Bands to check out this weekend at NXNE 2012

The final two days of NXNE are upon us, but there's still a lot to see and do. Including, but not limited to, several free shows and events, a lot of buzz-worthy Toronto bands, and a bunch of bars open until 4am. And despite a somewhat thin schedule on NXNE's final day, there are still several acts worth checking out, especially for those who have managed to survive the festival's previous action-packed days. Here are my picks for some worthy shows.



Mozart's Sister (10 pm)
I've recommended Calia Thompson-Hannant's electro-pop project before, and I'll do so here again. Mozart's Sister finds the former Miracle Fortress singer taking on the electro-pop genre, and the resulting collection of songs are the perfect accompaniment to the quickly approaching summer. A taste of Thompson-Hannant's music can be found on her bandcamp page.


The Elwins (9pm)
The Elwins self-released their full-length album, And I Thank You, this past February. The band features immediate indie pop inspired by the likes of Rivers Cuomo and Paul McCartney. Oh, and did I mention that all the band members have some pretty rad moustaches? Yeah, what's not to like.

Revolver (10 pm)
Remember in the summer of 2009 how Phoenix dominated the airways? A second incursion of French indie might be impending as bands such as Telepopmusik and SoKo make inroads outside of their native France. One of those bands, Revolver, plays two sets on Saturday night mdash; first, the Gladstone, and then another at the Painted Lady at 1am. And while their music is reminiscent of the aforementioned Phoenix, the inclusion of a cello in the band's music makes for a nice touch.


Teenage Head (12am)
Teenage Head was formed in 1975 and still going strong despite the loss Frankie Venom. In the intervening years, Teenage Head has managed to become a Canadian punk rock legend. Check out the the group as they lead a showcase at the Great Hall that features other noteworthy bands such as The Mahones and Take Drugs.


Young Empires (12 am)
Young Empires seem to be everywhere these days, and it's all thanks to a near-constant touring schedule and an infectious debut effort in Wake All My Youth. The Toronto four-piece's approach to Rapture-style indie-dance is sure to convert newcomers to the band's sound.

Special Guest (10 pm)

In the past, No Age, Ty Segall, and Fucked Up have been some of the secret bands to grace NXNE's many stages. And while I don't have definitive knowledge of who will be this year's secret guest at the Horseshoe, I do know that the best way to find out is to follow NXNE on twitter, and check their stream every so often before the secret guest's 10 pm set.


DJ Jonathan Toubin (2 am)
This past year, DJ Jonathan Toubin suffered through a freak accident when a taxi driver ploughed into his ground-level hotel room. Almost half a year later, and Toubin is fortunate to be walking, let alone deejaying. Context aside, the popular New York DJ's sets are a somewhat different affair, as Toubin constructs his set using exclusively 45-inch funk and soul singles he's collected over his lifetime.


The Flaming Lips are the obvious draw here. However, those with a bit patience will be rewarded as Saturday's NXNE affair at Yonge Dundas Square is filled with excellent bands throughout the day — in particular, Of Montreal, Parlovr, and Hollerado are worth the early visit.

  • The Flaming Lips 9 pm
  • Portugal. The Man 8 pm
  • Of Montreal 7 pm
  • Oberhofer 6 pm
  • Hollerado 5 pm
  • Art Vs Science 4 pm
  • Ceremony 3 pm
  • Parlovr 2 pm
  • Brasstronaut 1 pm
  • The Burning Boys 12 pm



Alixander iii (12 am)
As one quarter of Azari & III, Alphonse Lanza is partly responsible for creating the success that was last year's Azari & III — in fact, the album seems to hit all the right chords with critics as it's been selected for the Polaris Prize Long List. Lanza is joined by Toronto dance music legend Douglas Carter and a host of other talented hometown DJs.


Nadja (11 pm)
This pick comes courtesy of a blogTO colleague. Nadja is a Toronto duo composed of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. Together, the two create a mix of doom and ambient rock, which is to say that the group's music is not the typical kind of sound you find at NXNE.


NXNE's final marquee event is an all hip-hop affair with two members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a southern rap legend, a gourmet-chef-turned-rapper, and several up and coming hometown MCs all in attendance.

  • Raekwon and Ghostface Killah 9 pm
  • Killer Mike 8 pm
  • Action Bronson 7 pm
  • Tre Mission 6 pm
  • Tasha the Amazon 5 pm
  • Austin Renfroe 4 pm

Photo of the Elwins by Ming Wu.

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