Top 10 Hits & Misses of my NXNE

North By NorthEast Festival wrapped up earlier this week.
My friends and I tried to get to a lot of the events but as with any multi-venue festival it’s nearly impossible to see it all.
From the parties, bands and sessions we made it to, here’s my hits and misses.

Hit: Nineties nostalgia with Evan Dando & Julianna Hatfield at Lee’s Palace
Miss: Asian Pseudo-Elvis Impression from Dirty Beaches, it just seemed pretentious, indulgent nonsense.
Hit: Interactive; we didn’t make it to that many but I was impressed by the scope and content of the sessions
Miss: XM Satellite Party at Skybar – why did so many people call this a BBQ when there was no food? Not that we needed food but having just one type of drink; beer at $4.50/can, was a bit of a miss too!
Hit: XM Satellite Party at Skybar – although the party portion was a miss the music was a hit; featuring Hollerado, Zeus, Dinosaur Bones, and Washington!
Miss: Deerhoof; Special Guests at Horseshoe Tavern, even though this was a surprise performance, which are usually highly anticipated, very few people hung around. Watching Deerhoof is like seeing two bands competing, a lead singer performing energetic Japa-Pop and the rest of the band putting on a punk-pop show.
Hit: The Pack A.D. ; Chick-rock at it’s best, in the year since seeing them at NXNE ’10 they’ve honed their stage presence and performance into a winning combination of personality and great music.
Miss: Taxis & Traffic; not really directly related to NXNE but atrocious traffic and expensive taxis heavily influence the overall experience.
Hit: Cults; not knowing anything about this band resulted in a very pleasant surprise.
Hit: Wildlife; an unexpecte, unplanned stop at Horseshoe Tavern resulted in hearing this great local band.
Hit: Yonge-Dundas Square: A great FREE line-up of bands each night bring this public space to life and introduces NXNE to a huge audience.

As you can see there was more hits than misses, I could go on with more too. If you get a chance to participate in NXNE in the future, you should check it out.

Rifflandia Festival launches 2011 line-up

Rifflandia 2011 made its First Wave Line Up Announcement this week!
The Line Up to-date includes City and Colour, Broken Social Scene, De La Soul, Blackalicious, Ra Ra Riot, The Cave Singers, USS, Awolnation and many more!  These acts will be performing on The Rifflandia Park Stages. This recently announced new outdoor venue at Royal Athletic Park, allows the festival to reach a larger (all-ages) audience.
Acts performing at the traditional Rifflandia Night Stages all over town include: ARAABMuzik, The Besnard Lakes, Braids, Giant Sand, J Mascis, LA Riots, The Pack AD, Tokimonsta, Bonjay, Karkwa, Library Voices, Malajube, Pepper Rabbit, Suuns. The Victoria BC festival plans on announcing more amazing acts in the coming weeks!

The fourth annual Rifflandia Festival will take place September 22 – 25, 2011, in Victoria BC

Call For Audition! CBC Cover Me Canada

Are you an unsigned musician over 12years old?
CBC has issued a call for online performance auditions for a new music series, COVER ME CANADA, airing this fall on CBC-TV.
Unsigned musicians and groups are asked to submit video performances, by July 8, 2011, of their cover versions of one of the following Canadian classics: Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot), Run To You (Bryan Adams), Life is a Highway (Tom Cochrane) and Black Velvet (Alannah Myles) to

From the audition pool, the most talented unsigned musicians and groups will be selected to compete as finalists on COVER ME CANADA. The finalists will compete live on television, to win the hearts of the nation and the opportunity of a lifetime: a $100,000 cash prize and a recording contract for their first original single to be released by Universal Music Canada.

Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president, English Services, CBC says, “COVER ME CANADA is the opportunity of a lifetime for aspiring Canadian artists. We look forward to showcasing the brightest musical talent Canada has to offer.”

The host and judges for COVER ME CANADA will be announced in the coming weeks. Artists, producers and the biggest names in Canadian music will be part of the excitement, with competitors getting to perform some of the greatest songs in the Canadian songbook. COVER ME CANADA is produced by Temple Street Productions based on a format co-created by 11 Entertainment and CBC.

