On any given Sunday, at least since we were all babies and The Simpsons started sucking, the best place in the city to squeeze the last few minutes out of your weekend is at Sneaky Dee’s. While the Dakota Tavern has been getting more attention (and line-ups) lately for its weekly Barn Dance, Dee’s is home to the most delicious veggie nachos ever in the whole world, but, more importantly, the indie-cool mecca Wavelength Music Series. The tried-and-true weekly party turns nine this week and is celebrating in its usual style with an anniversary festival, this year spanning four nights (Thursday–Sunday), five venues, and hosting nineteen bands. As newer weekly showcases such as Two Way Monologues start to build their legacy with local music fans, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say the task might be daunting: the taste-making Wavelength series counts among its success stories a pre-Polaris Final Fantasy and pre-kings of everything Broken Social Scene (who, as Wavelength co-founder Jonny Dovercourt told us on a past anniversary, played their first show at the series in 2000 at original venue Ted’s Wrecking Yard. Holy cred!).
Not quite as ambitious as last year’s week-long celebrations, Wavelength 450’s line-up is nonetheless a trademark combo of well- and lesser-known artists: some of them with an already-established fan base, others still just under the radar. For the former, Torontoist recommends the always-entertaining Foxfire (closing the festival on Sunday at home base Dee’s) and for the perfect Indie Rock Valentine’s Day date, super-buzzed country darlings $100 (Saturday, Polish Combatant’s Hall, 206 Beverley Street). For the latter, try the deceivingly viciously named Hooded Fang (also Saturday) or would-be winners for cutest band name at the festival, Halifax twin sister folkies Ghost Bees (Thursday, The Music Gallery; and while you’re there, stay for Timber Timbre‘s CD release show). For a full list and description of all bands, check out Wavelength’s handy schedule. All potentially awkward between-band time will be filled by host Doc Pickles and various DJs. (Still maybe awkward.)
If you’ve started making a list but are wondering how the heck you’re supposed to see so much great music at so many great venues when you’re supposed to be hoarding your recession-shocked coins because, well, the news says so, admission each night is an optional $10; optional because Wavelength always awesomely institutes a pay-what-you-can policy, and their birthday party is no exception. And hey, kids, Monday is a holiday next week! So stay out late, celebrate, and try to save some money for post-show nachos.