This week Oh! Canada heads out to Toronto for the 17th edition of NXNE. Canada’s equivalent of SXSW or The Great Escape, the festival takes over the city for a week, showcasing emerging and unsigned Canadian bands alongside more established names, packing in over 650 bands in venues throughout Toronto. Throw in a whole host of day parties, big outdoor shows and the annoncement of the Polaris Prize Longlist, and it promises to be quite a week.
Oh! Canada will be there, and reporting back on our discoveries over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s just a handful of events worth checking out:
1. Labels of Love…
Toronto label Out Of This Spark take over The Music Gallery early on Thursday with performances from Snowblink, Evening Hymns and Forest City Lovers. With Evening Hymns fresh back from a European tour, and close to finishing up on ‘Spectral Dusk’, the follow up to Oh! Canada favourite ‘Spirit Guides’, here’s hoping for a sneak preview of the new material. While each band on the bill would be a legitimate tip in their own right, to be combined on one bill makes this show one not to be missed.
Like OOTS, Calgary’s Flemish Eye has been putting out some TLOBF faves over the last few years: Chad VanGaalen, Women and Braids to name but a few. They take to The Great Hall on Saturday night with a line up including duzheknew, Jennifer Castle, Braids, Chad Vangaalen and Grimes. While again the entire line-up is fantastic, we are particularly looking forward to catching former Fucked Up and Constantines collaborator Jennifer Castle and her beautiful, eerie and occasionally menancing take on folk music.
Jennifer Castle-Poor as Him (Southern Souls Session)
2. Friday is going to get HEAVY…
Friday night promises to be hot, heavy, and beer soaked evening. The Horseshoe Tavern plays host to the epic rock of The Darcys, Black Lungs (fresh from a UK tour supporting Fucked Up), C’Mon, OFF! the hardcore supergroup featuring former Black Flag/ Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris, Mario Rubalcaba of RFTC and Hot Snakes and Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides and Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross. Black and Vancouver’s two woman Garage Rock assault unit The Pack A.D. Meanwhile over at The Hideout, Victoria B.C’s Slam Dunk will be throwing down the occasional bloodcurdling scream as they tear through their saxophone heavy adrenaline fueled garage punk. Plus, if there are two things we love here at Oh! Canada its songs that mention the bands name in the title, and songs that are dances. Slam Dunk win on both counts.
3. The Outdoor Shows…
In the heart of the commercial district, Yonge Dundas Square is sure to fill up for a handfull of shows over the week. Imagine a pedestrianised Piccadily Circus and your almost there. Now imagine Metz, Fucked Up, OFF! and the Descendents playing a free show there. Also playing over the course of the week will be Diamond Rings, Land of Talk, Stars, Cults, Devo, D-Sisive amongst others.
4. The Power of 17…
With over 650 bands there was always going to be clashes: there’s no way that we are going to get to see all of these acts, barring the invention of affordable time travel/ cloning technologies, but given that a) It’s the 17th year of NXNE and b) We are launching Oh! Canada 17 this week, here are 17 other shows we wish we could be at:
Volcano Playground, Hooded Fang, Shad, Rich Aucoin, No Gold, Doldrums, Bruce Peninsula, Chains of Love, Imaginary Cities, Modern Superstitions, Lake Forest, Red Mass, Heartbeat Hotel, Wildlife, Makeout Videotape, No Joy, Memoryhouse.
And last but not least…and in no way biased
5. The Kelp Records and Line of Best Fit BBQ…
17 Years of NXNE. 17 Years of Ottawa’s Kelp Records, 17 Editions of Oh! Canada. Sounds like a reason to celebrate. And that’s just what TLOBF and Kelp will be doing. Join us from 12-6 at Global Village Backpackers (460 King West and Spadina) for a free BBQ! We are still finalizing the line up, so keep an eye out for the full announcement !
You can follow Oh! Canada’s NXNE adventure on twitter : @ohcanada_uk