Excited for North By North East? Yeah, us too!! NXNE is coming up fast, happening this June from 13-19 June in Toronto, Ontario. Natascha rounds up some essential NXNE Fest Picks – our guide to the best of the fest!
With 650 bands playing in cities across Toronto, NXNE 2011 promises to once again live up to it’s reputation as the cities’ flagship music festival. The below choices are just a few hot tips – you can find full listings and build your own festival planner using the schedules on the NXNE website.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 15th
Library Voices, The Rivoli 12AM- An 8-piece band of trans-Canadian nomads originally from Regina, Saskatchewan. Would be interested in seeing the oft-talked about pop ensemble.
Parlovr, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern 12 AM- High octane, rock fueled pop act from Montreal.
Pick a Piper, The Garrison 1 AM- A great live band, and a Radio Wunderbar favourite. Live this band is raw, ambient, percussive, and a lot louder than they are on album.
The Damn Truth, The Dakota Tavern 12 AM- Soulful rock and rollers from Montreal, influenced by the likes of Hendrix and Joplin. See them now before their first LP drops to maximize on the band’s “I was listening before they got famous” appeal.
We Are Wolves, The Horseshoe Tavern 1 AM- Smoking hot act off the Dare To Care label, Montreal. Sure to bring the dance party, a show to be scene at.
Brave Station, The Boat 1AM- Catch this fresh local act, just back in town from a UK tour while you still can. Download the EP for free: http://bravestation.bandcamp.com/
Bruce Peninsula, The Rivoli 1 AM- A few years ago, when the LP had just been released, Bruce Peninsula used to play around town quite often. They’ve been a repeat act for me. Interesting fact, the large, ever-evolving choral band actually used to be boast Austra’s Maya Postepski on drums.
Imaginary Cities, The Rivoli 11 PM- It’s true, “Hummingbird” has got to have the dumbest lyrics ever. But that Marti’s got a voice you got to hear to believe.
PS I Love You, The Horseshoe Tavern 11 PM- Known for running in the same circles as local queer dance hit, Diamond Rings. This duo plays a surprisingly danceable blend of rock and pop.
Suuns, The Horseshoe Tavern 12 PM- An enigma from Montreal, Suuns are psychedelic burn-out rock for the synthesized generation.
FRIDAY JUNE 17th
Anti-Flag, The Phoenix 9 PM- Legendary, need I say more?
The Braids, The Garrison 11PM- Already hyped to be one of the hottest bands of 2011.
Diamond Rings, Yonge and Dundas Square 7:30 PM- A free show at the square from one of the hottest new dance acts in Toronto. Saw him play a live acoustic set as part of the Toronto Public Library’s “Make Some Noise” series, and I have to hand it to the guy – he’s really got it.
Dum Dum Girls, Lee’s Palace 11 PM- The cool retro vibe of this band revisits the sounds of the 60’s. The most astonishing part of this act is hearing the clarity of the girl’s very beautiful voices cut through the lo-fi fuzz live.
Hotcha! The Central 8 PM- Well admittedly, still a little rough, Hotcha’s old timey charm is hard to deny.
The Minotaurs, The Gladstone 10 PM- An afrobeat inspired band from Ontario. Frontman Nathan Lawr’s resume reads like a who’s who of indie rock.
Sheezer, Sneaky Dee’s 2 AM- Okay, I’ll admit it. I want to see the all-girls Weezer cover band.
Stars, Yonge and Dundas Square 9:30-11 PM- The Friday night headliner of the free set at Yonge and Dundas Square. Be sure to get there early if you want to party it up like a proletariat.
SATURDAY JUNE 18th
CATL, Silver Dollar Room 9 PM- Toronto’s favourite cowpunks, doing live conversions weekly.
Chad VanGaalen, The Great Hall 12 PM- Hand’s down, one of my favourite artists to emerge from Canada in the past five years. He’s at least as electrifying live as on album. A great chance to check out the new material the album that just dropped.
DEVO, Yonge and Dundas Square 9:30-11 PM- How do you try to outdo a free performance in the Square by Iggy Pop? Hire Devo the next year. Should be good.
Grimes, The Great Hall 1 AM- Her music is hard to put in a box, but the arty electro-pop will be a good follow-up to Chad VanGaalen who will be taking stage just prior.
Hands and Teeth, Sneaky Dees 11 PM- This band which has been together for barely a year was one of our favourites at CMW.
One Hundred Dollars, The Horseshoe Tavern 1 AM- A country band with true grit. Eat your heart out Billy Ray.
SUNDAY JUNE 19th
NXNE Soccer, Lamport Stadium at 1.30pm. The 5th Annual “Put The Boot In” charity match pits musicians against media and celebrities to raise money for the charity Right To Play. Nurse your NXNE weekend hangover by watching the likes of Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Rick Campanelli (ET Canada) and Olympian Alex Van Koeverden scrap it out at footy – and our own Brian Banks will be there too! All the participants are fundraising – you can make a donation to help Brian reach his fundraising goal by using this secure link: http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/NXNE2011/brianbanks All proceeds go direct to Right To Play, helping less fortunate kids play sport.
Pop Winds, The Garrison 10 PM- Another little gem from Arbutus Records. End your weekend with the heady sounds of this Montreal electro pop act.
© Natascha Malta, Music Vice