While we had a great time yesterday—we were at Baltic Ave., the Horseshoe, and Tattoo for NXNE Music’s inaugural night—there’s a palpable sense that the fest kicks off in earnest today. Yes, with Vice Island, the festival has its first big-name, showy event. Sure, starting with Danny Brown, Yonge-Dundas Square gets its first free NXNE event. But as always, the best action is happening in the clubs—and whether you’re ready to throw a few back or are nursing a hangover (we feel you), here are our strategic picks for tonight.
By: Tyler Munro (TM) and Mark Teo (MT).
The gimmick of the night
Pizza Underground. Macaulay Culkin’s goofy ass pizza themed Velvet Underground cover band plays the first of their four shows earlier in the MiO Squirtcar—gross—but if you’re going to buy into the joke, you might as well commit. In that case, go catch them at Lee’s Palace at 11. You’re not missing much else, and if their reputation holds true, you’ll probably split midway into their rumoured 20-minute set anyways. (11 P.M. at Lee’s Palace)(TM)
Who to see if you want to get a drink on
Sam Coffey and Iron Lungs. Bloodshot Bill might seem like today’s logical boozing act, but he’s on the aforementioned Squirtcar—and like, what are you going to do, sneak a vodka on the streetcar in a water bottle? Not even. Here’s a better option: Go see Toronto garage-punk supergroup Sam Coffey and Iron Lungs, whose raucous, anthemic songs have burrowed their way into the city’s hearts. (3 A.M. at Smiling Buddha)(MT)
Who too see if you have a hangover
White Poppy. Remember when we said that some of Canada’s best bands are recording in Gabriola Island, B.C.? Case in point: Vancouver’s Crystal Dorval, a.k.a. White Poppy. Yes, she’s sharing a bill with drone behemoth Tim Hecker—who you most definitely do not want to see if you’re about to vom—but White Poppy’s blend of haze-filled drone and gazer tendencies should nurse you into a blissful state. Well, as blissful as you can get while still tasting last night’s rye. Get started with her experimental and therapeutic pop—a label Dorval uses herself—below. (11 P.M. at Great Hall)(MT)
Best Canadian band you might not have heard of
Viet Cong. Women were one of Canada’s most influential post-punk bands—and their influence can still be heard from Victoria to Halifax—and the Calgary band’s rhythm section, made up of Matt Flegel and Michael Wallace, continue on in Viet Cong. The band had plenty talking the last time they played Toronto at the Izakaya Sushi House, and it’s no surprise—their blend of fuzzed-out garage, spacey synths, and spindly post-punk guitars makes them immediately loveable. (12 A.M. at Smiling Buddha)(MT)
The show you won’t get into, but you should try nonetheless
House of Vans at Vice Island. Because if you’re just reading this now, you’ve literally missed the boat. Even well intentioned folks who took their own way to the island are likely shit out of luck: Festival organizers reiterated earlier that you need a show-specific wristband to get in. With exclusive Pusha-T and Mean Jeans sets the line-up is cool as hell, but if you ask us it seems like a hell of a lot of work just to see the dude from Future Islands do his Courtney Cox dance. (All Day on the Toronto Island)(TM)
One non-musical NXNE thing you should do today
Broken Pencil’s Sex & Death. Broken Pencil has supported Canadian zine culture forever, and their Sex & Death bonanza showcases what they’re all about: Erotic friend fiction. Readings from Gemma Files. And a deconstruction of Showgirls. Yes, the Showgirls with Jessie Spano. (7:30 P.M. at Great Hall)(MT)
Who to see for free
Danny Brown, duh. (7:40 P.M. at Yonge Dundas Square)