The Scene is your best source for any arts and entertainment news in Halifax: Local music news, concert announcements, record releases, festivals, local film and TV, visual arts, theatre, dance, comedy, literature and more. Contact scene@thecoast.ca to send a tip.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: Kristen Martell's Coming Home will heal you

The Mahone Bay singer-songwriter's debut album brings the mellow.

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 6:51 PM

Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance. - KRISTENMARTELL.COM PHOTO
  • Kristen Martell is helping you through COVID-19 by playing a regular Tuesday night livestream at 10pm on Facebook and Instagram live. Tonight, she plays her 10th quarentine performance.
  • kristenmartell.com photo
Kristen Martell wants you to breathe. And you will, after listening to her latest EP, Coming Home.


It’s an album with all the warmth of a summer sun which shines through acoustic pop that’s bright and hopeful — without sacrificing meaningful, insightful lyrics.

The Mahone bay songwriter crafts her tunes in a reflective, introspective style—much like Gabrielle Papillon and Rose Cousins: Peaceful reflections of the way things are, the ways things have changed. Her songs explore the self, and the way we walk through life.

Tracks “We Learn” and “Ain’t No Obstacle” reflect on the lessons learned — “We Bleed, we burn, We live we learn,” sings Martell with a soft voice that brims with depth (and will make a fan out of any Alanis Morissette-lovin' ears on contact). “Fade away” and “Breathe” are almost meditative in the way she encourages finding peace in the present — in what we can control.

There’s ample comfort to be found here, amidst songs that rarely challenge us with in-depth or personal anecdotes, but rather flow with encouragement and earnest care. “Where’s your voice? Where’s your heart?” Martell asks, above guitar—acoustic and electric—and resonant drums that underscore her songwriting, rather than propel it forward.

She flirts with blues and americana in “Ain’t No Obstacle,” and pulls it off: The song is a declaration of power over her past and present, delivered in a strong and resonant voice.

But above all, this is a talented and insightful songwriter that cares—and cares deeply—for those she sings to, inviting us to consider how we view ourselves: “Can we share the space,” she asks, “and take a deep breath. And look straight ahead at the sun while it sets.”

Breathe out, pull up a chair and listen. Martell has lots to share.

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Bring Halifax culture home with our May 25-31 streaming guide

Binge the best in local live art.

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 5:14 PM

Cyndi Cain brings sweet-as-honey soul music to a Thursday night showcase. - KAY PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Cyndi Cain brings sweet-as-honey soul music to a Thursday night showcase.
  • KAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Tuesday May 26

Vista

Zuppa Theatre continues to push your mental boundaries of what a play can be—this time, taking you on a virtual walking tour that can be done anywhere (yes, even in your apartment) while asking big questions about what health means and how communities can stay healthy. An app-guided audio tour that was created at a social distance and is made to be experienced that way, the play is part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival. Get the full details here and enjoy the show any time until May 31.

Pineo & Loeb

The DJ duo isn't gonna let COVID-19 stop the party, so it's teaming up with NSCC's Revival Initiative web series to show how a song "can go from ballad to banger." Follow along here at 7pm.

Off The Leash w/Jeremy Webb

Neptune Theatre's artistic director helps fill the hole in our hearts and calendars  with a livestream talk show that pulls back the curtain on local live theatre. Catch it Tuesdays-Fridays at 8:30pm on Facebook or Youtube.

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out—and check out our review of Martell's debut EP here.

Wednesday May 27

Troll Dolly w/Nat Chantel

Drummer and sound artist Troll Dolly, in the words of EVERYSEEKER Festival, "explores the fluctuation between the body, impairment, and sonic ecologies" by performing with found rhythms. Here, she finds her sonic match with Halifax performing artist Nat Chantel, who created a piece called Silence and The Sound After to release the sound of erasure and inter-generational trauma for BIPOC folks. Watch their collaborative video on EVERYSEEKER's site.

Thursday May 28

Cyndi Cain w/Casual cries for HELP

Halifax's honey bee of soul, Cain has opened for the likes of Lauryn Hill. Now, she's headlining this African Nova Scotian Music Association show to sweeten up your Thursday night. It all goes down on Facebook Live at 7pm.

Come Closer: A workshop w/Francesca Ekwuyasi

An online workshop created by artist Francesca Ekwuyasi (one of the creative forces highlighted in The Coast's 2020 New Art issue) helps you learn how to self-archive through language. Part of the EVERYSEEKER Festival, you can register to take part in the 7pm workshop here.

Ria Mae

A Thursday night party-starter thanks to the pop princess Mae. It all goes down at 7pm via Instagram Live.

Terra Spencer

An indie singer-songwriter showcase happening inside a blanket fort. We don't know how else to sell you on this if you're not already for it because baby this is it! Happening at 8pm via Facebook Live.

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition continues as Baldwin kicks off his weekly Thursday show at 9pm on Youtube, all while helping you get your RDI of Americana.

The Princess Show by HEIST

HEIST's breakthrough hit from the 2016 Halifax Fringe Fest tells the story of gender-fucking royalty, blending video game references with drag and packing it all up in a musical. The indie production was so successful it spawned its own sequel and now, well, you can hop on twitch and feel like you're watching local theatre history-in-the-making (because you are). It all goes down at 10pm; more details here.

Friday May 29

Gaga night online

A drag night full of original choreography to tunes by the monster queen herself, this showcase was meant to happen at Menz before the pandemic. At 8:30pm, raise a glass to the now-gone gay bar, remember you were born this way, and check here for more info.

