NXNE 2015: The Best Of Our Photos

We saw dozens of bands during this year's North By Northeast — and during those brief periods when we were sober enough to hold a camera still, we took hundreds of photographs of them. Now that the dust has settled and our hangovers are distant, lovely memories compared the stress headaches of every day life, we've narrowed those photos down to our favourites. They've all been uploaded onto our Facebook page and you can check them all out right over here.

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Find all of our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.




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NXNE 2015: Broken Social Scene (ish) @ Lee's Palace

THURSDAY – It was three in the morning by the time Kevin Drew stepped out onto the stage at Lee's Palace. By that point, the Paper Bag Records showcase celebrating their 100th release was already getting into its eighth hour. Many of the best bands playing anywhere at this year's North By Northeast had already taken the stage. Born Ruffians. PS I Love You. Young Rival. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan.  Frog Eyes. Laura Barrett. Mozart's Sister. And it had all been building to this.

Drew stood behind his microphone and told a story. It was about his band, Broken Social Scene, and their first album, You Forgot It In People. It was about the moment that — without any exaggeration at all — changed Canadian music forever. Broken Social Scene's second release was Paper Bag's very first. And so it was Paper Bag who sent a copy of that album to Pitchfork to be reviewed. The 9.2 score and the glowing words that came with it not only launched BSS into international stardom, it heralded the beginning of a new age for Canadian indie music: the age of the Internet. With national borders less of a cultural barrier than ever before, bands from the northern half of our continent would finally get a chance to make it big without having to leave home. This was the age of Metric and of Stars and of Arcade Fire. And it all started with Paper Bag.

So it would be hard to imagine any more appropriate climax for the night than the one we got: Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning on stage together — along with some of the best talent our country has to offer. They were backed by Cuff The Duke; they were accompanied on vocals by the Luya's Jessie Stein and Young Galaxy's Catherine McCandless. It was the perfect three-song finale to one hell of a memorable night. "KC Accidental." "Lover's Spit." "Almost Crimes."



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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words and photos by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.



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PUP Drop Yet Another Awesome Video

The Toronto punks in PUP have continued their awesome run of awesome music videos with some brand new animations to go along with "Dark Days." The new video — directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Chandler Levack — just dropped this morning. And this time you can have fun spotting all the cameos and shout outs to local folk like Pkew Pkew Pkew, The Dirty Nil, Vince Rice from Stella Ella Olam and photographer extraordinaire Yoshi Cooper among others. It's a little like Where's Waldo? if Waldo had a better sense of fashion and spent all his time on the road touring in a Canadian punk band. (Which, uh, now that we mention it, is totally a book we'd buy.)

Check it:
 

 
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Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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NXNE 2015: Pet Sun @ The Silver Dollar

FRIDAY – We were pretty trashed by the time we stumbled into the Silver Dollar. Pet Sun were playing one of the late slots on Friday, taking the stage in the wee hours of the morning — that time of night when the number of beers you've had is more of an abstraction than a concrete figure. But trashed is a pretty good way to stumble into the Dollar. And it's a pretty good way to see Pet Sun, too. The Hamilton punks are a blur. A roar. An earthquake. A fist. A bloody fight in a parking lot you can't remember. The promise of a Saturday morning hangover made of fuzzy memories and purple bruises. They are a rising wave of electricity and distortion vibrating through the thick air of a hot room. They are loud. They are raw. And they are good.


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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words and photos by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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NXNE 2015: Michael Rault @ The Garrison

SATURDAY – It wasn't so long ago that a Michael Rault show was a bit of a rare treat in Toronto. The retro rocker originally called Edmonton home, with thousands of kilometers between his catchy, '60s-inspired tunes and the bars of Queen West and the Ossington strip. But oh how things have changed. Rault made the move to Toronto a few years ago. And in the short time since, he has already become one of the most reliable staples of the local indie scene.

He delivered yet another solid set on North By Northeast's Saturday night, playing in the backroom of the Garrison. But he was, sadly, a little bit hobbled by an early set time: the sun was still high above the horizon; the room was only half full at best. The scheduling was a shame: Rault plays the kind of raucous garage rock that would turn a late night and a full room into a drunken sweaty mess of a party. Still, those who were at Garrison for his NXNE gig were treated to yet another display of Rault's seemingly endless supply of hooky tunes, climaxing with a blistering rendition of "Suckcess."


