Similar to how the Oscars end the awards season with a bang, the coming of North By Northeast signals the end of festival/conference season for another year. Running from June 7th to the 10th, with over 450 bands playing NXNE shows between Thursday and Saturday, not to mention the NXNE film festival, we’re already starting to sleep in a little longer so we can bring you as much of the festival as we can. To help you wade through the enormous list of bands and prepare for the long weekend ahead, we’re you giving our picks for the bands and shows that will, hopefully, highlight this year’s edition of NXNE (not to mention some of the extras, like BBQs and soccer matches, happening through the weekend).
Wristbands, on sale at various locations throughout the city, are $28 and will get you into the shows. Most shows have a limited number of tickets on sale at the door, with varying prices, but not all.
See Thursday’s preview after the jump.
Recommendations for Thursday, June 7
*Schedule may change without notice. For up-to-date info, check out out the NXNE schedule.
Big Baby Ernie
When Ernie Deluise was a child, he stole his little sister’s keyboard and hid it in his room so that he could secretly play it when no one was around. Now, as Big Baby Ernie, he’s played all over the world with bands such as reggae greats The Wailers and Blues guru Johnny Winter. His funk/soul/jazz/rock and roll mix is not to be missed.–AMANDA BUCKIEWICZ
10 p.m. @ the Black Bull (298 Queen St. W.) w/ Pat The White Band, The Ego Trips, The Kiss And Tells.
We saw Les Breastfeeders (pictured above) at CMW, and we can’t get enough. These Francophone rock and rollers dominate the stage and produce such an amazing show you don’t care that you can’t understand half of it. Of course, who can’t forget the fantastic tambourine player Johnny Maldoror, who roams the stage beating his tambourine off of anything he can find.–AMANDA BUCKIEWICZ
10 p.m. @ The Boat (158 Augusta Ave.) w/ Mother Mother, Pride Tiger, Abdominal, Champion.
Chances are that you’ve probably heard of Kathleen Edwards by now, so this recommendation might not tell you anything you don’t already know. Regardless, it’s impossible not to give a plug to Ottawa’s country-roots darling who always delivers stunning performances. While it would be nice to hear standouts “Back To Me” and “Six O’Clock News,” we’re hoping to get the chance to listen to a bunch of new tracks from her upcoming third-album, currently in progress.–MIKE WARNER
10 p.m. @ Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W.) w/ Oh Susanna, Jim Bryson, Justin Rutledge, Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland, a Special Guest and Blue Rodeo playing a special set at 3 a.m. Wristbands and badges only.
The Ghost Is Dancing
The Ghost Is Dancing is a fitting band name, because even dead people find themselves dancing to these guys. They’ve got trumpets, they’ve got shouting, they’ve got sing-alongs, and a good time had by all.–AMANDA BUCKIEWICZ
11 p.m. @ Sneaky Dees (431 College St.) w/ Rebekah Higgs, Camouflage Nights, A Northern Chorus, Wooden Stars.
The Old Soul
The Old Soul take weird and fantastic ramblings and set them to a mix of horns, drums, saxaphones, and accordions to create a sound that’s part Mexican hat dance, part calypso, all party.–AMANDA BUCKIEWICZ
1 a.m. @ the Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W.) w/ Cage The Elephant, Seawolf, Buffalo Tom, Low Level Flight.
Pappy Johns Band
After playing together for more than 25 years, the guys in Pappy Johns Band have seen it all. This award-winning group has opened for Jeff Healey and was the second ever Canadian blues band to play at the Chicago Blues Festival. As members of the Six Nations Reservation, you can expect soulful blues that’s inspired by their roots.–AMANDA BUCKIEWICZ
1 a.m. @ the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen St. W.) w/ Nudie And The Turks, Lou Rose, Annie Keating, Sean Patrick McGraw.
Yes, the name Alex Brown Church performs under contains one of the most overused words in current band names, but give him a chance. Touring the Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low EP, Seawolf will bring a fine collection of breezy, orchestrated indie pop songs that should move them past being known as another band with a lupine attraction. We promise it’s the last time we’ll ever mention it.–MIKE WARNER
11 p.m. @ The Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W.) w/ Mark Wilson & The Last Dinosaur, Future Clouds and Radar, Cage The Elephant, Buffalo Tom, The Old Soul, Low Level Flight.
For some reason, Uncut’s 2006 release Modern Currencies never managed to develop a strong buzz. If they were from the States, the group’s mix of soaring, fuzzy guitars and pummeling rhythm section would have probably made them stars draped in Interpol comparisons. They have a sense of urgency around them that makes every show dynamic. This weekend pits them up against a couple of pros in Soundtrack Of Our Lives and Dinosaur Jr., a chance for Uncut to prove that they deserve to be mentioned in the same sentences as the big boys. Bring earplugs.–MIKE WARNER
9 p.m. @ Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse (56 Blue Jay’s Way) w/ a Special Guest, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.
With all the supergroups that have sprouted up through the country in recent years, it’s about time that Calgary got in on the action. With some of the most ornate folk-pop this side of Sufjan Stevens (not to mention long song titles like “Thoughts On The One Who Got Away By The One He Left Behind”), woodpigeon may be the city’s best bet. They’re also recommended for fans of Jens Lekman, who will probably take to the whimsical “Death By Ninja.”–MIKE WARNER
11 p.m. @ The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. W.) w/ Hunter Valentine, Five Blank Pages, The Mark Inside, Uberko.
Have any recommendations for us? If so, let us know in the comments. Stay tuned tomorrow (Wednesday) for the next round of previews.
All photos by Carrie Musgrave.