Tim Baker

The former helm of Hey Rosetta! celebrates a new single with this livestream, happening at 8pm via Side Door.

LXVNDR

Charlottetown's rap queen herself arrives in town (virtually) thanks to EVERYSEEKER Festival. Wear your dancey pants because you'll need 'em. It all goes down at 8pm via Instagram Live.

Walking Gottingen: Sounds and stories from Halifax's North end

While Mayworks 2020 is almost ready to call it a wrap, this soundwalk production—available to download as of May 29—is just getting started, taking the listener for a walk through the history of one of Halifax's most famous streets.  "By experiencing this soundwalk, listeners will hear intimate, moving descriptions of an area that has been home to African Nova Scotians, LGBTQ+ folk, and members of Mi’kmaq communities for generations," creators add. Get it here.

Saturday May 30

Moscow Apartment

The folk-rock duo takes to Side Door to announce a new single with a live show. Catch it on the site at 8:30pm.

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Jennah Barry

The Mahone Bay maven roared back into our playlists earlier this year with her excellent album Holiday and now, thank goodness, we're getting to see Barry live as she takes to the internet for a streamed show. While details are still TBA, you can watch this space or check her Instagram for more.

Drone Day: Drone from home

EVERYSEEKER's usual hat-tip to drone music isn't gonna be quite the same this year, but don't let that make you think it won't be awesome: Instead of gathering IRL to make the longest drone noise possible, people will be connecting virtually, maybe even to sit on their stoops like that viral Italian video, while they make sweet noise. Register here or hit up EVERYSEEKER's Instagram to watch along.
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Remembering Menz & Mollyz

One of the hardest-hitting casualties of COVID-19 is the city's most legendary gay bar.

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2020 at 5:54 AM

Tonight at Menz & Mollyz, it would've been Thirsty Thursdays with DJ Dandersen—back in a world where such things could exist. Writing that sentence today, nine weeks (ish) into a global pandemic, feels like saying "this was a walking trail favoured by long-neck dinosaurs." Writing that sentence today, five weeks after a Facebook post said that the city's most notable gay bar—and the nucleus of Halifax drag culture—was closing for good, feels like saying "here's how long the nights were before electricity."

But how long will the nights be without Menz & Mollyz? Without the live music labyrinth that routinely had a punk show happening in a room full of dilapidated couches, next to a room that was a noise-proofed rave, next to a room that felt like a grittier Studio 54, sweaty dance floor and all? Where will the city's drag royalty twerk to Britney Spears? Where will so many newly out 2SLGBTQ+ people get a sense of offline community—and maybe even get a first kiss?

Where will the king and queen of Pride get their crowns from now on?

Of course gay culture doesn't die when a place closes, and of course there's lots to the 2sLGBTQ+ community that exists outside the gay bar ecosystem. But losing Menz does mean losing a key part of both Halifax's nightlife scene and an important gathering space for diverse communities. After all, Menz was one of the first bars in town to have genderless washrooms, and also hosted more Pride programming than anywhere else in the city.

From the bands that played a debut gig in the Rainbow Room, to the queens who held court, to the regulars who loved Menz like a second home, we want to know: What made Menz more than just another bar? Tell us your favourite memories—or, in true Drake style, about the best nights you'll never remember with friends you'll never forget. Fill out our anonymous web form now.

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Monday, May 18, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with our May 18-24 social distance streaming guide

All the live theatre and couch concerts to see this week.

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 5:32 PM

Jenn Grant's first-ever ticketed COVID concert is happening this Sunday. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Jenn Grant's first-ever ticketed COVID concert is happening this Sunday.
  • Submitted photo

Monday May 18

Marisa Anderson

A photo essay, video premiere and playlist courtesy of the guitarist who's worked with the likes of Sharon Van Etten and Beth Ditto is Monday's contribution from EVERYSEEKER Festival. The fest describes Anderson's sound as mixing "elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music" to "re-imagining the landscape of American music" with offerings that mix jazz, blues, gospel and country. Check it all out on here.

Trivia for Shut-ins

Halifax trivia hosts-about-town Jason Dorey and Andrew Evans have shifted their popular triv game from pubs like Durty Nelly's, the Lion's Head and The Fickle Frog, to a Facebook livestream. Three 20-question rounds will challenge, amuse and delight, and with no prizes on the line, you won't even mind missing a few answers. The stream opens every Monday at 7pm, first question at 7:30.



Vista

Zuppa Theatre continues to push your mental boundaries of what a play can be—this time, taking you on a virtual walking tour that can be done anywhere (yes, even in your apartment) while asking big questions about what health means and how communities can stay healthy. An app-guided audio tour that was created at a social distance and is made to be experienced that way, the play is part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival. Get the full details here and enjoy the show any time until May 31.

Tuesday May 19

Jesi Jordan

The traditional artist and animator from Ontario brings an animation about COVID-19 to EVERYSEEKER Festival. Check it out on EVERYSEEKER's site.

Off The Leash w/Jeremy Webb

Neptune Theatre's artistic director helps fill the hole in our hearts and calendars  with a livestream talk show that pulls back the curtain on local live theatre. Catch it Tuesdays-Fridays at 8:30pm on Facebook or Youtube.

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out.

Wednesday May 20

Arsoniste

A sonic palette that blends colours of The National and Lana Del Rey together brings you the rainbow that is Arsoniste. Hear her piano-driven tunes at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Thursday May 21

Adam Baldwin

A quarantine tradition continues as Baldwin kicks off his weekly Thursday show at 9pm on Youtube, all while helping you get your RDI of Americana.

