Hot Ticket: NXNE - BlogTO Style

Ready for another round of North By Northeast? Full of spreadsheets and band schedules, and enough speedy venue-hopping to choke a jackrabbit? Sure you are. If you've got open slots in your schedule or are still unsure where to hop, let your friendly BlogTO music staff lend a suggestion or two. (Important note!: NXNE schedules have been known to change on a whim mere hours before a show, so please confirm the latest setimes on their official website before stepping out).

The Official BlogTO NXNE picks are (and we're sorting them by writer this time, so if you tell us they suck, we're taking it personally!):

Beth Hamill:
Thursday - BBC Radio turns Lee's Palace into alt-country heaven, with more twang than your broken heart can handle. The night kicks off with Oh Susanna (9pm), Kathleen Edwards (10pm), Jim Bryson (11pm), and Justin Rutledge (midnight). Sandwiched between two "surprise guests" (*coughbluerodeo*) are husband & wife duo Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland (2am). Both have killer chops and can weild a mean Gretsch, not to mention being easy on the ears and the eyes.

Friday - I hope Mr. Palace doesn't mind me sleeping on his floor, because I'll be back at Lee's on Friday for Yep Roc's showcase featuring The Sadies (midnight), and the legendary Mr. John Doe (1 am). Sure, we've all seen those good lookin', chain smokin' fast-fingered Sadies before, but can you really ever have too much roof raising surf punk psychedelic garage rock? I steadfastly say 'no' (see: foot stomp for emphasis). And as former frontman of legendary L.A. punk pioneers X, John Doe needs little introduction either. When he's not paired with X-mate Exene Cervenka playing with the Knitters, Doe spends his time writing, acting, playing sweet bluesy troubadour folk songs, and generally looking damn foxy. I could seriously die this night, been nice knowing ya.

Saturday - Swedish pop music and I have been good pals ever since my introduction to "Waterloo" at about age 8. Gothenburg's The Soundtrack of Our Lives may wear their flared pantsuits on the inside and prefer their pop on the psychedelic side (late-era Beatles and mid-era Floyd), but they've still got that intangible wack factor that makes them undeniably Swedish. TSOOL are playing NXNE for three straight nights so you'll have plenty of chances to catch their rock & roll circus: at Jeff Healey's Roadhouse both Thursday night (11 pm) and Saturday night (11pm), and at the Silver Dollar on Friday (1am).

Gary Peter:
Thursday - Spookey Ruben plays the Reverb (11pm). A former fixture in Canada's indie music scene circa 1995, Spookey's hit "These Days Are Old" brought me -and many other indie kids of that era - much joy. He relocated to Los Angeles after facing some label problems, where I heard he is writing music for commercials while still working on his quirky pop tunes. I'm really looking forward to this rare Toronto appearance.

Friday - I've been interested in checking out Montreal disco-funksters Creature for a while. I love bands with multiple vocalists and all 4 band members of Creature (one of them going by the name CowBella Banella) sing on their songs. This should be a really fun set. I should also add that their most recent Myspace blog entry mentioned an interest they have in finding a "rusty trombone player". How cool is that? (Creature hits the stage at Rivoli at midnight).

Saturday - June 9 at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern - 11 pm One of the best and most recognizable indie rock voices today, Sebastien Grainger's set at the Horseshoe Tavern (11pm) has got to be one of the most highly anticipated of this year's NXNE. My biggest regret is not going to a DFA1979 show before they broke up. Fans like me have been dancing to MSTRKRFT remixes ever since, and now we can all rejoice to Sebastien Grainger's new soul-garage rock band.

Garry Tsaconas:
Thursday - Camouflage Nights have been building themselves slowly for their massive outbreak amongst the city of Toronto and everywhere else. Sonic beats mixed with rock inhibitions prompt the area where you stand to not remain still. The duo released their debut record on Labwork/Sonic Unyon/EMI this year. (10pm, at Sneaky Dee's).

