Cults – NXNE 2011

Cults – Lee’s Palace – NXNE 2011

Sometimes an unknown buzz band lives up to, some fail and others exceed expectations. New York based indie-pop group Cults definitely fall into the latter category.
During NXNE we heard some friends commenting that Cults should be seen, so we thought we’d check them out at their Lee’s Palace set.
We were thoroughly impressed by what we saw and heard.
Lead singer Madeline Follin has an outstanding voice, able to belt out a number or softly lull the audience to hang on every note.  Backed by bandmate Brian Oblivion and a three piece touring band the whole package won over the audience during their all too brief 40 minute set. I look forward to seeing more from this group

Dum Dum Girls – NXNE 2011

Dum Dum Girls – Lee’s Palace – NXNE 2011

Cute girls, sexy outfits, great punk/pop tunes, add all of these ingredients together and you come up with the super fun, super talents act; Dum Dum Girls.
Dee Dee, Jules, Bambi and Sandy play in a style remeniscent of early Goo Goos and Bangles combined with hints of Veruca Salt and Hole.
Sandy especially puts on a tour de force banging her drum kick with a vengence for each track. 
Their set at Lee’s Palace during NXNE ’11 was the second time I’d seen the band and have noticed a growth in their stage presence since last summer.  At that time there was barely any audience recognition or any connection other than banging out tunes. While they still seem a bit like the girls in a Robert Palmer video, this time Dee Dee attempted to engage the audience a bit more with some chit chat…it still seems that she’s a bit nervous speaking and would rather be singing.  As long as she keeps singing and playing like this, I’m happy to let her stay down.

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!!!

Vibrant Colours at Kensington Market, Toronto

Brightly Coloured Vintage Clothing

Tucked away between Toronto’s Chinatown and Little Italy lies one of the oldest and most visited neighbourhoods.  Designated a National Historic Site in 2006,  Kensington Market is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood.  As immigrants have come and gone from the ‘hood, they’ve each left a mark by the variety of goods and services available.
Fruit and vegetable stands line

Fruits and Herbs line the street stalls

 up alongside European cheese shops tucked in between butchers and bakers.  A long time tailor and haberdashery shop is near a Middle Eastern take-away, a tattoo parlour and an Army Surplus store. The partially outdoor market is a rainbow of colours and scents as

Colours are everywhere

vintage garments hang out beside new pieces from local designers which are nearby to a lively Caribbean Cafe. 

New designs from The Fairies Pyjamas

Each trip to Kensington Market brings out a new tapestry of this vibrant neighbourhood, stop by and paint your own picture.

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!