Friday May 22

Behind the Queens: From the creators of Broadway BoyZ

The creators stars of the 2019 Fringe musical revue Broadway BoyZ take us backstage for a glimpse into their worlds. Part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival, it all goes down at 7pm via Facebook livestream.

R. Flex

"R&B-pop that celebrates queer, black creativity" is how EVERYSEEKER Festival describes the work of R. Flex. Their Instagram live showcase—held at 8pm—promises to be the sort of thing that gets you up off the couch and if that doesn't convince you, what will?

Witch Prophet

The hip hop/R&B alchemist Witch Prophet creates the kind of music that helps you manifest your destiny and makes you shake your butt. Get to both at 7pm thanks to her Facebook Livestream.

Saturday May 23

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Mabe Fratti w/OSDAY

A collaborative video art piece showcased as part of the EVERYSEEKER Festival.

Sunday May 24

Jenn Grant

The honey-throated singer-songwriter has been wooing ears for years—but her latest, Love, Inevitable, will be the final push to make anyone unconvinced (however unlikely) fall for her sweet sound. See for yourself here and get tix for  Grant's 6pm live show (rescheduled from last week) here
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Century Egg’s new record is a sunny-side-up return

Halifax's Mandopop saviour drops a five-track EP to help you have a "fairyland kind of view" of life.

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2020 at 6:14 AM

Century Egg was the cover star of our 2016 New Music issue and tbh we're really digging the pre-pandemic levels of closeness shown in this pic from that photoshoot. - DYLAN CHEW PHOTO
  • Century Egg was the cover star of our 2016 New Music issue and tbh we're really digging the pre-pandemic levels of closeness shown in this pic from that photoshoot.
  • Dylan Chew photo

Century Egg, the Halifax-based Mandopop group, dropped its latest EP on Animal Crossing: New Horizons.


Well, not really. But it did announce We Can Play, an exuberant collection of undeniably fun songs, via an Instagram post with a screen-shot of an Animal Crossing character sporting a custom-designed Century Egg t-shirt.

After all, band members and partners Robert Drisdelle and Shane Keyu Song were playing a ton of the insanely addictive island life simulator.

You know, because of the pandemic and all.

“It’s our favourite game,” laughs Song via phone. “It’s a big part of our life.” And the album suits the game's colourful, peaceful aesthetic, Drisdelle says.

Century Egg’s vibe is definitely that — Song sings upbeat, modern East Asian-inspired pop, weaving catchy melodies with the energetic bass work of Nick Dourado (of Aquakultre and Eddy) and toe-tapping drums of Tri Le. Drisdelle plays guitar, but also writes and sets up much of the instrumentation.

Begins Drisdelle: “We Can Play, you know, it's very much about escapism —" Song chimes in: “maybe escape isn’t the right word,” she responds, “ but I think that fairyland kind of view should exist in everybody’s life.”

“Everybody who listens to our music says ‘this makes me happy,”’ she says.

It’s music made with a love of collaboration, too: “This EP, in particular, has all different types of methods to create music,” says Song. “There’s songs created solely by Robert, solely by me and ones we write together."

It all makes for a wonderfully unique soundscape, sung in Mandarin and English, which is refreshingly light: You can hear the fun plunking from Risdelle’s guitar and shimmering through Song’s warm voice.

But soon the subject circles back to Animal Crossing — and a singing dog adored by players of the game worldwide. “KK. Slider,” says Song with a laugh, “the biggest musician in the Animal Crossing universe is like, 'if you play the game you have to join the cult'.” (On player’s custom islands, the canine superstar comes to play concerts, wooing villagers with oh-so-sweet eyes and a gently strummed guitar.)

“In general, what he does in music is something we are really into too. He has all different types of style and he has like one single for each of the styles in the world.”

Yeah, Slider’s a musician who does it all.  Century Egg is too, nodding to American pop conventions as often as it winks with East Asian ones.

The Key? Having fun—and spreading a little optimism. “We have so many problems in our lives just like anyone else,” says Song, “and the way we try to deal with it is to create something that makes you feel like you can have different solutions.”

Drisdelle agrees: “We can be happy and confident—if that’s something that resonates with people then perhaps we’re doing someone a service.”


Correction: An earlier version of this article said Nick Dourado played guitar and Drisdelle played bass while the opposite is the case; As well, Tri Le's name was misspelled. The Coast sincerely apologizes for the errors.
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Tags: ,

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Are online shows live music's new lifeline?

Halifax's Side Door is "hoping to be a life raft for artists" during the pandemic.

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 5:59 PM

The "crowd" at one of Dan Mangan's virtual Side Door concerts. - MARK BUSSE PHOTO
  • The "crowd" at one of Dan Mangan's virtual Side Door concerts.
  • Mark Busse photo
Open Instagram these days and chances are that you’ll see performers broadcasting live into the online world from their homes. Those shows are usually free. For many, live music online has been a light during these tough days. But, at the same time, they can be read as a sign of longstanding rot in the music industry: Shows cancelled, tours called off and 2020 festival merch all but vintage adds up to thousands in lost revenue for artists. It also signals that touring—one of the last way for musicians to make money in the streaming age—isn't enough to build a business model off of.