Friday - I'm still not bored of them. Why? We're Marching On are definitely something different. With many having trouble trying to describe their sound, you can basically sum them up as progressive-epic-psych. Yes! Complicated! Just the way I likes it! You don't like complicated? Ok, fine. When you hear the music, just do yourself a favour and don't look too much into it. Just have fun. Note: We're Marching On, Junior Boys, Young Rival (formerly Ride Theory) & The Born Ruffians are playing a non-NxNE set, but limited wristbands/passes will be accepted. (8pm, at The Mod Club).

Saturday - Fox Jaws hail from Barrie, Ontario. They're a foot-stompin', long-road drivin', heart-throbbin' band who've improved over the months since I first saw them in yonder Montreal. Formerly known as Doris Day, the band have completed their debut record and are ready to share it amongst the masses. Expect a dose of alt-country with some strong rock. (11pm at The Dakota Tavern).

Jonathan Rothman:
Thursday - Be at the Horseshoe Tavern for The Old Soul (1am). Singalongs, song title puns and a knack for epic builds mark the songs on the group's strong 2005 debut, on which songwriter and lead Soulster Luca Maoloni balances sadness, silliness and Mexican dancing. What better band to follow the midnight set at the 'Shoe by a reinvigorated Buffalo Tom?

Friday - KC Roberts at the Revival (midnight). Funk fusion with live horns, touches of blues and hip-hop on one side and Jamiroquai on the other adds up to a dynamite live show for those who like to boogie. Throw in frequent show partners God Made Me Funky (1am), who play similar grooves and just released a new disc, and your shake-shake journey awaits.

Saturday - The Pop Montreal showcase at the Drake Hotel promises to be one dirty night, what with booty-hop galore from the likes of Diplo-collaboratin' duo Bonjay (10pm) on live vocals and fresh electro mixes on the Brazilified tip, plus sizzlin' Toronto/Montreal duo Thunderheist (11pm), Tampa Florida's own MC crew Yo Majesty (midnight) and Montrealer revelers Lesbians on Ecstasy (1am). I'm almost frightened, you know, in a good way.

Kevin Au:
Thursday - MySpace Canada Showcase brings a great spread of music to The Boat on Thursday, with Toronto's very own MC Abdominal (midnight), Vancouver's enigmatic Mother Mother (9pm), crazed boogie rockers Pride Tiger (11pm), Montreal's Les Breastfeeders (10pm), and juno-nominated DJ Champion (1am).

Friday - Friday night at the 'CoZo' (that's Comfort Zone!), The Hot Springs (10pm) will be playing stuff from their new album (not yet released), while the Handsome Furs (midnight) will be melting hipster minds with the sheer power of Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner.

Saturday - the Sirius/CBC Radio 3 Showcase at the Horseshoe Tavern: A coast-to-coast marathon of Canadian indie goodness! Toronto's Ohbijou, You Say Party! We Say Die!, and Sebastien Grainger just to name a few.

Ryan Couldrey:
Friday - It's no secret that I'm a fan of These Electric Lives, but Creature caught my ear on a Myspace scan-through. Funkotronic. (At Rivoli, Creature at midnight, and TEL at 1am).

Saturday - Just be at the Drake Hotel on Saturday: A ton of thick beats and blips, capped off by Montreal's Lezzies on X at 1am.

Ryan LaFlamme:
Friday - Burlington band Sydney is one of the last bastions of mid-90's punk rock at warp speed. Infused with a more modern feel (think Fairweather's 'If They Move, Kill Them'), the boys hit the stage at the Kathedral as part of my favorite single show of the weekend: Arise and Ruin (8pm), Cauterize (9pm), Sydney (10pm), and more following.

Saturday - High octane rock! Kitchener trio Saigon Hookers draw on influences like The Supersuckers, Hellacopters, and Turbo Negro to hit you over the head with loud, sweaty guitar rock. They'll be on at the Bovine at 11pm. Sexy.

Also on Saturday - Closing out the weekend is Toronto's new darlings of blues rock, Oh! The Pretty Things. If you're not deaf, head on down to the Black Bull at 1am and share in the love Jeff, Sasha and Nevada have to share.

Photo montage source links: Camouflage Nights / Thunderheist / Creature

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