The Ultimate NXNE Preview


Holy crap what the hell happened to NXNE?

A few years ago, it was raging, there were crazy sets on the Island, The National was playing Yonge and Dundas Square, Spiritualized was playing Massey, and amazing bands were playing all over the city. It was a vibrant festival that I really thought was going in the right direction. Yes! I thought, they are learning from SXSW!

A few years later, we are all struggling to make up what NXNE really is. This year saw major changes to the program. Gone are the all you can eat passes that made NXNE so appealing. Instead, we now have to deal with one time fees for each venue. Furthermore, there is a semi-festival playing at the Port lands, and the costs for them are even higher, but as NXNE loves to point out, it’s the lowest price of any Toronto festival. Coffee Time might have the cheapest coffee on my street, doesn’t mean it’s any good.

As a result, people are less excited about what I used to think was the premium music event in Toronto, and that is kind of sad.

Still, we at the Panic Manual are mostly optimists so here are some benefits for the new format

  • No more must see shows at Yonge-Dundas square: Personally, I hate going to YDS on the weekend. There’s too many crazy people and it’s too crowded. Luckily, I don’t have to go there now.
  • Portlands is out of my comfort zone: Sometimes it’s nice to do something you normally don’t do, it keeps life interesting. I normally don’t think about the Port lands, but now I have to consider it and maybe it’s a reasonable area and not a desolate, empty space that was cheap to rent. Maybe I’ll buy a condo there because I like it so much. You never know
  • Less thinking: With a smaller lineup, and the inability to jump from venue to venue without paying, it removes the need for complicated spreadsheets and configuring optimal nights. Choice paradox has been proven to be one of the new causes of mental distress among young people so now they won’t have that

Anyways, we are still sorta excited for NXNE because it still showcases some music. Here are some bands we are excited about.

Awa – The Israeli Haim sisters put on a fantastic, energetic show in Austin during SXSW and they are back again in Toronto. They have an unique sound and their harmonies and beats will have you dancing along in no time.

Nails – These Californian noisemakers have been getting a bit of buzz for their upcoming third album You Will Never Be One Of Us, which at 21 minutes is fairly short, yet still manages to clock in as their longest yet. So expect something hard hitting at their show at the Hard Luck – they don’t call it powerviolence for nothing.

TUNS – With members of Sloan, The Super Friendz and The Inbreds, these guys are basically the all star team of ’90s Halifax Pop Explosion power pop.

Big Ups – Brooklyn post-punk that brings to mind Slint and Fugazi.

Ghostface Wu Tang member always brings his A game, and also with BBNG in town, they might put on a collaboration show and blow it all up.

Shamir: Dance the night away with Shamir as he brings his A+ dance game to town after a wildly successful sold out show at the Mod Club earlier this year or sometime last year.

Father John Misty – This guy comes to Toronto so much I get the feeling he has an illegitimate kid here or something. Either way, he does his thing and you will probably swoon to it. Even if you don’t, this show will be packed.

Partner – A band full of fun lyrics and clever stage banter, I saw them at CMW and came away impressed.

What are you excited for?

Posted on by Ricky in Everything

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.