What On Weekend – June 23 – 25, 2011

Summer’s officially here…let’s get the party started!

Thursday, June 23rd
90Six Dance Party featuring DJ Lady Miss Kier (from Deee-Lite), since I’m here in Toronto this looks like it’ll be on the agenda.
– back home in Vancouver there’s a great benefit event; heroes with heART: Katarina Thorsen’s Interactive Portrait Event!

Friday, June 24th
– In Vancouver you’ve got to check out Big Freedia, the Queen of Sissy Bounce at Post Modern
– R&B diva Rihanna is playing the first of two nights at Rogers Arena
– Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche plays the Biltmore Cabaret
– The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival kicks off 10 days of great events around town 
– Afterwork head to Canvas Lounge for another VICE Friday
– Celebrating it’s 25th Year the Toronto Jazz Festival kicks off with free concert by Aretha Franklin
Saturday, June 25th
– Rock trio Blonde Redhead play the Vogue Theatre
-It’s Queer Bash: Abba Hits vs Muppet Blitz at The Cobalt
– American Celtic Punk Band (how’s that for a description?!) Dropkick Murphys are at Commodore Ballroom
– At Five-Sixty, honour the 42nd anniversary of the riots with Stonewall Celebration!!!

Nineties Nostalgia with Evan & Julianna – Lee’s Tavern

Evan Dando & Julianna Hatfield – Lee’s Palace – NXNE 2011

Evan Dando & Julianna Hatfield

Nineties grunge kids and slackers mingled with hipsters at Lee’s Palace in Toronto for Evan Dando and Julianna Hatfield’s first gig together for eight years.  The last visit saw Julianna backing up Evan’s set but this show was an equal-billing acoustic set.

Alternating between each other’s tunes, the show was remeniscent of ‘folk singers around a campfire’ than ‘rock icons at an classic club’.  As with most North by Northeast Festival shows, there was a lot of competition during each show but this was a critics and, from the busy room, it was a fan fave as well.

Julianna Hatfield & Evan Dando

The audience hung on every lyric and comment by the two artists, only breaking for rapturous applause during hits like “Into Your Arms” and “It’s About Time”.  Julianna also took the time to introduce some new tracks from her forthcoming fan-funded album.
The crowd was definitely not ready for the set to end but Julianna noted that they had to keep to the Festival schedule so had to leave us wanting more after a fast but satisfying 40 minutes. Hopefully, they don’t leave it another 8 years to work together!

BC Lions Host Rugby Sevens Half-Time Game

This week, on June 22nd, during the BC Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders game at Empire Field, the BC Lions is proudly showcasing the exciting sport of rugby sevens and supporting the Abbotsford International Sevens Event by hosting a half-time game between the Dog River Howlers and the Pacific Tyee -a select team of Canadian National Sevens Team Members. Phil Mack, Canada’s Sevens Player of the Year and National Team Captain, and the legendary Waisale Serevi, commonly referred to as the ‘King of Sevens’ will be joining in this historic game.

The Abbotsford International Sevens is a sport and entertainment festival complimented with exhibitions, live entertainment, renowned DJ’s, the Russell Club House, an ethnic food fair, a family fun zone and a week of after-parties.

The Abbotsford International Sevens will be taking place on July 23, 2011. For more information, visit , follow @Abbotsford7s on Twitter or join their growing fanbase on Facebook.

Top 5 Ways To Fill Your Day At NXNE Festival

Since I’m in Toronto for North by Northeast Interactive, Film & Music Festival I thought I’d share the experience, with a few fun ways to fill your day at the Fest.

1. Learning; some great topics are covered in the hundreds of Interactive sessions.
2. Relaxing; the rooftop pool at host hotel Hyatt Regency on King is a great way to recover from the night before’s late night.
3. Parties; music organizations, labels, production companies and major brands hold non-NXNE events and parties at great spaces & venues all over town
4. Music; the largest component of the Fest is the music – hundreds of shows across the city including free shows every night at Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s a great chance to discover that new buzz band or unsigned gem
5. Eating; wrap up a late night with some amazing (and cheap) pizza in Little Italy. The next morning start the day with some tasty crepes and fresh fruit at Cora’s near the Hyatt and you’re ready to start all over again!