously as we can.”

See Dub Kartel live Wednesday, September 28 at the Seahorse at Sickboy Podcast’s charity event for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and listen to McNeil’s favourite track off of the new album in the meantime:

Says McNeil of the track: "It’s one of our oldest songs, people who have seen us will recognize it immediately. It’s our signature sound—really positive. It’s special because we wrote it when we started to write the record and it’s one that we were all really positive about and the recording really translated that. The message is same as we always try to get across: be positive and be nice to people."

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

You even dance, bro? Watch this photo montage of The Jam

Halifax's north end dance party celebrates its second anniversary on June 17

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Two years of gettin' jammed
  • Two years of gettin' jammed

For the last two years, three Halifax DJs have been bringing the literal and metaphorical jams almost once a month to Michael's Bar & Grill (#RIP), briefly to Reflections and then finally The Seahorse, where the last several Jams have been 'jammed' to capacity. On June 17, DJ T-Woo (Trevor Wood), DJ Okay TK (TK Thorpe) and DJ Loukas Stilldrunk (Loukas Crowther) will celebrate this milestone with a special edition of The Jam to say thank you for the good times. For something extra special, Crowther has made this sweet montage of hot pics by Phototype (Andrew Donovan and Crissie Brenton) and I don't know about you, but I'm sweatin'. 

Not only has The Jam invited some of the best DJs in Canada (shout out Nick Bike) and the world (shout out Just Blaze) to spin, there's been so much local talent onstage, from DJ IV, Cam Anderson and Gwen West to Uncle Fester and Zora the Sultan, and of course, our gracious hosts, playing funk, house, Madonna and everything in between. You even dance, bro? 

"T-Woo started this whole journey, and let's be honest, it's the only good thing he's ever done with his life," says Crowther. "It's been two years of sweaty parties, sweatier after-parties, barely remembered after-after-parties and regrettable hangovers." But beyond the music, there's you, the beautiful person who shows up month after month and dances til you're soaked and covered in Horsepower: "You guys make this all worthwhile. Without you we are nothing," says Crowther. 

So smash that hecking 'going' button at The Jam's Two Year Anniversary (Vol 24) to get the scoop on share contests and other stuff. I've heard there are prizes and surprises, too. It'll be dope.

THE JAM - TWO YEARS from Loukas Crowther on Vimeo.

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