NXNE 2012: How to Go Solo
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.


NXNE 2012: How to Go Solo

Explore the foundations of music with NXNE's solo artists.

NXNE is an embarrassment of musical riches, but it can be hard to find the best acts. Even so, don’t panic. We have put together a comprehensive guide to the festival.

Photo by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregdavidphotos/6289981667/in/pool-torontoist"}Greg David{/a} from the {a href="http://www.flickr.com/groups/torontoist/"}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

Let’s say you need a break from getting bruised in the mosh pits. Consider checking out some of the “quieter” musical acts at NXNE. Sure, you may have already heard of Feist or Owen Pallett, but there are hoards of underrated solo artists who travel around playing many more gigs than bands who sell gajillions of records. Here are some solo suggestions, for your NXNE enjoyment.

What to Bring: Since the atmosphere will be intimate, consider leaving the smartphones behind (or at least switching them off). You can get away with checking Twitter at a rock concert, but in a room with a couple dozen people? Everyone can see what you’re doing, including the musician, who’s just several feet away from you. In terms of wear, something casual that you can sway in will do just fine. Society might tell you that solo shows are slightly more highbrow than the other NXNE events, but really, no one’s expecting you to sport the hipster scarf or sunglasses.

Where to Go: The big question. Of course, you’ve got some of the festival’s headliners, Matthew Good at Yonge-Dundas Square (June 15, 9:30 p.m.) or John Maus (Lee’s Palace, June 15, 1 a.m.), the avante-garde musician who has contributed to bands like Animal Collective and Ariel Pink. If you’re searching for acts by venue, C’est What is a nice place to start. It will host acts ranging from R&B singer 2Z to Manitoba singer/songwriter JP Hoe (June 15, 1 a.m. and June 16, 9 p.m. respectively). The Annex Live and Cameron House are also some great intimate venues worth checking out. At both of them, you can catch indie darling Ingrid Gatin (June 15, 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. respectively). But the key to really enjoying a solo show is discovering it for yourself. Go out of your comfort zone, find a pub or café in some alley you’ve never been to, and let your ears do the rest.

Do’s and Don’ts: Do try to see a show in a venue you’ve never been to before. Getting acquainted with brand-new acoustics is a great way to be introduced to a new artist. Do try and end the night with a solo act. If you’ve rocked a little too hard, there’s nothing like a little calming music. Don’t try to create a mosh pit in front of one man or woman playing a guitar. We’ve all seen it happen. Just, for everyone else’s sake, please don’t.

See also: