The Joel Plaskett Emergency counts down the seconds (at the Marquee, as usual) leading up to a monumental year in Halifax music. For the Emergency, that will mean releasing its first DVD/CD Make a Little Noise on March 14, which yielded the single “Nowhere with You” that catapulted the trio to Canadian mainstream stardom. … Burdocks break up, splintering into Dog Day and Great Plains. … In-Flight Safety releases its heavily anticipated debut LP The Coast is Clear to a packed Stage Nine.
Winners are announced at the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown, with Matt Mays & El Torpedo walking away with four nods from the jury. Joel Plaskett nabs a pair, including Male Artist and Songwriter of the Year. Other locals crossing back over the bridge with awards are Classified, Sons of Maxwell, Denise Djokic and Gary Beals. ... Mays performs a sold-out show with Symphony Nova Scotia. … After much lobbying to keep the venue open, Plaskett and Mays pay a final tribute to the Khyber Club on February 19 with acoustic sets, capping off the first In the Dead of Winter Festival, three days of musical performances including Jenn Grant, Amelia Curran, Dusty Keeler and Dave Carmichael among many others.
Motley Crue brings its brand of hair-metal spectacle to the Metro Centre on March 2. … High-octane rockers The Maynards sign a distribution deal with Scratch Records for Break Out the Make Out, while Wintersleep signs a management agreement with Sonic Entertainment. … Banjo songster Old Man Luedecke releases Hinterland on March 4 at Ginger’s, which will later garner two Music Nova Scotia Award nominations. … Jon McKiel releases his self-titled debut on March 11, the same evening former Inbred Mike O’Neill makes his return to performing in support of The Super Friendz. … The second annual North by North End festival takes place from March 16 to 18, with performances from the likes of City Field (with an appearance from Buck 65), Laura Peek and Gilbert Switzer… The Halifax epidemic of Juno fever gets underway on March 30 with 16,000 Haligonians congregating in Parade Square for a free show featuring performances by Garrett Mason, Jimmy Rankin, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Matt Mays & El Torpedo and The Trews.
JunoFest attracts national attention to the city, with virtually every live venue packed to the brim. A day after Broken Social Scene sells out the Forum, Buck 65 anchors hosting duties for the awards show on April 2, in the absence of anything remotely musically relevant ensuing from the presence of Pamela Anderson. Coldplay, candid lovers of Canadian music, headline the telecast. ... Guitarist Christian Simmons of The Hold and Attack Mode spearheads an Eric’s Trip tribute act rounded out by Jessie Stein (SS Cardiacs), Dale Fahey (Spincycle Squared) and Matt King (Windom Earle) on April 22 at Stage Nine. Down the street at The Attic, Jon Epworth & The Improvements releases Wet on Wet.
Former Guthries guitarist Gabe Minnikin celebrates his third decade with a birthday bash at Stage Nine on May 19 with appearances from his sister Ruth, Brad Conrad, Brent Randall, Benn Ross, Pete Gorman and Amy Murray. … The following night at Ginger’s, PEI ex-pat Tanya Davis releases Make a List, which will spend the next six months racking up critical acclaim, MNS nominations and much buzz about the poet and songwriter. … A week later, space-jam quartet Down with the Butterfly releases its debut Rise with a pair of shows at Stage Nine and One World Cafe.
It’s been a decade coming—Pamela McInnes (formerly of the Middleclass Pushovers and Museum Pieces) releases her own album, Pamela and the Underwater, on June 16 at The Attic. … Kaleb Simmonds drops The Life of an ’80s Baby on June 24 at Diamonds. … Classified wins a MuchMusic Video Award for best hip-hop video for “No Mistakes.”
Hot hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco celebrates Canada Day with a show at the Marquee. ... Summer concert festivals are a busy time for local artists, but not always financially viable. Shoreline in PEI and Evolve in Antigonish both miss the mark on their profit margins, losing substantial amounts of dough. The former was rained out on its final day, inspiring Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Wintersleep, In-Flight Safety, The Novaks and Brian Borcherdt to play a $10 show on July 23 at the Marquee. … Wilco touches town at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, establishing it as the HRM’s concert venue of choice this summer with subsequent shows showcasing the likes of NOFX, Bo Diddley and various popular local acts. … The annual Atlantic Jazz Festival draws throngs from July 14 to 22. ... Alt-country septet The Grass releases Oranges, its second album of the year, at Stage Nine and embarks on a three-month national tour.
Motown-influenced quartet The Stance releases its debut EP, The Stance Shall Inherit the Earth, to rave reviews on August 11 at the North End Pub. Touring includes a pair of support dates for Metric. … Ruth Minnikin records and releases her second LP, Folk Art, in just one week. … The Canadian Country Music Awards go down in nearby Saint John. Sons of Maxwell and Adam Puddington make the drive to represent. … Turnstiles make the most northern trip of any local band with three shows in Whitehorse. … Country politico superstars Dixie Chicks stop into Halifax on August 8 and 9, playing two near-sellouts—and identical sets—at the Metro Centre.
Rose Cousins releases her best effort yet, the LP If You Were for Me, at an elegant Rebecca Cohn show. … Perpetual misfortune slows down the process, but indie outfit Their Majesties (formerly The Porcelain Gods) releases its debut LP Lands Where Tales are Tall on September 7. … Dance punkers Sharp Like Knives call it a day with three final shows. … Classified drops his 11th album, Hitch-Hikin’ Music, which will soon rack up six nominations at Nova Scotia Music Week. … Sloan returns home in support of a new record and The Rolling Stones. September 23 is Halifax’s highest-drawing rock concert to date. Kanye West and Alice Cooper also perform while Sarah Harmer hits a sellout Cohn stage just before the Stones satisfy more than 50,000 on the Common. Later Sloan plays an invite-only, covers- and guests-laden show at the Seahorse. … Jill Barber releases the hotly anticipated For All Time on September 30 at St. Matthew’s. … Matt Mays relocates to New York, where his American label releases Matt Mays and El Torpedo.
BA Johnston celebrates the release of Call Me When Old and Fat is the New Young and Sexy on October 5. … The duo of Mike O’Neill and Mike Clattenburg change the name of their group from The Self-Conscious to The Beginners. … Another successful Halifax Pop Explosion, featuring Cadence Weapon, Pony Up and Holy Fuck, among over 100 other bands, fills local venues from October 17 to 21.
Wintersleep winds down a year of video releases and multiple festival appearances from Vancouver to Montreal. The band is also signed to Labwork Music, which re-releases its two records along with extra goodies. … In-Flight Safety is the big winner at the Nova Scotia Music Awards with three trophies. … Matt Mays releases his second solo album When the Angels Make Contact. … The Hidden Cameras bring their love revolution to Stage Nine on November 11. … A week later, Polaris Prize winner Final Fantasy plays a solo show at St. Matt’s. … Synth rockers HOTSHOTROBOT release Eat My Heart on November 24. … The Rankin Family announces its return via a new album and national tour following a seven-year hiatus. … Axl Rose and his new incarnation of Guns n’ Roses roll through town, late but tight.
Mardeen hopes it has solved its revolving door of drummers with Gary Staple and begins sampling new music on MySpace. … Charlie A’Court releases Bring on the Storm at the Seahorse, followed the next night by Trobiz’s debut LP The Beginning. … Gordie Sampson receives two Grammy nominations for co-penning “Jesus Take the Wheel,” sung by American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. … ECMA nominations are led by George Canyon and JP Cormier with five each. … Matt Mays and El Torpedo stay up to play Late Night with Conan O’Brien on December 15.