A-Z guide to Halifax Pop Explosion 2016

A is for All Ages

Of the 10 venues for shows at HPX 2016, four are all ages: the CKDU Lobby, The Pavillion, Rebecca Cohn and Art Bar (Wet/Dry venue). Artists playing these venues include Mo Kenney, Partner, Walrus, Like a Motorcycle, Crossed Wires, She Devils, Mega Bog, Jay Arner and more.

B is for Badbadnotgood

Unfortunately, Charles Bradley had to cancel his Halifax Pop Explosion performance (please go away cancer, thanks.) Instead, Halifax Pop Explosion favourites Badbadnotgood return to the festival. Since performing at the festival two years ago, the jazz/hip hop group has expanded from a trio to a four-member band. They also dropped IV, so they’ll have lots of new material in hand this week.

Badbadnotgood //The Forum MPC//Thurs. Oct. 20//10:35pm//$40

C is for the Carleton

If the thought of standing up at shows all week long sounds like a nightmare, seated-venue The Carleton has late night shows Thursday thru Saturday. Daniel Caesar, Hannah Georgas, Loveland and Royal Canoe all play other shows throughout the festival, so the Carleton could be a life-saver when it comes to schedule conflicts. Toronto R&B artist Daniel Caesar may just be the smoothest thing you’ll hear all week.

D is for Donair

Believe it or not, we’re not contractually obligated to include donairs in this list every year. It’s a labour of love and we do love our donairs. Don’t ask questions, just eat it.

E is for Eddy

If you’re looking for your improvisational drum duo fix, be sure to check out Eddy. The Halifax experimental group pours out their hearts through drum sticks. We love you Eddy.

Eddy//Reflections//Thurs. Oct. 20//10:30pm//$15

F is for Phern

Kind of cool when you through the letters ph together, it makes the sound of the letter F. A pH value also tells us how acidic or basic a substance is. For the sake of this segment, we’ll arbitrarily assign the Montreal weird pop rockers a 4 on the pH scale. That’s similar to a nice, fresh tomato.

Phern//Art Bar//Wed. Oct. 19//8pm//$10

G is for Garlic Fingers

If i ever get through a week of HPX without eating garlic fingers, I’ll retire this festival fuel from the list. Our Instagram photo of garlic fingers at the conclusion of HPX 2015 got more likes than any other photo from the festival. We’re all on the same wavelength here people.

H is for Harrison

Toronto producer Harrison collaborated with Ryan Hemsworth on the song Vanilla earlier. The track came out on Hemsworth’s Secret Songs label and later on Harrison’s debut album Checkpoint Titanium. If you’re looking for some positive vibes, you know who to check out.

Harrison//Reflections//Thurs. Oct. 20//10:30pm//$15
Harrison//Reflections//Fri. Oct. 21//2am//$15

I is for Identification

Have two pieces of ID ready to make sure you can get into shows.

J is for Jay Mayne

Dartmouth’s Jay Mayne crosses the bridge to chop some trees at the hip hop show at Reflections on Friday night.

Jay Mayne//Reflections//Fri. Oct. 21//11:50pm//$15

K is for Keys N Krates

Electronic duo Keys N Krates headline the final HPX Main Stage show at the Forum Multipurpose Centre Saturday night. They have a bunch of tracks with over a million listens on Soundcloud, like the one below, so obviously they know how to get people going.

Keys N Krates//The Forum MPC//Sat. Oct. 22//11pm//$40

L is for Laughs at the library

Back to back comedy shows at the Halifax Central Library gives you an excuse to break all the rules and laugh out loud in a library. Comedy headliners include Aparna Nancherla, Ali Badshah, Sara Schaefer and Kyle Kinane.

M is for Mint Records

Every year, Mint Records brings a little bit of the West Coast to the East Coast. While a couple light years away geographically, the Vancouver label has signed a couple of Halifax bands over the past couple years (Heaven For Real and Monomyth). It’s a great relationship. This year Heaven For Real, Supermoon and Jay Arner play the label showcase at Art Bar on Friday night.

