Shit You Should See At NXNE 2012

Well, here we go again. 780 bands. Dozens of venues. More booze and drugs and dancing than at Lindsay Lohan's Sweet 16. All of which are perfect examples of the kind of thing that will get Little Red Umbrella editors to take some time off of work, forsake sleep, and send their livers termination notices. Just like last year, we'll be out in full force throughout the festival, posting photos and reviews as we go. You'll find all our coverage here (including the NXNE preview edition of our Songs You Can Dance Around Your Apartment To podcast, which we've already posted here). We'll be tweeting it up, too. You can follow us @LittleRedU.

During the afternoons, we'll be in Trinity Bellwoods Park on Queen Street West, tall boys in hand, enjoying the Great Heart Festival. That's the new name for the free acoustic shows put on by the Young Lions Music Club and Live In Bellwoods peeps. (Check out our photos from last year's edition here.) This year, as usual, they've put together an exceptionally exceptional line-up of artists, including Julie Doiron, Luke Lalonde from Born Ruffians, The Elwins, Paper Lions, Army Girls, Dwayne Gretzky, Michael Rault, Julie Fader and more. (You can check out all the info on Facebook here.)

And this year's festival also includes some great comedy acts. The BOOM, featuring Little Red Umbrella Variety Spectacular alumni Desiree Lavoy-Dorsch and Deborah Etta Robinson, are bringing their sketch comedy to Lot 100 on Thursday night. And Lavoy-Dorsch is also doing stand up there on Friday.

As for the main event — the nightly NXNE showcases — we're posting some of the stuff we're most excited about below. You can also check out the full schedule here. Wristbands ($50 for the whole festival; $25 for one day) and individual tickets are on sale here.

Army Girls (9pm) at The Supermarket
Tomboyfriend (10pm) at The Boat
Enjoy Your Pumas (9pm) at The El Mocambo
Charlotte Cornfield (11pm) & Jeff Pinto (1am) at The Cameron House

Tomboyfriend! The first time we ever saw the Toronto art rockers live was at NXNE last year. They've quickly become one of favourite bands — they even played the inaugural edition of the Little Red Umbrella Variety Spectacular back in October. So we'll be there for sure on Wendesday night when they take the stage at everyone's favourite nautically-themed Portuguese Kensington Market restaurant, The Boat.

But that's not all. Earlier in the night, Enjoy Your Pumas, the Winnipeg indie rockers we interviewed just the other day, will be playing the club we still can't help but think of as the place where Margaret Trudeau partied with The Rolling Stones: The El Mocambo. Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, Army Girls will be taking the stage at The Supermarket.

If you're looking for something a little more folksy, we recommend The Cameron House. Hands & Teeth's Jeff Pinto will playing solo at 1am on a bill that also includes the excellent singer-songwriteringness of Charlotte Cornfield.

MP3: "The Power" by Army Girls
MP3: "Swayze" by Enjoy Your Pumas
MP3: "Alexander McQueen" by Tomboyfriend
MP3: "Skank" by Tomboyfriend
READ: Our review of Tomboyfriend at NXNE 2011
MP3: "The Colour" by Charlotte Cornfield
WATCH: Charlotte Cornfield perform "Big Volcano, Small Town"

Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers (9pm), Hooded Fang (10pm), Unknown Mortal Orchestra (midnight) & Bran Van 3000 (1am) at The Horseshoe 
Honheehonhee (1am) & Les Breastfeeders (3am) at Sneaky Dee's
Michael Rault (12am) at The Dakota
Moon King (9pm) at Wrongbar 
Army Girls (10pm) at The El Mocambo
Hands & Teeth (10pm) at The Silver Dollar
Whale Tooth (12pm) at The Great Hall

The festival gets into full swing on Thursday night and The 'Shoe has a particularly exciting line-up. Toronto's own hook-happy indie rockers Hooded Fang (who just made our second straight Polaris Prize ballot) hit the stage right after beard-happy folk rockers Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers. Then, at midnight, Portland's Unknown Mortal Orchestra play their oh-so-popular lo-fi pscyh-rock followed by the holy-crap-are-they-seriously-playing-The-Horseshoe-?! Bran Van 3000. (Who you remember from back in 1997 when they sang about drinking in L.A.)

If '90s nostalgia isn't your thing, Sneaky Dee's late night line-up features a couple of kickass bands rocking into the wee hours. Honheehonhee delivered one of favourite sets during Canadian Music Week. And now they're back for NXNE, sharing a bill with the francophone garage rock of Les Breastfeeders.

Meanwhile, a bunch of awesome local acts are playing all over the city. Former Spiral Beachers Daniel Woodhead and Maddy Wilde bring their new project, Moon King, to Wrongbar. The recently-moved-from-here-Edmonton Michael Rault takes his '60s throwback tunes to The Dakota. And the city's two sexiest dental-themed bands — Hands & Teeth and Whale Tooth — play The Silver Dollar and The Great Hall respectively. Plus, if you missed Army Girls on Wednesday night, you'll get another chance to catch them at The El Mo.

