A Few Owls’ NXNE 2012 Concert Picks

As NXNE time is almost upon us in Toronto, music lovers across the city (and possibly country) are scrambling to see who’s playing where and when and what shows should I be going to see. A few writers here at Grayowl Point have decided to suggest some shows that are sure to be worth while at this year’s festival:

Elena Gritzan:

Purity Ring (Thursday June 14, 1am, Wrongbar)

Starting with the electronic experiments of ex-Gobble Gobble member Corin Roddick, the addition of vocalist Megan James and a substantial amount of hype by way of the internet has made Purity Ring’s debut album a hugely anticipated event.  It is easy to see why: the four songs released so far are expansive and inventive.  They have been filling my headphones for months with stellar future-pop (and my heart with anticipation for the July 24th release of their album), so a set from these wunderkinds is a personal must-see.

Most People (Friday June 15, 12am, Czehoski)

Exploding with percussive hooks, psychedelic guitar lines and sun-soaked vocals, Most People are an immense live experience.  They have been show-stealers the two times I have seen them perform already, so it’s a no-brainer to throw myself into their musical landscape again.

Sean Nicholas Savage (Saturday June 16, 9pm, The Garrison)

Confession time: I almost chose to pass by NXNE in favor of the Weird Canada produced Wyrd X Weird Canada (if you have a penchant for time management and public transportation use that I lack, I’d recommend attempting both, WXWC runs from the 14-16th at Double Double Land, Infinite Library and Polyhaus).  Mostly because I have an intense desire to see this Montreal weird pop wizard.  Now that a NXNE set has been announced for Savage, I can at least partially put my fear-of-missing-out to rest.

Kontravoid (Saturday June 16, 3am, Silver Dollar Room) 

Yes, this show is late at night.  It will come after a long day of music, but there really is no other way to see Kontravoid; he is practically impossible to follow.  Heavy electronic industrial dance parties are the best kind of concert experience.  Take a spin through his song “Native State” if you need convincing.  And since a lot of venues are not still running shows by the time the clock hits 3, you have no excuse to not see this.

Michael Thomas:

Honheehonhee (Thursday June 14, 1 am, Sneaky Dee’s)

I am going to unabashedly say that Honheehonhee are one of my favourite live acts in Canada right now. Though I’ve only seen them twice, both shows absolutely blew me away. Their set at Sneaky Dee’s is one of the numerous Thursday options I’m considering because it’s a pretty stacked schedule.

Raleigh (Friday June 15, 11 pm, Monarch Tavern)

I’ve been extremely intrigued about this band ever since I heard their album a while back. Their music is indescribably beautiful and if their live performance is anything comparable, then they’re probably worth a shot.

Boxer the Horse (Thursday June 14, 8 pm, El Mocambo – upstairs)

What more can I say about these guys? They went on a great tour with Said the Whale and delivered as a promising opening act. Their two albums to their name thus far are both top-of-the-line and so are their performances. Chances are you’ll see lead singer Jeremy Gaudet put his hands on his hips at least once during the performance. This is also an earlier show, so you’ll probably have time to see them.

Carnival Moon (Saturday June 16, 12 am, Czehoski)

Elaine Kelly-Canning is a harp player. But she is not nearly as divisive as Joanna Newsom. Her melodies are complex and hypnotic, and though I haven’t seen her perform after the release of her EP, I know her performance will be spellbinding.

Writers’ Strike (Saturday June 16, 8 pm, The Painted Lady)

Having served as a backup band for Rich Aucoin, this band is now fully their own thing, and they write arguably some of the catchiest pop songs I’ve heard in quite some time. Their EP even made it onto my best of 2011 EP list without even a bit of internal debate. Prepare to be singing “Stay Down” for the rest of the night after you see them.

Laura Stanley: 

You’ve Changed Records Showcase (Thursday, June 14, 9pm-1am, The Great Hall – lower theatre)

You’ve Changed Records, run by Daniel Romano and Ian Kehoe of Attack in Black and Steve Lambke of the Constantines, is quickly becoming a force thanks to its stellar artist lineup. Their showcase is set to feature Baby Eagle, The Weather Station, Marine Dreams, Daniel Romano, and Julie Doiron! A crazy lineup of superb Canadian musicians? Indeed.

Nick Everett & Everybody (Thursday, June 14, 9pm, Monarch Tavern)  

Yes, the You’ve Changed Records Showcase is also happening Thursday night so go find yourself a time machine or somehow split yourself in two. That’s what I’ll be doing. 

Nick Everett has quickly become one of my favourite Canadian musicians, earning a spot on my list of Favourite Eps from 2011. Andrew Bird-like folky and wonderfully refreshing, the Halifax based musician, and his full band, are bringing their sounds to the Monarch Tavern. If you have never heard of him before, his music is definitely worth checking out.

Live In Bellwoods – NXNE Picnic 2012 (June 14-17, Trinity Bellwoods Park)

For the past two years, the good people of Humble Empire/Live In Bellwoods have put on a series of acoustic shows in beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park over the course of NXNE. With the schedule just released, this year, once again, looks like an awesome lineup featuring blog favourites: Inlet Sound, Donovan Woods, Julie Doiron, and Julie Fader.


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