But don't break out into a sweat just yet: a Halifax-based concert venue matching company is here to help. Side Door is an online platform that started out matching musicians with hosts for intimate concerts (imagine AirBnB but, instead of vacationers renting room, it's connecting musicians with alternative venue owners). Now that the whole concert idea is off the table, the company has pivoted online, putting a new spin on e-concert experiences and offering a platform that could help musicians and concert promoters stay afloat in these wild times.

In February, Side Door’s co-founders, Laura Simpson and Dan Mangan (yes, the OG house show king), had been looking down the barrel of a summer stuffed with concert dates for musicians who booked shows in barns, warehouses and living rooms across the country using the site. In early March, of course, that all changed. As news about the pandemic took over, Simpson and her team spent days on the phone with artists —23 had shows planned at around 750 venues—helping them cancel performances and effectively flush projected revenue down the drain.

A new project linking Canadian musicians to gigs at Austin’s SXSW festival was also canned. “It was a lot of work and a lot of money that we put into it,” says Simpson, who’s been a heavyweight in Nova Scotia’s music curation scene for years, “and it just kind of like…. died.”

On that same, now infamous, date—March 13th— Mangan and his band rolled up to the second night of a two-day show at Toronto’s Danforth Music hall. The first night, the 12th, was electric, Mangan says: “It was magic, it felt like the last night on earth.” And it kind of was, in a sense. The last night on an earth where you could watch live music next to friends at crowded bars—at least for the time being.

On the second night, the crowd didn’t come. And no wonder too, as the concert was cancelled and Canada’s rolling shutdown began in earnest. But Mangan and his band played on. “It was more rewarding than I could have hoped for,” he recalls. He put the concert online. Watching it, you feel his voice echo through the empty hall as his band plays with verve and energy you’d expect seeing in a packed festival.

About a week later,  Mangan hosted a second online show on Zoom—just him this time—with the proceeds of online tickets going to COVID relief. He’s since dubbed these weekly performances #quarantunes. “Everyone turned on their videos, they were all singing along, sitting there with their families and their dogs,” says Simpson. “I was in tears.” The ticket-for-Zoom-password access that Dan tried just...Worked. And worked well. So, Side Door leaned in, hard.

 Almost a month later, Cindy Thomas spent Saturday afternoon in Dan Mangan’s living room. She was there along with hundreds of others—from across Canada and beyond—without having to leave her couch or disregard physical distancing safety measures. “Seeing the live streams has been great, but Side Door definitely elevated the experience,” says Thomas, who lives in London, Ontario. “Using Zoom was kind of fun, you can see other people in the 'audience'.”

And those audiences have shown up, says Simpson. The take home for Side Door artists has more than doubled compared to the pre-COVID, physical home concert system the company had in place. Most shows, she adds, earn the performer an average of $1159 (as of early April). “What is really promising is that people are buying tickets, and they're coming back,” says Simpson.

Side Door shows are selling quickly. Simpson says a ticket cap ensures they still feel special. A recent set by Sarah Slean, for instance, sold out—leaving one Instagram commenter wondering how a virtual show could run out of seats.

But that's the formula Simpson says is working so well: Creating shows where the audience “shows up” to intimate performances. “There’s something when you buy a ticket. You’re saying there’s going to be value here,” she says. “It’s not a passive engagement.”

“We’re hoping this is a life-raft for artists and the industry at large,” adds Mangan.

But it’s still online. Through a screen. Does that distance damper the live experience? Mangan doesn’t think so: “In some ways it’s weirdly more intimate, in that you have 700, 800 people and they all have front row tickets.”

He says the performances don’t feel like he’s playing music into the internet abyss. He’s playing to people right there, in front of him. Families, kids playing with robot toys, dogs wagging their shaggy tails from coast to coast and beyond in a whole new concert dimension.

Laura Simpson adds she tries to watch every concert on the platform, in between days spent on Zoom with other side door staff and artists—and getting “hundreds” of notes about how Side Door performances have impacted people.

“It’s more than a distraction,” Simpson says. “It’s so meaningful for people to find solace in art.” 
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Hello Delaware's Dana Beeler knows how you feel

The Halifax rocker started a podcast to help us all feel a little less alone.

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 5:29 PM

Dana Beeler, second from left, with her Hello Delaware bandmates. - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
  • Dana Beeler, second from left, with her Hello Delaware bandmates.
  • MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
Dana Beeler was all set to go on tour. Her band Hello Delaware—which carries the same indie rock swagger of No Doubt and lyrics as sharp as a Lorelai Gilmore comeback—was about to play 10 dates across the UK, the band’s biggest international outing to date. Newly released material (the first since a five-track EP, Anticipation, made comparisons to early Alanis Morissette feel inevitable last fall) was to follow, built on the tour’s momentum.

But then, of course, everything changed. So, she did what she had to do and started a podcast instead.

“I felt pretty sucker-punched in the whole first two days I had to work from home. I was getting a flood of text messages from my friend’s group chat and I was reading the news and then case numbers and all of that stuff just wasn’t sinking into my brain. So it was kinda difficult to process all of that,” says Beeler, explaining that a podcast felt like the perfect way to cope and foster some community connection.

And while hitting pause on such a sizeable tour certainly is a loss to Beeler and her bandmates, listeners of This Is Fine get to sip the situation’s sweet lemonade with the podcast, which acts as an incidental who’s who in Canadian indie music. (Past guests on the show have included Appalachian banjo queen/Rolling Stone darling Kaia Kater, Halifax indie scene vet Leanne Hoffman and pop-punk up-and-comer Skye Wallace.)

