The top 10 Toronto bands to catch at NXNE 2012
Last week, we previewed NXNE as a whole, and took a look at some of the free concerts and events happening over the course of the week. Now, it's time to take a focused look at some of the hometown bands performing at the festival. There's a ton of Toronto talent at NXNE, so this list represents a mix of my personal highlights and those bands generating a lot of buzz this year.
Army Girls at the Supermarket on Wednesday, June 13, 9 PM
Army Girls is a duo composed of Carmen Elle, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band, and Andy Smith, the group's drummer. Elle came up with the name for the band after walking past a girl dressed in a vintage army jacket. It's a fitting name, too, as it perfectly captures their muscular sound. The duo will play two shows this week — the first on Wednesday at the Supermarket, and then one more the night after at the El Mocambo.
BBNG at the Hoxton on Thursday, June 14, 11 PM and 1 AM
Returning from their tour across Canada and the United States to make a brief stop at NXNE, BADBADNOTGOOD is set to play double duty at the Hoxton on Thursday night. The group recently released their newest album, BBNG2, and like everything else the young jazz trio has done up to this point, their new album has a kind of desperate, vital quality to it that makes it required listening.
Dusted at the El Mocambo on Thursday, June 14, 12 AM
Dusted frontman Brian Borcherdt started his own record label when he was only a teenager, and has since been in bands By Divine Right, Holy Fuck, Burnt Black, and the Trephines. His newest project has been drawing comparisons to Calgary art rock band Women, which has more than one writer on staff excited.
Paradise Animals at the El Mocambo on Friday, June 15, 10 PM
In the past year, Paradise Animals have become one of my favourite bands to come out of Toronto. They play an eclectic, Notwist meets Talking Heads style of music that's well worth the early night visit to the El Mo.
Prince Innocence at the Silver Dollar Room on Saturday, June 16, 12 AM
Most of the pre-NXNE coverage on Prince Innocence has focused on the fact the band is the minimal wave side-project of Little Girls singer Josh McIntyre, and that the band's other member, Talvi Faustmann, is his girlfriend. And while an early incarnation of the band did feature McIntyre on vocal duties, the clear focus and appeal of the band's current iteration is Fautmann's cool, delicate vocals. Still, if the fact that McIntyre is in the band helps bring people to the group's show, then I'm all for it. Check the band out during their set at the Silver Dollar Room on Saturday night.
Phèdre at Sneaky Dee's on Friday, June 15, 12 AM
This one is a kind of combo pick. Phèdre is the weird psychedelic electro-pop side-project of Doldrums singer Airick Woodhead and Hooded Fang frontman Daniel Lee. They have one show during at the festival, but then there's also ample opportunity to check out the group's main projects. Hooded Fang performs at the Horseshoe and Silver Dollar on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Meanwhile, Doldrums has three sets over the course of the festival at the Drake, Garrison and Wrongbar from Thursday to Saturday.
Rich Kidd at Rivoli on Wednesday, June 13, 2:35 AM
Although he's likely best know for his production work with Nelly Furtado and K-os, Rich Kidd is a formidable MC in his own right. And while he plays late on the first night of the festival, hip-hop heads would do well to catch the Toronto-based rapper and producer.
Teenage Kicks at the El Mocambo on Friday, June 15, 1 AM
The mighty Teenage Kicks play just one show this NXNE, but it's sure to be a blast. The band's effortless approach to songwriting never seems tired or derivative. You can catch them at the El Mo on Friday night -- their set precedes that of covers supergroup Dwayne Gretzky, so there's that extra reason to go and catch their set.
Wannabe (Spice Girls Tribute Band) at the Redpath Stage (Harbourfront Centre) on Sunday, June 17, 5 PM
The Spice Girls played their final concert in Toronto, so it seems only fitting that the definitive Spice Girls cover band would also originate from Toronto. According to band's website, the eleven piece's show includes "costumes, accents, platform shoes, choreography, and, of course, GIRL POWER" (their emphasis, not mine). The group's show wlll be free to anyone that can make it down to the Harbourfront Centre.
The Weather Station at the Great Hall Lower Theatre on Thursday, June 14, 10 PM
The Weather Station is the folk solo project of Bruce Peninsula songstress Tamara Lindleman. Lindleman hand-picked folk songs are reminiscent of Nick Drake's finest work, and that's saying something. The Weather Station plays the lower theatre of the Great Hall, which you can access by entering through the venue's side entrance on Dovercourt Road.
Photo of BadBadNotGood by Irina No