This past week I got the greatest opportunity to stay in Toronto and represent Radio Laurier by covering the NXNE festival that was happening between June 10-June 16. So many things were going on: music, films, comedy, just plain awesomeness all around! It was so nice being in the city and immersed around such amazing talent. I got to see many many bands perform and it was great. The atmosphere inside the venues was intimate and everyone seemed to be having a ragin’ time. Incase you missed my show this past week, here is a visual of everything that happened!
Here is a RECAP of all the festival highlights and the shows I attended and some bands to watch out for in the near future.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 12:
This night, I spent most of my night at the arts and crafts pop up. It was a cute little art venue that had a huge window facing Queen St where you could see other people walking by on the other side and bands would play infront of the window. KASHKA played at 7PM and her set was filled with an electro pop sound. Got in some good groovin’ during this time. Elsa played at 8PM. I really enjoyed the vibe of their music. They are a Toronto four-piece band with a mellow melodic sound mixed with good acoustic. I would describe them similar to Wild Nothing. At 10PM, Jane’s Party (click on the link! I promise you won’t be disappointed) played and these guys were unreal. I LOVED their sound and they put on a great performance. Consisting of four handsome dudes, Jane’s Party reminds me of something you would listen to while on a desert road trip as you pop your body out a sun roof and flay your hands in the air. There is also a very catchy beat to each of their songs that makes your head continuously want to bob. There was tons of sweat and button downs. I think they were my favorite performance that night, but honestly, there were so many bands to choose from that I could have also seen, but I was way too overwhelmed looking at the schedule I did not know where I should go.
THURSDAY JUNE 13:
Thursday was an epic day. I got to talk to two bands by the end of the night and got some interviews for you guys! For this night, I mainly stayed at the Drake Underground. The bar was busy and there were tons of CD sampling going on. I made it to the Drake on time to catch the ending of Camera, a band from Wrexham, UK with a soft indie rock sound. They’re described on NXNE as having a sophisticated sound that is hook heavy with ambient touches, recalling bands such as The Frames, Elbow and Doves. I met some new friends in between the setup of the next band, Loonchoir and the one girl convinced me to stay cause she went to highschool with these guys and told me they were really awesome. So I stayed and listened, and I really liked it! Afterwards I left and scurried on over to The Great Hall where Coeur De Pirate was playing. She was feeling a little under the weather because she had bronchitis and I tried catching Beatrice after her performance for an interview but she said she didn’t want one! Her performance was still great and she rocked it. I headed back over to the Drake afterwards and heard Dirty Radio, Kayo and Ain’t No Love play. They were all really stellar performances. I had the chance to speak to DJ from Dirty Radio and get a quick 2 minute interview, as well as Kayo! They were both really down to earth and nice people. Dirty Radio is a trio group from Vancouver, BC so it was nice getting their intake about being on the east coast. Kayo is an artist from St. Lucia with an reggae-y hip hop vibe. He was on tour with Classified for a bit and after my interview I discovered how he likes to eat his eggs – slightly raw, slightly cooked. Ain’t No Love was an unreal performance. They encouraged the audience to dance even harder and everyone was loving it. I would describe their music as electro hip-hop with a very edge vibe. There was honestly handful of other bands that I did not mention that played on this night as well who I can vouch are probably just as talented and amazing. Take a look at the NXNE website to see all the other artists and bands I missed.
FRIDAY JUNE 14:
Friday was a really good day. I woke up feeling great, had some scrambled eggs and was ready for another day of the festival. I was particularly excited for today because I had been anticipating seeing St. Lucia at Wrongbar since I missed them the previous week at Gov Ball. Young and Dundas square was a good spot to be at around the evening, there was tons of people gathered around. CTZNSHP played at 6:30 followed by Hayden and The National. I got to catch Weaves play at 10PM at BLKBOX and then I headed on over to Wrongbar where I got to watch Moon King, St. Lucia, Bear Mountain and Natural Animal – Live. Unfortunately my voice recorder ran out of batteries so I could not get an interview with St. Lucia, but I got to hang out with them that night at the bar and chat! They are such a lovely group of people who just enjoy being on tour and playing for fans. Stay tuned and watch out for this band because they will be releasing their album in the very near future ;). I also found out that this band has opened for a number of acts, such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Ellie Goulding, Two Door Cinema Club, and Marina and the Diamonds such as play apart of the Victoria Secret Show. They’ve performed at numerous music festivals and will be on tour in September (They’re back in Toronto Oct)! After St. Lucia played, Bear Mountain was on stage. These guys are from BC and their sound is really energetic and happy. I would check them out for a good dance party tune! As well as Natural Animal – Live, they played really good dance beats as well.
SATURDAY JUNE 15:
We Are the Scientists played at 3PM at Yonge and Dundas Square. Then I got to catch
Blinker the Star afterwards who are from Pembroke, ON. Their music was very indie rock. I stayed around Yonge and Dundas until the end of Billy Talent. It was really great finally seeing them as they were all I listened to back in my fabulous pre-teen years. After Billy Talent I headed over to the Danforth Music Hall where Wintersleep was to play at 11PM. I made it in time to catch half of Dinosaur Bones, a local band from Toronto who had a nice indie rock feel to them. I also wanted to give a shoutout to Michael Cassidy, a singer songwriter I met on my busride back from Gov Ball the previous week. Him and his manager were on the same bus as me and mentioned they came all the way from Scotland, UK to do a North America tour. They also told me they were doing a couple shows in Ottawa around NXNE as well. It was nice getting to know them! Wintersleep came on at 11PM and their performance was spectacular. I regret not seeing them play in Waterloo when they were at Starlight! I then ventured all the way to Sidedoor to see Chad Valley – a combination of great vocals and electro. Saturday was a really fun day as I got to see a lot of bands and artists that I liked. Most of the bands I watched I did not know before so it was really refreshing to hear such new and amazing talent.
SUNDAY JUNE 16:
Sunday was a really nice day, perfect weather for Father’s Day! I only got to see a bit of Mickey Avalon at Yonge and Dundas because I had to leave the festival early to celebrate Dad day with my faja. But nonetheless, his performance was really good as well!
By the end of the festival, I realized that I really love music and to have the opportunity to cover this festival was a wonderful and greatful experience (Thanks for sending me Radio Laurier!!). I felt like everything ran smoothly and there was never difficulty getting around to the venues or into them. I am looking forward again to next year!