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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words and photos by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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NXNE 2015: Planet Creature @ Smiling Buddha

SATURDAY – The fine folks at Wavelength took over Smiling Buddha for five full nights during this year's North By Northeast. And on Saturday night, they partnered with Optical Sounds to showcase five bands from the fuzzy Toronto label, including The Auras and B-17. But the set we were most excited to catch was the ten o'clock slot: the one belonging to Planet Creature. And they didn't disappoint. Bathed in the blue and yellow light of a psychedelic projection, the shoegazey Toronto outfit blazed through a set of their washed-out pop. For the half hour they were on stage, it was all hooks and distortion. And the crowd — enjoying one of the all-too-rare NXNE line-ups featuring a consistent feel for an entire night — followed along at every turn.


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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.

Photos by Carmen Cheung, the Arts Editor for The Little Red Umbrella.


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NXNE 2015: Mexican Slang @ The Silver Dollar

SATURDAY – It was a late, sweaty, Saturday summer night. And the Silver Dollar was packed. The crowd filled the dark space between the bar and the stage as Mexcian Slang burned through their set. The air throbbed with the distorted, retro garage rock of the Buzz Records signees. The lights cycled through a slow kaleidoscope: red, purple, blue. And under those lights, frontwoman Annabelle Lee kept the audience entranced until the final rough notes faded from the air. Then the crowd spilled back out onto the Spadina sidewalk, heading off to their next show or grabbing a quick smoke before the next set, their ears buzzing, their heads filled with the raw, electric hooks of one of Toronto's best fuzzy punk bands. 


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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.

Photos by Carmen Cheung, the Arts Editor for The Little Red Umbrella.


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NXNE 2015: Mozart's Sister @ Lee's Palace

THURSDAY – We've seen Mozart's Sister play in all sorts of venues. In the dank dark of the Comfort Zone basement. In the red glow of the lights on stage at the Garrison. In the golden sunset of a backyard in Little Portugal. But Thursday night's set at Lee's Palace — part of the epic celebration of Paper Bag Records' 100th release — may very well have been the biggest, most confident set we've seen Caila Thompson-Hannant play yet. The Montreal electro queen was, as always, a captivating presence, coaxing synthetic noises from her instruments, her voice a beguiling shape-shifter, always moving, never still.

But that was only the beginning. As the brief set neared its end, Paul Saulnier was waiting in the wings, beginning to slide his fingers across the strings of his electric guitar. The PS I Love You guitarist is easily one of the best our country has to offer. And when he stepped out into the bright lights, his fingers now a blistering blur, an electric roar took Mozart's Sister's electro-pop to a new level. It was a jaw-dropping moment. As Saulnier let loose, Thompson-Hannant was swept away, buckling first to her knees and then collapsing completely on the stage, spent. As the night's host, the CBC's Lana Gay, pointed out later: even the musicians in the green room all crowded to the window overlooking the stage, witnessing a moment that is bound to stand as one of the highlights of this year's festival.


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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.

Photos by Carmen Cheung, the Arts Editor for The Little Red Umbrella.


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NXNE 2015: Alana Yorke @ Lee's Palace

THURSDAY – Paper Bag Records celebrated their 100th release in style on Thursday night, filling the stage of Lee's Palace with a whirlwind of bands — many of them familiar staples of the Toronto music world, like Young Rival, Laura Barrett, and even some of Broken Social Scene. But one of the standout acts was making her very first appearance in Toronto. Alana Yorke is from Halifax; her debut is only a few months old.

With 16 different bands sharing the stage, each performance was brief: Yorke only had time for three songs. But the quick set made for a perfect introduction to a new audience. Yorke lists Kate Bush and Enya among her influences, and it's easy to see them in the gentle majesty of her piano-based tunes, now quiet, now dark, now soaring and bright. On a night celebrating so many big names, it wasn't easy for the newer acts to make their mark. But Yorke did just that. Not a bad way to make a first impression.

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Read all our coverage of NXNE 2015 here.

Words by Adam Bunch, Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project and Toronto Historical Jukebox. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.

Photos by Carmen Cheung, the Arts Editor for The Little Red Umbrella.


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