It’s hard to believe that the Halifax Pop Explosion is almost here for the 2016 iteration. It seems like only yesterday that folks were crammed into the Seahorse to watch the Cancer Bats rock the room to its core, or the crowd at the Carleton got to swoon over the folk-pop loveliness of Quiet Parade. We’re revving up to the start of another stellar festival, and we’ve shared with you our thoughts on the bands you know, and the bands you should know, but now I’m here to let you know what our hidden gem picks are. Enjoy, and we’ll see you out and about at the Fest!
Repartee // This is hands down the top of my hidden gems list. This electro pop band out of St. John’s, Newfoundland is no stranger to HPX, as they played both the 2013 and 2015 fests and were able to pack the rooms for those shows. Earlier this year, I was able to take my daughter to see Repartee at Dalfest, and I was incredulous that, for a free show, the crowd was barely that at 20-ish folks in attendance, and to boot that Repartee dropped their stellar full length album earlier this year which alone should have garnered a far bigger audience. Make sure you get to the Hey Rosetta show early, as Repartee kick off the proceedings on Friday.
Hannah Georgas // Another HPX alum makes a return to the festival in 2016, as the Vancouver-based singer songwriter put on a magical set back in 2013 at St. Matthew’s United Church, and is slated for a pair of shows this year. On Friday night, Georgas brings her ethereal folky pop-rock to the Carleton stage, and then on Saturday night she plays the Marquee with Basia Bulat. Mark these shows on your calendar, as they should be something else.
Kyle Kinane // Over the past handful of HPX events, the festival has been booking a number of talented and well known comedians. This year is no different, as @midnight alums Sara Schaefer and Kyle “The voice of Comedy Central” Kinane are coming to town this year. Kinane has released a pair of stand up specials; you may recognize him from his handful of appearances on the faux-game show @midnight where he has won seven times. Kyle has also opened for Daniel Tosh and Patton Oswald on tour. Don’t miss his shows on Saturday, as he’s performing both an early and a late show at Paul O’Regan Hall (at the Halifax Central Library).
City Natives // It’s going down Friday night at Reflections, as a trio of local Hip-Hop heavyweights are taking the stage, with the award-winning City Natives at 11:10 (followed by Jay Mayne and then The Search(Quake Matthews & Kayo)). If you haven’t heard City Natives, you should definitely check out their 2015 release Voltron, which is an album loaded with the unrelenting, blistering flow from these 4 emcees (Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl, and BnE). Reflections will be the place to be on Friday night.