“It would be very easy to feel like all of the work that we’ve done over the last three years as a band—like touring and playing and money we spent, and making this record—could go to absolutely nothing if there’s nothing to promote it, I guess,” adds Beeler, who says more music from Hello Delaware will be on its way this spring. (So far, the band dropped a new single, “Over”, that rips in the way Avril Lavigne always wanted to.)

With live performance—one of the last revenue sources for musicians—drying up, (and venues face overbooking into 2021, leaving little room for small acts) This Is Fine feels like Beeler doubling down on her devotion to music. As she puts it: “This is a podcast by a musician, about musicians who are struggling the same as everybody else—but it’s not just for musicians; I think anybody will be able to relate to what we’re talking about.”

Get caught up on the first six episodes now:

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Monday, May 11, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with The Coast's arts streaming guide May 11-17

Your can't-miss streams to keep social despite the distance.

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 5:17 PM

Reeny Smith, local R&B royalty, performs Tuesday night. - IAMREENY.COM SCREENSHOT
  • Reeny Smith, local R&B royalty, performs Tuesday night.
  • iamreeny.com screenshot

Monday May 11

Trivia for Shut-ins

Halifax trivia hosts-about-town Jason Dorey and Andrew Evans have shifted their popular triv game from pubs like Durty Nelly's, the Lion's Head and The Fickle Frog, to a Facebook livestream. Three 20-question rounds will challenge, amuse and delight, and with no prizes on the line, you won't even mind missing a few answers. The stream opens every Monday at 7pm, first question at 7:30.

DIY Fabric Flowers Tutorial

Nocturne, art's biggest night out, is aiming to help us keep in the creative spirit while we all stay in. The fall fest has announced it'll be teaming up with local artists to share some DIY tutorials over the next month. (Your paint night could never!) First up? Emily Lawrence shows how to DIY some fabric flowers out of scraps and some buttons. Peep the tutorial here.

Tuesday May 12

Reeny Smith

The local R&B royalty brings her soaring singing voice to a 7:30pm Facebook livestream that'll take your spirits skyward. Get to know Smith—and her excellent, empowering album WWII: Strength. Courage. Love. here.

Dog Island live

Your fave local, culturally marxist podcast goes live as part of Mayworks 2020 festival lineup. Things kick off on Twitch at 7pm.

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out.

Thursday May 14

T. Thomason

The powerhouse voice and killer guitar behind one of 2019's best albums delivers a Facebook livestream that promises to be equal parts sparkle and scar tissue. It kicks off at 7pm and if you're not already able to sing along word-for-word, you can catch up here (thank us later).

Rey D. w/Mahalia Smith

From hip hop to reggae, this double bill will cover all your musical cravings. Catch it at 7pm on the African Nova Scotian Music Association's Facebook page.

Symphony Nova Scotia

Miss hearing classical music IRL? The Symphony's got the cure with these new, weekly showcases. The first one kicks off Thursday at 7:30pm and you can watch via Facebook or Youtube.

Friday May 15

Vista

Zuppa Theatre continues to push your mental boundaries of what a play can be—this time, taking you on a virtual walking tour that can be done anywhere (yes, even in your apartment) while asking big questions about what health means and how communities can stay healthy. An app-guided audio tour that was created at a social distance and is made to be experienced that way, the play is part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival. Get the full details here and enjoy the show any time from May 15 to 31.

Behind the Queens: From the creators of Broadway BoyZ

The creators stars of the 2019 Fringe musical revue Broadway BoyZ take us backstage for a glimpse into their worlds. Part of the 2020 Mayworks Festival, it all goes down at 7pm via Facebook livestream.

Michael R. Denny

EVERYSEEKER Fest kicks off with an opening concert by this Mi'kmaw singer, held at 7pm on Facebook Live.

Rose Cousins' songwriters' circle w/Ed Robertson, Tenille Townes, William Prince

"Against an arrangement of piano, drums, trumpet and valve trombone, Cousins sings about mornings full of fresh coffee and sad songs, about days full of making travel plans and scrolling through her phone. It's an introvert's dream," wrote The Coast about Cousins' newest LP, Bravado, back in early March. We're still obsessed with the album and trust you will be, too—so what better time to see Cousins in action? The show goes on (line) at 9pm on Youtube, Facebook or CBC Gem.

Aquakultre

The neo-soul revival starts with Aquakultre's new LP, Legacy—which is celebrated at this EVERYSEEKER show with a live, acoustic performance and interview with Bria Miller. It's all happening over on Instagram at 8pm. Oh, and if you're not yet listening to Legacy on repeat? Let The Coast's virtual cover story from last week make up your mind.

No, It's Fine.

The funny, honest indie rock of No, It's Fine. has made The Coast a fan since the jump. There's still room for you on the bandwagon, though, so why not tune into the 8pm livestream on Instagram, which the frontperson Cailen Pygott kindly reminds you will be over before RuPaul's Drag Race starts?

Saturday May 16

Steve Poltz

An 8pm Facebook livestream by the guy who routinely sells out The Carleton. It's not the same as hitting up the downtown live music gem, but for now it'll do.

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Roxy Mercier w/Jacob Strang

Two local music mainstays share The Carleton's stage from social distance. Tune in via Facebook at 7pm.

Sunday May 17

Jenn Grant

The honey-throated singer-songwriter has been wooing ears for years—but her latest, Love, Inevitable, will be the final push to make anyone unconvinced (however unlikely) fall for her sweet sound. See for yourself here and get tix for  Grant's 6pm live show here
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Thursday, May 7, 2020

EVERYSEEKER Festival moves online, continues melting your mind with offbeat art

Over 35 free, streamable pieces of programming means the head trip can't stop/won't stop.

