NXNE 2012: June 13 Best Bets
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NXNE 2012: June 13 Best Bets

In the immortal words of C&C Music Factory, let's get this party started right.

Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 11 to 17, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.

A crowd at Yonge-Dundas Square awaiting Iggy Pop at NXNE 2010. Photo by Nancy Paiva/Torontoist.

Welcome to the first edition of Torontoist‘s daily picks for NXNE 2012. Our team of intrepid writers has put together a by-no-means-complete (and totally subjective) list of the evening’s best acts to help you make the most of day one of the music festival.

Army Girls
Supermarket (268 Augusta Avenue)
9 p.m.

Carmen Elle and Andy Smith, together as Army Girls, provided us with a smooth but powerful shot of power-punk to get our day started back in April on Record Store Day. Every time we’ve seen the two perform, since our first time in a living room at a now-defunct (and sorely missed) musician-house-party hot spot, they’ve grown exponentially in panache and confidence, which is probably why the duo is hotly tipped in many publications for this year’s NXNE.

Go if: You enjoy drums and guitar with a powerhouse lead vocalist.

(Steve Fisher)

Sexy Mathematics
The Detour Bar (193.5 Baldwin Street)
10 p.m.

Mathematics is sexy. But you already knew that, right? As for music, well, that’s sexy too. Led by vocalist Chris Daviduik, this up-and-coming electro/indie group blends synths and guitar harmonies together to form a sound that’ll have you rocking out of your socks. Their debut album, Future Nights, which is streaming in full on their website, should give you a strong indication of the type of party you’re in for.

Go if: You want to start your NXNE dancing.

(Kyle Bachan)

Denzil Porter
The Rivoli (334 Queen Street West)
12:20 a.m.

Bronx-based Denzil Porter has been every rap blogger’s favourite underappreciated MC ever since his song “Kanye West”—about the joys of being an asshole—went viral late last year. Given Porter’s classic East Coast flow, his distinctive tenor voice, and his penchant for rhyming over melodic beats that verge on pretty, he probably won’t be underappreciated for much longer. Catch him now so you can say you saw him when.

Go if: You also occasionally enjoy being an asshole.

(Chris Dart)

El Mocambo (upstairs) (464 Spadina Avenue)
1 a.m.

UPDATE 5:19 PM: Nixon’s manager has just informed us that the band will not, as previously scheduled, be playing the El Mo at 1 a.m. Instead they will be playing a party at 586 Richmond Street at 7 p.m., along with Dinosaur Bones.

A lot has happened since the band formerly known as Tiny Danza won Indie Week in October of last year. Aside from the name change, the hip-hop infused rock group has signed a record deal, played SXSW, and taken their talents overseas. MC Galen Hogg and R&B singer Andrew Cameron complement each other magnificently, and they’re backed by a legitimately tight group of musicians. If the group’s notorious reputation holds true, expect a high-energy performance with some even harder partying to follow.

Go if: You don’t have to work Thursday. You want to feel like you are in the know on one of NXNE’s off-the-radar shows.

(Kevin Scott)

MJ Cyr
Czehoski (678 Queen Street West)
1 a.m.

MJ Cyr. Photo by Victoria Kucher.

When we profiled MJ Cyr for last year’s NXNE, she was in the middle of recording an album inspired by Bahá’í devotional prayers, using them as the lyrics. She’s since finished that album, called Canopy, and has just returned to Toronto from yet another East Coast tour. She’ll be primed for her first set back.

Go if: You enjoy cleverly looped guitar and snyth-pop sounds, like Imogen Heap. Or early Florence + The Machine.

(Steve Fisher)

Topless Gay Love Tekno Party
The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom (1214 Queen Street West)
1:05 a.m.

Let me be very frank here. Even if I knew nothing about Topless Gay Love Tekno Party, I would recommend you see them based solely on their name and the fact they are playing at 1:05 in the morning. That the Vancouver-based band makes super catchy dance-rock, has referred to themselves as “visual performance art,” and does a really weird Arcade Fire cover is just a bonus.

Go if: You’re hoping your night takes a turn for the weird.

(Chris Dart)

For those of you who don’t feel like running around all night, we’ve taken the liberty of selecting the evening’s best single-venue line up.


Best Line-Up
The Painted Lady (218 Ossington Avenue)

The Painted Lady boasts an intriguing mish-mash of guys and gals. From Avery Island (9 p.m.) to the ladies of Sidney York (11 p.m.), the line-up places some talented females front and centre. The trend continues with Australian rockers The Aves (9 p.m.) and the powerful vocals of Juliana Ronderos in Il Abanico (midnight). And let’s not forget about the men of Boston’s Animal Talk (10 p.m.) and their brand of body-moving electro-pop. Also, Toronto’s own purveyors of lush psychedelia, HiFi Phantom (2 a.m.).

Go if: You want a diverse range of acts in one spot.

(Kevin Scott)