NORTH BY NORTHEAST IS COMING! Our list of can't-miss must-sees (some free, even sans wristband) from the best weekend of the year.

June 16th-19th
Live in Bellwoods, the NXNE Picnic Series
Every day, from 2-5 pm, a BYOPicnic will take place in Trinity Bellwoods, to the sounds of bands playing spontaneous, re-imagined acoustic sets. Full listings here, but the line up includes Bellewoods, The Balconies, Forest City Lovers, and more! Feel free to bring along an instrument.

WEDNESDAY

6:30 pm Go Folk Yourself @ The Bellevue, 61 Bellevue Ave.
A line up of great folk music: Emma Hill, Revelstoke, Charlotte Cornfield, and Brett Caswell. And the whole thing is free, just tweet #ABDOESNXNE and the hashtag page will act as the guestlist! Plus, we love love love the Bellevue, where they put red wine in the caesars.

10 pm The Sour Notes @ Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W.
From SXSW to NXNE, this Austin based band creates sweet melodies, taking notes and inspiration from films.

THURSDAY

8pm Fucked Up @ Yonge Dundas Square
Toronto punk/hardcore band, the name really says it all. Plus, it will be awesome observing unsuspecting tourists’ reactions to the live performance.

8 pm Evening Hymns @ The Music Gallery, 197 John St.
Sombre folk, seven people strong.

8 pm Little Girls @ The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W.
Lo-fi pop that will get you moving.

9 pm Brian Borcherdt @ 918 Bathurst
A member of Holy Fuck, Brian Borcherdt’s other side is as a beautiful and haunting singer/songwriter

11 pm PS I Love You @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W.
Experimental Kingston power pop

12 am Crocodiles @ Silver Dollar Room, 486 Spadina Ave.
Crocodiles were always our favourite reptile and now it’s the moniker for the San Diego based band that garners comparison to one of their biggest influences, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Thursday marks the first night of their three night stint at the Silver Dollar Room.

FRIDAY
7:30 pm Diamond Rings @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Local band Diamond Rings are responsible for one of our favourite albums of the year. Dance tracks with a deep emotional well. ALSO PLAYING WRONGBAR AT MIDNIGHT ON SATURDAY, so go to that, too.

8 pm Sandman Viper Command @ Sneaky Dee’s, 486 Spadina Ave.
We love the talented gentlemen from SVC, and we think you will too.

8 pm Armen at the Bazaar @ The Velvet Underground, 510 Queen St. W.
Sample heavy and surreal, Armen at the Bazaar’s brand of songwriting defies expectation.

9 pm The Darcys @ The Horseshoe, 370 Queen St. W.
One of Toronto’s best live performances, The Darcys released their second album in 2011, produced by Dears’ frontman Murray Lightburn.

9:30 pm Stars @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Arts + Crafts vets whose nostalgic pop sounds perfect outside

10 pm Gramercy Riffs @ Sneaky Dee’s, 486 Spadina Ave.
This Newfoundland quintet deliver haunting indie rock

11 pm BRAIDS @ The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W.
Montreal based BRAIDS have made it into the top list for every major music publication including NME and Spin as one of the best new bands of 2011. Female vocals floating on electronic vibes.

11 pm Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W.
Dum Dum Girls take the best of garage and pop and mash it together in a kick ass girl band

11 pm Julianna Barwick @ Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St. W.
The surreal Brooklyn artist creates haunting loops of vocal and instrumental sound

SATURDAY
12 am Chad Van Gaalen @ The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W.
The Calgary native’s unique sound has a cult following for reason.

12 am Diamond Rings @ Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St. W.
Local band Diamond Rings are responsible for one of our favourite albums of the year. Dance tracks with a deep emotional well.

5 pm start with Dirty Beaches / DOM / Cults @ Yonge Dundas Square
The big night starts early with free performances at Yonge Dundas Square featuring the 50s nostalgic sound of Dirty Beaches’ Alex Zhang Hungtai. This is followed by DOM, that remind us of Neon Indian-meets-MGMT. There is an ironic quality about dancing to DOM’s "Living in America" in the heart of downtown Toronto. Cults has garnered a lot of attention over the last few months in accumulation for their self-titled release on June 7th for their Shangri-Las inspired 60s vibe.

7:30 pm Audioblood & White Girl Records’ Official NXNE Showcase @ Sneaky Dee’s, 421 College St.
Emma Hill, Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose, Whale Tooth, Hands & Teeth, The Dirtymags, The Balconies, Give Us The Daggers, and Invasions.

8 pm Men Without Hats @ Yonge-Dundas Square
No, seriously. Safety dance. Let’s go.

10 pm Foxfire @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W.
Foxfire are a wall of energy and musical talent. Come ready to dance.

10 pm Hooded Fang @ The Horseshoe, 370 Queen St. W.
Oh, how we love Hooded Fang, who blend together a myriad of influences to create layered indie rock that will slap a giant grin on your face

11 pm Wild Nothing / Twin Shadow / Memoryhouse @ Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W.
Wild Nothing’s album Gemini was one of the most well received indie releases of 2010, while Twin Shadow is the alias for George Lewis Jr., a Brooklyn based musician who combines R&B and synths for a magical combination. Toronto’s own Memoryhouse was on of the biggest buzz bands during Canadian Music Week and a can’t miss for NXNE.

SUNDAY
9 pm The Pharcyde @ Yonge Dundas Square
NXNE isn’t just about emerging rock talent, but a focus on all genres including hip-hop. L.A. hip hop group The Pharcyde reunited three years ago and catch them for their first reunion stop in Canada.

~ Ivana Markotic & Haley Cullingham

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