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2020 at 6:20 PM

NAT Chantel told The Coast in 2019 that, to her, sound is "a way to say 'I'm here'." - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
  • NAT Chantel told The Coast in 2019 that, to her, sound is "a way to say 'I'm here'."
  • MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON PHOTO
The festival formerly known as OBEY knows that, while we still have to keep our distance socially, nothing need stop our minds converging under art's wild and varied umbrella. And, by moving to a completely online, 100 percent free festival, EVERYSEEKER is making sure of just that. From May 15 to June 30, a series of performances ranging from alt-R&B to experimental pop to performance art will beam through your phone and remind you, even if it's only for a minute, how art will be what gets us through this (along with washing our hands, obvs).

While the entire lineup looks fire (and exact showtimes are still TBD), a few early stars piquing our interest include the Toronto neo-soul singer Kwento; the mystical rap of Charlottetown's LXVNDR; the soul-awakening sound art of  Halifax's own NAT Chantel (shown above) and the DJ/mixing of NYC artist TRNSGNDR/VHS.

Peep the full lineup—including a show by this week's Coast cover star, Aquakulturehere.
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bring Halifax culture home with The Coast's arts streaming guide May 4-10

What to watch this week for social connection with physical distance.

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 2:34 PM

Triple-threat Zamani is cooler *and more prolific* than you. Sit in awe on Thursday night. - CAROLINA ANDRADE PHOTO
  • Triple-threat Zamani is cooler *and more prolific* than you. Sit in awe on Thursday night.
  • CAROLINA ANDRADE PHOTO

Monday, May 4

Campbell Woods

Fresh folk for your ears at 4pm via Facebook Live.

Trivia for Shut-ins

Halifax trivia hosts-about-town Jason Dorey and Andrew Evans have shifted their popular triv game from pubs like Durty Nelly's, the Lion's Head and The Fickle Frog, to a Facebook livestream. Three 20-question rounds will challenge, amuse and delight, and with no prizes on the line, you won't even mind missing a few answers. The stream opens every Monday at 7pm, first question at 7:30.


Tuesday, May 5

Kristen Martell

The singer-songwriter who's work is the aural answer to liquid sunshine keeps up her house show streak with another Tuesday night tune-fest. Hit up Facebook or Instagram at 10pm to follow along and bliss out.

The Big Sing: Mayworks Edition

The festival celebrating working people and the arts has combined forces with the beloved all-levels pop chorus to help you sing it out as COVID-19 continues. The tunes in question? CCR's "Proud Mary" and Wilson Phillips' "Hold On," being sung together on both Facebook and Instagram at 7pm. Get more info about Mayworks' 2020 all-digital fest here and learn more about The Big Sing here.

Wednesday, May 6

Tim Baker

The former Hey Rosetta! frontperson is steadily building his own musical legacy and, in a move showing how far his solo career has grown, he'll be hopping on total GOAT Jenn Grant's Instagram and Facebook to do a live show at 6pm.

JP Cormier

Missing seeing the guitar god do his thing from a downtown Halifax stage? This'll be pretty close to the same thing. The noodling begins at 9pm on Youtube.

Thursday, May 7

Owen Meany's Batting Stance

Literary folk at its best, OMBS is known for its banter-y live sets. We can't wait to see how it transfers the experience to your phone—but we know it'll be great.  Catch it at 6pm on Instagram Live and get to know the band here.

Jody Upshaw w/Zamani

A double dose of R&B-fuelled girl power awaits as two of the city's brightest young talents take turns crushing the mic. It kicks off at 7pm via the African Nova Scotian Music Association's Facebook page. (Not familiar with this, the most dynamic of duos? Read about Zamani and Upshaw already!)

David Myles

The Halifax-based crooner is back—this time, with a set of romantic songs as smooth as silk sheets. Hear 'em first at this album release show (held at 9pm via Youtube) and then send one to your crush with the line "there's no social distance between your heart and mine" and prepare for a zoom romance like no other.

Torquil Campbell

The Stars and Broken Social Scene frontperson offers an evening of song, stories and general strangeness via sidedooraccess.com. The wild ride kicks off at 10pm.

Friday May 8


Adam Baldwin

Your weekly date with Dartmouth's Americana mainstay is a COVID tradition at this point and that's sort of beautiful, no? It continues at 9pm via Youtube.

Dave Sampson

The Cape Breton king with a dash of Nashville in his sound gives a showcase at 9pm via Facebook Live. Don't know Sampson? Get introduced as he answers our questionnaire, Ten questions with... 

James Jones of RedPath Talent


A blend of traditional Indigenous dances and hip hop inspired moves, Jones reminds us what moving poetry looks like at 10pm via Facebook Live.

Aquakultre

The R&B act that's about to pop off on the national stage celebrates the release of its long-awaited debut LP, Legacy, with this socially distant take on an album release show. It's also a hot wing challenge so order an extra bottle of hot sauce in your next grocery run, ya dig? It all goes down on Instagram at 6pm.

Saturday, May 9

Alan Syliboy & The Thundermakers

The culturally-rich, immersive rock of Syliboy and his Thundermakers will take you to a higher plane. Let it. The show goes on at 7pm via Facebook Live.

Matt Mays

If you wanna drink up the fresh air feeling while not being able to get out all that much, Mays is your man—he's the only one besides Tom Petty who can make you feel like you're driving with the top down, full-blast when you're actually just sitting still. Catch the vibes on Youtube at 9pm.

Sunday, May 10

Christina Martin

Fresh off the release of a new, live version of her award-winning 2018 record Impossible To Hold, Martin keeps reminding us of the magic living in live music.  Get enchanted as she performs via Facebook Live at 4pm.

Jill Barber

The silver-throated singer wants to shout-out the mother figures in your life with a special Mother's Day themed show, happening at 4pm via sidedooraccess.com.

———

Throwing a virtual art event or hosting an online concert? Email it to The Coast so we can add it to the Halifax streaming guide.

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Thursday, April 30, 2020

What Team Coast is currently streaming

The five songs we can’t get enough of this week.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 4:02 PM

We can't wait for Aquakultre's upcoming album Legacy —but until it's out, we'll keep playing "I Doubt It" on repeat. - COLIN MEDLEY PHOTO
  • We can't wait for Aquakultre's upcoming album Legacy —but until it's out, we'll keep playing "I Doubt It" on repeat.
  • Colin Medley photo
Working from home tip number 546? Create a boss-ass playlist to keep you psyched and capture some calm. Here, we share a handful of tracks we've been playing on repeat this week—all linked below for your listening needs.

“Their Love Was Alive Before They Were Dead” by Joshua Van Tassel

Sound architect Joshua Van Tassel—a Nova Scotian native—made a name for himself producing many of Canada’s indie darlings, from Rose Cousins to Great Lake Swimmers. On his new single, released earlier this month, he shows he might just be at his best when no one’s there to reign him in, building a lush, lyric-less world that feels as soothing as ASMR.

“Trick of the Light” by Norma MacDonald

Back with her first album in five years, Halifax music scene vet Norma MacDonald has tapped into and harnessed the alt-country potential she’s long held, delivering a set of songs fans of Emmylou Harris and The Dixie Chicks will devour. Lead single “Trick of the Light” captures the essence of a maligned genre and, quite simply, has made a convert out of anyone at The Coast who was previously country-adverse.

“I Doubt It” by Aquakultre

 A souped-up revolution anthem from Halifax’s neo soul superstar-in-the-making, the single “I Doubt It” promises that Lance Sampson (AKA Aquakultre)’s upcoming debut LP will live up to our sky-high expectations. Throw it on to rekindle your social justice spark—or just to remind yourself what an ass-shaking dance party feels like.

“The City Loves Me” by Beauts

Remember how every nerve in your body lit up the first time you heard Wintersleep? The opening track to Beauts’ album Dalliance gives the same immediate reaction, making us think that the scrappy-melodic five-piece might just be heirs to the city’s alt-rock heart, indeed.

“Melt The Universe With Brotherly Love” by Joel Plaskett

The epic, four-disc, 44-track new album by the King of Dartmouth is equal part Rubber Soul-era Beatles trip and mantra for these trying times. It’ll make you feel free and swaddled all at once and should be administered daily for best results.


  • Pin It
    Favourite

Monday, March 23, 2020

Six ways to broaden your mind wider than social distance requirements

Your body might be atrophying on the couch but your brain doesn't have to.

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 4:50 PM

Roxanne Smith's The Mirror is one of many local artworks you can get up close and e-personal with by viewing Teichert Gallery's new, online-only showcase. - ROXANNE SMITH PHOTO
  • Roxanne Smith's The Mirror is one of many local artworks you can get up close and e-personal with by viewing Teichert Gallery's new, online-only showcase.
  • Roxanne Smith photo
So here you are, googling work-from-home hacks; making your own sourdough starter; generally trying to figure out what our new normal looks like as the province enters a state of emergency and COVID-19 continues to shake our world. You're bored or busy with remote work or maybe both. Time has never felt more like a construct.

How do you stop the days bleeding into each other as you self-isolate? How do you fill the time as your social calendar is scrubbed clean? What is left to do when you've swum so far into the depths of Netflix you need to come up for air?

You feed your brain. You engage with culture, even if it's through a screen because that's what life right now demands. You breathe deep, open a new browser tab, and enrich your self-quarantined life. Here are some ideas from 
learning to sing, to virtually  visiting a gallery  to get you started:

Learn to sing with Arsoniste
The Halifax-based alt-pop singer-songwriter has the sort of floaty voice that feels like gossamer on your eardrums. Now, she's helping you work your pipes, too, teaching online voice and piano lessons during COVID-19. Email arsonistemusic@gmail.com or DM her on Instagram to start your own musical journey. Rates start at $45.

See the world thanks to the Google Arts & Culture app
A free way to see thousands of iconic artworks and landmarks from around the world, up close and personal thanks to the detail-enriching zoom feature. Swipe through New York's best street art, take a virtual tour of the Eiffel Tower, project famous paintings onto your wall to recreate the gallery experience and much more. Download it through the Apple App Store or Google Play.


Connect with local art thanks to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Teichert Gallery
To give you a daily dose of creative excellence, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is treating COVID-19 as a chance to acquaint its social media following with works from its permanent collections. Follow the gallery on Facebook so you can see vital works ranging from Maud Lewis' country scenes to Leonard Paul's landscapes.

Teichert Gallery, meanwhile, has taken its most recent exhibit, Halifax Art Map: Art OFF The Map completely online so you can see piece by artists living in the city.

Check out something new from the library
As we reported Friday, Halifax Public Libraries has made it possible for you to apply for a library card electronically. This means a whole world of books, magazines and more has just opened up for you to download to your device of choice. There are also options to learn another language or pick up a new skill like photography or coding. Read more here.