Mint Records//Art Bar//Fri. Oct. 21//6pm

N is for Nap Eyes

Halifax has known about Nap Eyes for a while now, but they’ve received lots of love across the continent in the past year, including an album review on Pitchfork and a Polaris Music Prize nomination. Close your eyes and get washed away by some really nice guitars and lyrics.

Nap Eyes//The Seahorse//Wed. Oct. 19//12:30am//$25

O is for Orchid’s Curse

We pretty much never talk about metal on this site. Sorry metalheads. Orchid’s Curse plays a metal show at Gus’ on Saturday night.

Orchid’s Curse//Gus’ Pub//Sat. Oct. 22//11pm//$15

P is for Polaris Prize Shortlisters

This year’s HPX lineup includes three of the ten artists on the Polaris Music Prize shortlist: Basia Bulat (Good Advice), White Lung (Paradise) and PUP (The Dream Is Over). The critics loved these albums and all three put on excellent live shows.

PUP//The Marquee//Wed. Oct 19//11pm//$25
White Lung//The Marquee//Wed. Oct 19//10pm//$25
White Lung//The Seahorse//Thurs. Oct. 20//1am//$25
Basia Bulat//The Marquee//Sat. Oct. 22//10:30pm//$25

Q is for Quake Matthews & Kayo AKA The Search

Halifax rapper Quake Matthews (who also raps about donair) and Toronto’s Kayo first collaborated and released an album together in 2011 when the two artists lived in Halifax. They’ve reunited and released new music over the summer.

The Search//Reflections//Fri. Oct. 21//12:20am//$15

R is for Hey Rosetta!

A crowd favourite, surprisingly the St. John’s orchestral indie rock band have never played Halifax Pop Explosion. The streak ends this year with a headlining show on the HPX Main Stage on Friday night.

Hey Rosetta!//Forum MPC//Fri. Oct. 21//11pm//$40

S is for Symphony Nova Scotia

Every year, an artist collaborates with Symphony Nova Scotia for a one-of-a-kind performance. This year, it’s Waverly’s favourite songwriter Mo Kenney. Just a heads up, the show is for ticket holders only.

Mo Kenney//Rebeccca Cohn//Fri. Oct. 21//7:30am

T is for TUNS

Quick question: is there anything more ‘90s Halifax than Mike O’Neill (The Inbreds), Chris Murphy (Sloan) and Matt Murphy (The Super Friendz). Answer: of course not. The indie rock supergroup dropped a self-titled album this summer and are more fun than a mid-term at the Technical University of Nova Scotia.

TUNS//The Marquee//Fri. Oct. 21//12am//$25

U is for University

Speaking of University…the CKDU lobby at Dalhousie University has a couple free shows throughout the week. Community radio stations are awesome and the lobby shows are always an intimate time.

V is for Voivod

Hey, look, we’re talking about a metal artist again. The band has been around longer than the festival — it formed in 1982 — and Dennis “Snake” Belanger of the band will be interviewed by Vish Khana at the festival’s annual artist interview.

Voivod//The Marquee//Thurs. Oct. 20//12am//$25

W is for wristband

Getting a wristband is like going to a buffet that doesn’t suck. So many options. Such a deal. A cure for FOMO.

X is for Xpand

First of all, we usually struggle finding something to write for the letter X, so thank you HPX for naming your music conference Xpand. The conference is free to attend for anybody and all takes place at the Halifax Central Library. Events include the Voivod interview mentioned above and other industry goodies.

Y is for the Yips

There’s something dark and irresistible about Ottawa pyschedelic rockers The Yips. They play the Seahorse Friday night at 12am.

The Yips//The Seahorse//Thurs. Oct. 20//12am//$25

Z is for Halifax Zine Explosion

Halifax Pop Explosion and zines go hand-in-hand. This year, the zine fair is a three-day event. On Friday there’s patch making, zine readings and music at Radstorm. On Saturday, there’s a zine fair and workshops at the library. Finally on Sunday there’s another workshop at Venus Envy.

About Jonathan Briggins 63 Articles
Editor-in-chief of Mixtape magazine.