How’s your Halifax Pop Explosion schedule planning coming along? We’re here to help. HPX brings great music to town for one fantastic week. But while many pick up passes based on the headliners and other out-of-towners, part of the magic of HPX is connecting with amazing music from our own East Coast backyard. Here are a few shows not to miss from some of our best talent (and the best reason to buy a wristband and venue-hop).
Wednesday, Oct. 21 | CKDU Lobby | 6:15pm
Thursday, Oct. 22 | St Matthew’s United Church | 7pm
This loud-quiet indie rock band is about a year old now and they have proven themselves as stalwarts of the Halifax music scene. You may know band member Nick Everett from his previous solo work, and along with Evan Matthews and Eliza Niemi, Mauno’s style has settled into thoughtful, moody, chill. They’ve already toured all over Canada, and you’re in for a great show at either time they play during HPX.
Steve Maloney and the Wandering Kind
St John’s, NL
Thursday, Oct. 22 | The Company House | 10pm
This band is the latest iteration of ringleader Steve Maloney’s folk musical journey. This guy’s a life; his soulful music pours out of him and his friendly demeanor immediately endears him to the audience. He is great solo and, as a plugged-in full folk band, his music (and strong voice) rises to the occasion. They released a self-titled album earlier this year, and they’ve been touring to support it. If you haven’t caught them before, now is the time.
Wednesday, Oct 21 | Reflections Cabaret | 10pm
If you’re ready to float away on a dreamy cloud of nostalgia tinged with regret, played by an all-star lineup from PEI, have we got the band for you. Sorrey will cross the bridge and make it to Halifax to play for the first time. Their first release, Thick As Thieves EP, whet our appetite. Can’t wait for more at HPX.
Friday Oct. 23 | St. Matthew’s United Church | 7pm
Saturday, Oct. 24 | Gus’ Pub | 12:00pm
Nap Eyes is having a good year. They reissued their album Whine of the Mystic on You’ve Changed Records, toured around (we caught their excellent set at Sappyfest and Ottawa Explosion Week). Their music is heady, but relaxed. They have something for everyone, as Nigel Chapman’s voice lackadaisically spills intelligent prose over velvety smooth guitar. We catch this band whenever we can.
Boutiliers Point, NS
Friday, Oct. 23 | The Company House | 11pm
This one may be new to you, but Jess Lewis’s project, Cactus Flower, is ready to impress. Their first release, Magic Hour, came out this summer, and won us over with smooth, grooving folk (and the top-knotch pedal-steel stylings of Asa Brosius on the track “Lady in Red”).
Friday, Oct. 23 | The Seahorse Tavern | 8pm
We were first drawn to RealEyez because of her clever artist name, but we recommend you check her out for her old school ‘90s R&B vibes. Her lyrics are sharply honest, opening up about abuse and the past that’s shaped her while charging ahead with big dreams. Go get inspired by RealEyez.
Saturday, Oct. 24 | Olympic Community Centre | 10pm
We’re excited to see the Sackville duo of Lucy Niles and Josée Caron at HPX this year. They played at SappyFest earlier this year in a bowling alley with a lineup stretching down the street. We didn’t get to see them, but that changes at HPX. Also, they’re now on You’ve Changed Records. We’ve enjoyed past Killer Haze records bands Niles and Caron have been part of and we’re confident their upcoming record will be great. Get hyped.
Rich Aucoin (with an orchestra)
Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 | Rebecca Cohn Auditorium | 7:00 p.m.
Rich Aucoin is our favourite Halifamous boyfriend-in-our-hearts. His playful shirts, engaging smile, and heartwarming antics has won over pretty much everyone. So it feels like a win for the home team to see him get the big spot playing the orchestra shows at HPX. How will he take the amazing intimacy of his parachute shows to the big stage at the Rebecca Cohn? No idea, but with his work ethic and enthusiasm, we’re sure he has something awesome planned.
Photo of Cactus Flower: Supplied/Pigeon Row