Dive into the deeps with The Ocean School
The Ocean School has launched a free crop of daily online activities aimed at the Grade 7 to 9 set but, tbh, we think this e-learning course will help adult ocean lovers feel satiated with tidbits like a 360 degree video about why sharks are awesome and more. Get started here.

Learn a new language with Duolingo
The lil' green owl is back to help you learn French, Spanish or one of 30 other languages through a mix of quizzes, questions and the new stories feature, where you read and listen along to slice-of-life situations in your soon-to-be second language. The app reported last week a record-breaking uptick in users as COVID-19 continues, adding more new features are on the way. Download it for free through the Apple App Store or Google Play.


And, as always: Keep washing your hands. Wipe commonly used surfaces. Stay home if you feel sick. Check 811 to see if you qualify for testing—if you're sick but don't qualify, stay home anyways. If you feel sick, don't go to work—and be kind to those who have to. 
  • Pin It
    Favourite

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

East Coast Music Awards get COVID-cancelled

Twenty-eight Halifax-based acts were set to perform at the annual ECMA fest.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 5:16 PM

Adam Baldwin was set to play at the ECMAs as he celebrated last year's Dire Straits'y EP No Rest For The Wicked. - MATT WILLIAMS PHOTO
  • Adam Baldwin was set to play at the ECMAs as he celebrated last year's Dire Straits'y EP No Rest For The Wicked.
  • Matt Williams photo
Once the Junos called it curtains, we should've known this would be next: The East Coast Music Awards, a music festival, awards ceremony and local industry booster in equal measures, announced today it's cancelling its 2020 event in St. John's, Newfoundland as COVID-19 concerns continue.

"We are admittedly devastated to cancel this event and our thoughts are with all of the hard working musicians and industry professionals who are facing a tremendous degree of uncertainty in the face of this unprecedented public health issue," reads a press release from the board of directors.

The ECMAs are a chance for musicians to connect with fans and wow new crowds, of course, but playing the Maritime Grammys is also a significant networking opportunity lost for invited artists. From Clayton Park's own triple-threat Zamani to Halifax music vet Leanne Hoffman to the Dire Straits-y rock 'n' roller Adam Baldwin, 28 Halifax-based sets of golden vocal chords would've been performing at the weekend-long event that was slated for April 29 to May 3.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Junos cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

At least we can still stream award host Alessia Cara's excellent album The Pains Of Growing while we self-quarantine.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 2:32 PM

Alessia Cara was slated to host and perform at the Juno Awards this weekend. - ALESSIACARA.COM SCREENSHOT
  • Alessia Cara was slated to host and perform at the Juno Awards this weekend.
  • alessiacara.com screenshot
Saturday, March 15 was supposed to see Saskatoon overrun with some of the most luminous stars in Canadian music as the 49th Juno Awards doled out statuettes that look sorta like The Oscar dude doing a ribbon dance.

Instead, the doors of the SaskTel Centre will be closed, as CBC Music says the awards are being cancelled amidst growing concerns of COVID-19. The Canadian equivalent to The Grammys is not the first arts-related event to be shelved as public concern grows: earlier this week music festivals South By Southwest and Cochella were cancelled and postponed, respectively.

CBC quotes a press release from The Junos and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, saying "We are devastated to cancel this national celebration of music, but at this time of global uncertainty, the health, safety and well-being of all Canadians must stand at the forefront of any decisions that impact our communities."


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
    Favourite

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Listen to this: Laura Roy's "Halifax"

London's biggest R&B star-on-the-rise shouts out her hometown with a stripped-back new single.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 12:41 PM

"You cant just move back to a city and everything will be fine," says Roy. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • "You cant just move back to a city and everything will be fine," says Roy.
  • Submitted photo
Laura Roy doesn’t miss home. The R&B superstar-on-the-rise has been too busy making London her city to think much about Halifax: This much is clear when she answers the phone to chat about her new single while simultaneously piling in the van for the next tour stop, supporting Anne-Marie (a sort of British Carly Rae Jepsen with over 25,090,000 monthly listeners on Spotify).

Singing backing for Anne-Marie is the sort of thing Roy dreamed of when she left Halifax (well, the waterfront campus of NSCC in Dartmouth if we want to be specific) for Toronto, the city everyone told her she needed to move to to make it. Her music, meanwhile, a slick unspooling of R&B-drenched pop, is synth-baked enough to make anywhere feel like a dance floor and feels decidedly more UK than TO—making her jump across the Atlantic make sense.

But, as she spends time recording a new EP, Roy—who grew up in Canning, Nova Scotia— is taking a break from her Lianne La Havas-influenced brand of lovelorn dance music to drop a “new, stripped back” single, called “Halifax.”

The song was recorded as “just a one-take in my living room, very intimate. It was about a relationship, but the idea of attaching to places or things when you have to let go to be able to move forward and grow. You cant just move back to a city and everything will be fine,” says Roy.

She’s excited for this rainy afternoon anthem, adding: “My last couple of releases were quite stripped back. I think people enjoy that because you can really hear my voice and music. People back home know me for that. There’s a focus on the actual song and putting something out that’s raw and personal.”

And while “Halifax” brings to mind the old adage that you can never go home again, Roy also hopes this song will prove to be more than just an ear worm: “I really want people to feel something, to listen to music and feel connected to it.”

See (er, listen) for yourself:


  • Pin It
    Favourite

Real Time Web Analytics

© 2020 Coast Publishing Ltd.