Halifax Pop Explosion is back for its 25th trip around the sun. Once again the Mixtape team is excited to not get enough sleep and to see a plethora of great bands. Here’s our annual guide to the festival.
A is for A.S.K.
Every show at Halifax Pop Explosion will have members of its Accessibility Safety Krew. They’ll help with accessibility needs and also monitor potentially harmful behaviour. The festival partnered with the sexual assault prevention program Project Soundcheck and the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre to train volunteers and staff.
B is for Bambii
The Toronto DJ knows how to get people dancing. She is Mykki Blanco’s tour DJ, hosts the iconic Jerk parties in Toronto and knows how to throw down the best mixes of everything from Drake to women who tend to fly under the radar.
The Marquee Ballroom//Sat., Oct. 21// 12:45am
C is for Charlotte Day Wilson
Halifax may know Charlotte Day Wilson from her days playing in the Wayo while attending the University of King’s College. She’s been working on the whole solo thing for a little over a year and the results are stunning and oh-so-smooth. Superstar potential.
The Marquee Ballroom//Thurs., Oct. 19//12am
D is for Donair
As per tradition, the letter D is reserved for spiced meat, onion, tomatoes and a mysterious sweet sauce all wrapped in a delicious pita shell. There’s a direct correlation between time of night consumed and enjoyment.
E is for Elliot Brood
The last time I saw Elliot Brood, I remember at one point hitting a pot that was on the head of a friend. Elliot Brood is a Halifax Pop Explosion favourite and the perfect show if you like stomping, clapping and singing along.
The Seahorse Tavern//Wed., Oct. 18//11:30pm
F is for Forward Music Group
Happy 10th birthday little horse. The label has spent 2017 throwing parties all across Canada and the next one is a free show at the Bus Stop Theatre featuring electronic weirdos Joyfultalk and folk whisperer Gianna Lauren (who gave us a track-by-track of her album Moving Parts earlier this year).
Bus Stop Theatre//Thurs., Oct. 19//7:30pm
G is for Garlic Fingers
Much like donairs, garlic fingers are a must during Halifax Pop Explosion. In fact, with the Mixtape team, garlic fingers always take priority.
H is for Halifax Central Library
Not only is the Halifax Central Library an iconic public space, it’s also hosting a couple events on Friday and Saturday including a show featuring Laurenn Marchand, Advocates Of the Truth, and Digging Roots.
I is for Instagram
This is a shameless plug for you to follow us on Instagram @mixtape_mag where we’ll be posting stories all week.
J is for Japandroids
Another Halifax Pop Explosion staple, it makes sense the Vancouver rock duo returns after taking a couple years off. One year for HPX, a member was sick, the setlist got short and they promised to come back and make up for it. They’ve already done that a couple times and always put on a crowdsurfing-worthy performance.
Forum MPC//Thurs., Oct. 19//10pm
K is for the Khyber
Friday night, the Khyber hosts a free wet/dry event featuring some of Toronto’s best bands on the Buzz Records label. Weaves was on the 2017 Polaris Prize shortlist and chances are we’ll see them on the list many times in the future. Casper Skulls, Pony, and Twist are also part of the show that starts at 6 pm.
L is for Lido Pimienta
Speaking of Polaris, Lido Pimienta won the 2017 prize. Her shows (and music, obviously) are important, memorable and politically charged as she ensures women get to enjoy the show while dudes take a back seat. She won the prestigious prize with an album that’s Spanish and without the help of a label. She’s a game-change and isn’t stopping anytime soon.
The Marquee Ballroom//Thurs., Oct. 19//11pm
M is for Mirus Records
The new DIY Halifax label works on a number of projects mostly centred around underground and underrepresented music. Its presenting the Friday night Marquee show that features Weaves, Aquakultre, Kurt Inder, LUKA and Strongboy starting at 8 pm. And just a heads up, Aquakultre was pretty much the bet thing that happened at SappyFest in August.
N is for Not You
It didn’t take long for a band of familiar faces to become a Halifax favourite. Catch them not once, but twice at HPX this year. Since starting a little over a year ago, the band featuring members of Dog Day and Moon released its debut album.
The Marque Ballroom//Wed., Oct. 18//10pm
The Seahorse Tavern//Sat., Oct. 21//1am
O is for Opening Ceremony
Halifax Pop Explosion 25 starts at 7pm at the Marquee Ballroom on Wednesday. It’s pretty much like Christmas Eve where you get to open one present. Except in this example, it’s checking out shows at the Seahorse and Marquee before the festival opens up Thursday with a full slate of shows.
P is for Patrick Watson
Can you believe Patrick Watson has released music as a band for 14 years but has never played Halifax? Like, Montreal isn’t that far away. I’ve travelled between there and Halifax in a day. Regardless, he’s excited to play the festival and for people to see the spectacular show.
Forum MPC//Sat., Oct. 21//10pm
Q is for Quake and Kayo
These two go together like peanut butter and jam. They like to play together. They release music together and they’re back again for the second year in a row to make some hip hop.
The Marquee Ballroom//Sat., Oct. 21//9:30pm
R is for the Rural Alberta Advantage
There’s always an extra bit of excitement when a band releases a brand new album before a show. The Toronto trio released The Wild last Friday and a week later will play the festival right before Patrick Watson. The Forum multipurpose centre may be a big room, but the RAA know how make the room seem tiny and like everybody is in it together.
Forum MPC//Sat., Oct. 21//9pm
S is for Sorrey
The Charlottetown band premiered the Slow Chunk video on Mixtape in the spring and we’ve been craving the new record ever since.
The Carleton//Fri., Oct. 20//11pm
T is for Tasha the Amazon
The Toronto rapper and producer is also known as the Patron Saint of Ruckus, so you know she’s going to bring it to HPX. If you’re looking to mosh and go out, be sure to check out the big hip hop night at the Marquee on Saturday.
The Marquee Ballroom//Sat., Oct. 21//12am
U is for University
The CKDU lobby, located in the Student Union Building of Dalhousie University, always hosts free shows early in the evening, perfect if you are already around campus or want to see some music before settling in for a full night of HPX. Thursday features Whoop-Szo and Strong Boy. Friday features Fake Palms and Beliefs.
V is for Vogue Dots
Thank goodness HPX keeps booking bands that start with V. And luckily for attendees, Vogue Dots are always a dreamy, out-of-this-world electronic pop experience.
The Marquee Ballroom//Thurs., Oct. 19//9:15pm
W is for the Wrong Guys
One of the most beloved Maritime treasures, Julie Doiron returns to HPX with the Wrong Guys, a band comprised of members of hardcore band Cancer Bats and Eamon McGrath. Julie Doiron & the Wrong Guys plays two shows, so there’s no excuse to miss it.
Forum MPC//Thurs., Oct. 19//7pm
Gus’ Pub//Sat., Oct. 21/1am
X is for X-audio
Halifax Pop Explosion has an app again this year and it features an interactive music and interview feature called X-audio. Basically the content changes based on where you are in the city. From Mixtape HQ, we’ve heard a cool interview with Lido Pimienta.
Y is for Yamantaka//Sonic Titan
After a lineup change in 2015, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan are back on the road this fall starting with a show in Fredericton on Oct. 17. The art rock band hasn’t released music since 2013 so we’re curious to hear what they’ve been up to.
The Seahorse Tavern//Wed., Oct. 18
Z is for zzzzz
Yeah, don’t plan on getting much sleep this week.