NXNE 2013 Best Bets: Thursday
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NXNE 2013 Best Bets: Thursday

The festival's second day features a lineup loaded with electronic music.

Outdoor shows start at Yonge-Dundas today. Come join the sea of humanity. Photo by Loni Schick/Torontoist

Last night was a warmup. Tonight, the festival starts for real. Get your schedules ready.


When: Thursday, June 13, 10 p.m.
Where: The Hoxton (69 Bathurst Street)

Way back in 2005, Montreal producer and DJ Ghislain Poirier started a club night called Bounce Le Gros, where he spun club music from around the world, mashing together everything from soca to grime to Baltimore club. The night became a phenomenon before shutting down in 2007. Since then, Poirier has begun combining all those sounds into one intoxicating, ass-shaking, brilliant mess. He’s made a soca record, a dancehall record, and a rave-influenced album, and is generally thought of as a bit of a mad sound scientist. If you’ve never seen him before, you’re missing out.

Go if: You want to get really sweaty and possibly make out with a stranger.

(Chris Dart)


When: Thursday, June 13, 10 p.m.
Where: Sneaky Dee’s (431 College Street)

Local hero D-Sisive was supposed to retire from rap after the release of last year’s Jonestown 3, but so far he’s been terrible at quitting, which is a good thing for hip-hop heads. His blend of wordplay and storytelling is second to none, and his between-song stage banter is an attraction in and of itself.

Go if: You like your rap smart and insightful.

(Chris Dart)

Your Pretend Boyfriend

When: Thursday, June 13, 11 p.m.
Where: Johnny Jackson (587 College Street)

YPB’s bio describes him as “a one man audio/video wrecking machine.” We just think he makes weird, glitchy music that we can’t stop listening to.

Go if: You need something wrecked with audio.

(Chris Dart)

White Cowbell Oklahoma

When: Thursday, Jun 13, 12 a.m.
Where: Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West)

There are plenty of veteran bands reuniting and coming to town for this year’s NXNE, but there are also bands that haven’t gone “on hiatus”—aging bands that have been touring and entertaining continually. That describes White Cowbell Oklahoma, though it doesn’t begin to describe the group’s act. If you’ve never seen Cowbell’s faux-Southern, countrified live show, you’re in for a tassel-twirling, chainsaw-spinning good time.

Go if: You like your rock and roll loud, lewd, and lascivious.

(Steve Fisher)

Blue Hawaii

When: Thursday, June 13, 1 a.m.
Where: Comfort Zone (480 Spadina Avenue)

Simultaneously pretty and driving, Blue Hawaii is more or less everything you’d ever want in a synthpop band. The duo, which is fronted by Braids’ Raphaelle Standell-Preston, is able to get crowds eating from their hands with their mix of hypnotic loops and pop hooks.

Go if: You like things that sound like Grimes.

(Chris Dart)

Pretty Mouth

When: Thursday, June 13, 1 a.m.
Where: The Shop, Parts & Labour (1566 Queen St. W.)

Ah, nothing like a little powerviolence to keep things interesting on a Thursday evening. Toronto-based Pretty Mouth incorporates crust punk, noisy hardcore, and grind into its chaotic sound, all with the intention of making each performance as relentless and virulent as possible. While the music’s speed may be frantic, the delivery is entirely deliberate and evil.

Go if: The idea of having your face melted off sounds like a pleasant evening.

(Natalie Zina Walschots)

Abstract Random

When: Thursday, June 13, 1 a.m.
Where: May (876 Dundas Street West)

Profoundly weird self-described “electro dub hop” trio Abstract Random have been combining the politically outspoken with the straight-up absurd for a while now, and we dig it. Their live shows often involve people running around in giant papier mâché heads, and that’s enough for us.

Go if: You want things to get weird.

(Chris Dart)


When: Thursday, June 13, 2 a.m.
Where: BLK BOX (1087 Queen St. W.)

Kontravoid—a sleek, sinister, minimalist post-punk/industrial project from former Crystal Castles drummer Cam Findlay—offers a peculiarly sophisticated kind of horror. The urgent, throbbing structures of its songs are often contrasted against tight, minimal instrumentation. This is music that doesn’t just confront audiences, it also pursues stalking listeners like prey.

Go if: You like to be unsettled as well as entertained.

(Natalie Zina Walschots)