The North by Northeast music festival kicks off today in Toronto and with it hundreds of bands will descend into the city’s clubs.
If you still have joy in your heart for music you will find it extremely difficult to see all the things you’ll want to see during the fest. That’s why, as a personal service to you the reader, I’ve compiled a list of recommendations to help you prioritize what to see when you’re pounding the pavement.
Wednesday, June 17
8 pm Etiquette @ Danforth Music Hall
Electro-Sade as interpreted by smooth operators Julie Fader and Brian Borcherdt.
11 pm White Cowbell Oklahoma @ Silver Dollar
Though they’re more proper boogie rock and less perverted minstrel show these days, a NXNE Cowbell show is a 15-year tradition at this point.
12 am Zola Jesus @ Lee’s Palace
There are a LOT of Zola Jesus imitators playing the fest this year. You might as well start at the top and work your way down.
Honourable mention: Murder Murder @ Handlebar at 11 pm. They mostly sing songs about murder.
Thursday, June 18
8 pm Lydia Ainsworth @ Phoenix
Where Grimes and Kate Bush intersect in a Venn diagram.
9 pm A Place To Bury Strangers @ Opera House
“Do you like Jesus And Mary Chain?”
“Awesome. Me, too. Let’s start a band.”
11 pm Comet Control @ Silver Dollar
Friday, June 19
9 pm George Clinton @ Nathan Phillips Square
George Clinton is playing a free show at Nathan Phillips Square. It’s not part of NXNE. If you’re downtown you should probably go to that.
10 pm Votiiv @ Garrison
[Young woman discovers older brother’s Nitzer Ebb records. Enjoys them.]
12 am Warpaint @ Adelaide Hall
When faced with a viewing conflict (Warpaint vs. No Joy at midnight), ALWAYS default to trying to see the international act. You’ll probably have less chance to see them in the future.
Saturday, June 20
4 pm The Holy Gasp @ St. James Gazebo
People think I’m nuts because I want to see some kooky bongo band, but this totally looks crazytown bananapants.
8 pm Best Coast @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Now that the hype has long since evaporated you can judge them on their merits alone.
11 pm The Auras @ Smiling Buddha
Smiling Buddha has a super-pysch-y bill going all night. This is probably the peak, maaaaan.
Honourable mention: Heartless Bastards @ Horseshoe Tavern at 11 pm.