READ: Our interview with Ben Caplan
MP3: "Laughing" by Hooded Fang
READ: Our review of Hooded Fang at Canadian Music Week
MP3: "Thought Ballune" by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
MP3: "Drinking in L.A." by Bran Van 3000 
MP3: "A Is For Animal" by Honheehonhee
READ: Our interview with Honheehonhee
MP3: "Ce Ne Sera Pas Un Jour Comme Les Autres" by Les Breastfeeders
MP3: "Theme For Moon King" by Moon King
MP3: "It'll Hurt You, Too" by Michael Rault
MP3: "Hunting Season" by Hands And Teeth
READ: Our interview with Hands And Teeth
READ: Our review of Hands And Teeth at North By Northeast 2011
MP3: "Hibernation Song" by Whale Tooth
READ: Our review of Whale Tooth at Canadian Music Week

Christien Summers (8pm), Paper Lions (12am), Dwayne Gretzky (2am) at The El Mocambo 
Hooded Fang (10pm) & Parlovr (11pm) at The Silver Dollar 
Phedre (12am) at Sneaky Dee's
Modernboys Moderngirls (2am) at The Hideout

Anyone who was at the most recent Little Red Umbrella Variety Spectacular knows just how good Christien Summers are. But their dance-friendly indie disco tunes are only one part of the Friday night line-up at The El  Mocambo. The Young Lions Music Club takes over the ground floor for their showcase and along with Christien Summers, they've got one of the catchiest bands in Canada, Paper Lions, and one of the city's finest supergroups, Dwayne Gretzky, playing later in the evening.

While that's going on, just a few doors up the street Hooded Fang will be following their Thursday night set with a Friday night performance at The Silver Dollar, followed by Parlovr. Phedre will be playing a few blocks away at Sneaks. And Modernboys Moderngirls will be doing their thing down on Queen West.

MP3: "Shoot The Breeze" by Christien Summers
READ: Our interview with Christien Summers
READ: Our review of Christien Summers at Canadian Music Week
MP3: "Lost The War" by Paper Lions
READ: Our interview with Paper Lions
MP3: "Do You Remember?" by Parlovr
MP3: "In Decay" by Phedre
MP3: "My Baby Says Boy, Don't You Ever Leave Me" by Modernboys Moderngirls
MP3: "On The Line" by Modernboys Moderngirls

of Montreal (7pm), Portugal. The Man (8pm) & The Flaming Lips (9pm) at Yonge & Dundas Square
Topanga (12am) at The Garrison
Christien Summers (1am) at The Cameron House

The festival's biggest buzz in indie rock circles is, of course, about the free Flaming Lips show on Saturday night. They'll be taking the stage after a day of music at Yonge & Dundas Square, immediately following sets by the grammatically confusing of Montreal and Portugal. The Man. And there's good reason for all the excitement. It'll be preeeeeetty interesting to see how The Lips' confetti- and giant hamster ball-oriented theatrics play in Toronto's billboard-laden answer to Times Square and Piccadilly Circus.

Once the fun outside the Eaton Centre is over, we'll be heading to The Garrison to finally catch a show by one of the city's newest shout-along indie rock groups, Topanga. So far, every time we've shown up, they've packed the place so tight we couldn't even get in.

Of course, if do we get turned away at the door yet again, there's always Christien Summers. They'll be playing a second NXNE set, this time at The Cameron House.

MP3: "Disconnect The Dots" by of Montreal
MP3: "So American" by Portugal. The Man
MP3: "The W.A.N.D." by The Flaming Lips
MP3: "Do You Realize??" by The Flaming Lips
MP3: "Lionheart" by Topanga
MP3: "Back Against The Wall" by Topanga

Raekwon & Ghostface Killah (9pm) at Yonge & Dundas Square
The BB Guns (11pm) at The Crawford

By the time NXNE's Sunday night rolls around, we're usually in the mood for a long stay at the Betty Ford Clinic, rather than dragging our liquor-soaked corpses out for yet another night of live music. But the festival organizers don't seem to be interested in helping us to recover for our additions. They're keeping what may very well be their biggest booking coup for the verrrrry last moment. Former Wu-Tang Clan MCs Raekwon and Ghostface Killah play Yonge & Dundas Square at 9pm. That's not the kind of thing anyone with any interest in hop hop is going to want to miss.

If you're looking for more indie rock, may we suggest you check out the women of The BB Guns? They'll be bringing their garage rock to The Crawford at 11pm.

MP3: "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit" by Wu-Tang Clan 
MP3: "(She Thinks She's) So Soho" by The BB Guns
MP3: "Mystery Girl" by The BB Guns

Once the festival starts, you'll be able to find all of our coverage right here. And again, you can check out the full schedule here, get wristbands and individual tickets here.


Photo: Maddy Wilde of Moon King (performing with ALX at CMW) by Carmen Cheung

Posted by Adam Bunch


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