Part of the fun of North By Northeast in previous years was attending the impromptu and unofficial shows that would inevitably pop up over the course of the festival. Now in its 20th year, NXNE have gotten wise and responded by absorbing almost every show planned in its periphery. So as to not seem so deliberate they’ve also introduced a few elements of “spontaneity” to their schedule, booking sponsored events to take place on the city’s streetcars and islands.
Fear not, there are still things to hear and do throughout the week that are unaffiliated with NXNE, though they’re a bit harder to find. Whether you’re unable to fork over the $145 for a wristband, wanting to avoid the festival altogether, or are just looking for something a little more off-colour one night, we’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for the week, but don’t be surprised if a few more short-notice shows to crop up as well. Consider this a side dish; we'll also be posting official previews and reviews all throughout the week.
If their first single is any indication, Merchandise’s follow-up to their highly-acclaimed Totale Nite promises to be a much poppier record, and this show will be Toronto’s first taste of the new material. They’ll be supported by the boggy muck of fellow countrymen Ukiah Drag as well as local punk sweethearts S.H.I.T and Black Baron. Show up early because this gig will likely be packed, and the openers should not be missed.
If you’re looking to get out of the city entirely to escape the NXNE madness, then Post-Fest might be up your alley. It’s happening an hour away in the picturesque city of Guelph, from Wednesday to Sunday. This festival’s organizers have brilliantly tuned in to the fact that many bands are traversing through Southern Ontario right now, in transit between NXNE, Ottawa Explosion, and Suoni Per Il Popolo in Montreal, and so they’ve built their own festival around it. Day one features Vancouver’s pop punk pros Tough Age, the sunny sounds of Michael Rault, and Guelph’s own Baby Labour.
Thursday marks the start of this free, unplugged, live music festival, taking place in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods until Saturday. Bellwoods is guaranteed to be booming with bikes, babes and bands this week-- enough to rival Vice Island-- and is definitely a good place to head if you want to catch some bands and unwind a bit.
Metal music is notoriously overlooked by NXNE, so if you need to get your fix this week, there’s no better way than by seeing Meshuggah. The Swedish metal savants have been on the rampage for 25 years now, and aim to mark the occasion with a special setlist determined by their die-hard fans via an online poll. If you’ve never seen or heard the band before, this “best of” performance is an ideal way to be introduced.
The good people at Long Winter refuse to let a thing like summer stop them from booking shows. “Construction” is the summer branch of the Long Winter concert series, and is curated by Fucked Up’s Mike Haliechuk and Toronto’s busiest promoter, Mark Pesci. Friday’s lineup includes slick synthers New Zebra Kid, Wild Highways and Zoo Owl.
Shameless plug. Come spend Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22 with us! Saturday’s free show will be hosted by comedian Nick Flanagan, and features an eclectic mix of talent hand-picked by us!
Summer Melt: Pleasure Leftists/Cellphone/Teenanger/Petra Glynt/Ice Cream/Toronto Homicide Squad/Das Rad/Wrong Hole @ Soybomb
Perhaps it’s its own thing, or perhaps it’s the logical heir to the annual Toronto Thaw Festival. Either way, this show is absolutely stacked. It's hard to think of a NXNE showcase that rivals this lineup. Two of the best labels in the city have joined forces to give you what will undoubtedly be a noisy, crazy, fun show.
Join us for the second part of our free, unofficial NXNE showcase, hosted by Chris Locke. Come to see the incredibly talented Weaves, and stay to see Baby Eagle’s only performance happening during NXNE.
Unaffiliated 01: Zacht Automaat/Petra Glynt/Special Costello/Baby Cages/Old and Weird/Man Made Hill/Craig Currie/SECRET SPECIAL GUEST @ Artscape Gibraltar Point
Toronto’s arty music centre takes the island back on Sunday. That afternoon, Artscape Gibraltar Point will be home to many audio-visual treats that showcases some of the best and brightest this city has to offer.