Shit You Should See At NXNE

There are just a silly number of bands playing in Toronto for North By Northeast this week: 1000 of them according to the festival's website. That's clearly more music than anyone has time to check out online, never mind actually going to see them live. So we've taken the time to sort through our favourites. Below you'll find the best bets as far we're concerned, with set times, MP3s, interviews and more. And if that's not enough for you, you can also listen to the NXNE preview edition of our Songs You Can Dance Around Your Apartment To podcast right over here.

(Of course, during the days we recommend you nurse your hangovers in Trinity Bellwoods, where the Young Lions Music Club has put together another edition of the Live In Bellwoods Great Heart Music Festival, with acoustic sets by acts like The BB Guns, Paper Lions, Maylee Todd and Olenka & The Autumn Lovers. You can check out the full schedule and details here.)

Once NXNE starts, you'll find all our coverage here. You can follow us on Twitter (@LittleRedU) and like us on Facebook too.

The full schedule for the festival is here and you can buy a wristband ($60 for the whole week) here.


Once upon a time, the festival's Wednesday night was quiet enough that we didn't feel like we had to go out and see anyone. Which was great for resting up and getting ready for all the craziness to come. But this year there are a few great shows, including one that will probably tempt us out into the night. Mozart's Sister — one of our favourite discoveries from last year's North By Northeast — is playing the Rivoli right before Gentleman Reg.

Mozart's Sister (11pm) & Gentleman Reg (12am)
MP3: "Chained Together" by Mozart's Sister
READ: Our review of Mozart's Sister at NXNE 2012
READ: Our review of Mozart's Sister at CMW 2103
MP3: "We're In A Thunderstorm" by Gentleman Reg 
READ: Our review of Gentleman Reg at CMW 2011


Of all the bands playing this year's festival, we might be most excited about The Cruelty Party. The brand new local super-group fronted by Azari & III's Alphonse Lanza — and featuring guitar by our little red friend and occasional contributor Milan Schramek (ex of Modernboys Moderngirls) — takes to the stage at Wrongbar in the wee hours of the morning. And right before them, Montreal rockers We Are Wolves play a set.

Meanwhile, the Silver Dollar also has a couple of our local favourites. Stella Ella Ola (who just released an excellent new single, "Donna", kick things off at 9pm while Pow Wows (who played our Pussy Riot benefit show last year) are on at 1. In between are The Dirty Nil, who we've been dying to see live for a while now — we suspect they're one of the best party bands in Toronto.

Still, we'll be tempted to head to the Horseshoe (for former Spiral Beachers Moon King and electro-wizard Dan Deacon) or the Great Hall (for the poppy garage rock of Michael Rault and the Québecois piano pop of Coeur de Pirate). Or to catch the '70ish guitar shredding of Little Foot Long Foot at Hard Luck. Or the holy-shit-they're-setting-things-on-fire theatrical country rock of White Cowbell Oklahoma at Lee's.

Moon King (9pm) & Dan Deacon (12am)
MP3: "Theme For Moon King" by Moon King
MP3: "The Crystal Cat" by Dan Deacon

Stella Ella Ola (9pm) & The Dirty Nil (10pm) & Pow Wows (1am)
READ: Our interview with Stella Ella Ola
MP3: "Fuckin' Up Young" by The Dirty Nil
READ: Our interview with Pow Wows

Michael Rault (10pm) & Coeur de Pirate (11pm)
MP3: "It'll Hurt You, Too" by Michael Rault
READ: Our review of Michael Rault at CMW 2012
MP3: "Saint-Laurent" by Coeur de Pirate

Little Foot Long Foot (10pm)
MP3: "Sell Out While You Can" by Little Foot Long Foot
READ: Our interview with Little Foot Long Foot

We Are Wolves (12am) & The Cruelty Party (1am)
MP3: "As The Moon Sets" by We Are Wolves

White Cowbell Oklahoma (12am)
MP3: "Keys To The Universe" by White Cowbell Oklahoma


On Friday, we're most excited about the Young Lions Music Club showcase downstairs from the Great Hall. We're particularly pumped for Guelph indie rockers The Magic, the epic '80s pop of Gold & Youth (who kicked off the Field Trip festival last weekend) and — if we're still standing — the 3am slot by the Spice Girls tribute band, Wannabe.

Upstairs, they'll be the reliving the '90s with Sloan and the Super Friendz, while The PepTides subvert the '60s down the street at the Gladstone and the Luyas bring their beautiful looping melodies to Sneaky Dee's.

The Magic (11pm) & Gold & Youth (1am) & Wannabe (3am)
MP3: "Mr. Hollywood" by The Magic
MP3: "City of Quartz" by Gold & Youth

The Super Friendz (11pm) & Sloan (12am)
MP3: "The Good In Everyone" by Sloan

The PepTides (11pm)
MP3: "Don't Leave Me This Way" by The PepTides

The Luyas (1am)
MP3: "Too Beautiful To Work" by The Luyas
READ: Our review of The Luyas from NXNE 2011


Our livers will undoubtedly limp into Saturday night, but the rest of us will be plenty excited. The BB Guns, who were just plain amazing at CMW, take their retro-girl-group-garage-rock to Lee's while Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshosts) play their drunken rock at Rancho Relax and Dangerband do the same at Velvet.

Meanwhile, the electro-hippies of Doom Squad will follow up their trippy late night CMW set at Comfort Zone with a 1am appearance at the Garrison. And at the Dollar, after Michael Rault plays his second set of the festival, The Lost Babies will take the stage at 3am — a perfect spot to finish off the festival before heading to Sneaks for some early morning nachos.

Henri Fabergé (8:45 & 9:45) & Michael Rault (10pm) & The Lost Babies (3am)
MP3: "It'll Hurt You, Too" by Michael Rault
READ: Our review of Michael Rault at CMW 2012
MP3: "Holy City" by The Lost Babies

The BB Guns (9pm)
MP3: "Baby I Hate You" by The BB Guns
READ: Our interview with The BB Guns
READ: Our review of The BB Guns at CMW

Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) (11pm)
MP3: "Asshole Pandemic" by Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots)

Dangerband (11pm)
MP3: "Stupid Boyfriend" by Dangerband

Cousins (9pm) & Doom Squad (1am)
MP3: "Head Spirit (For Our Mechanical Time)" by Doom Squad
READ: Our unfinished tour diary with Doom Squad 


Once the festival starts, you'll be able to find all of our coverage right here.

Photo: Michael Rault at CMW 2012 (by Adam Bunch)


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