Toronto’s summer music festival season officially kicks off this Tuesday, May 6 with Canadian Music Week—a five-day showcase of 1,000 artists performing at more than 60 venues across the city. To help you navigate CMW’s massive list of shows, we’ve compiled our top picks of the week!
Tuesday, May 6
8 pm Come As You Are @ The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W. A night of Nirvana songs performed by members of Sloan, Hidden Cameras, July Talk; DIANA, Luke Lalonde (of Born Ruffians), Wildlife, and more. All proceeds will benefit Delisle Youth Services to support their counselling, arts, and LGBTQ programs. Limited wristbands/passes accepted.
10 pm The 1975 @ Koolhaus, 132 Queen’s Quay E. Manchester indie rockers The 1975 rose to buzz-band status in 2013 following the release of their self-titled debut album. With hits like “Chocolate” and “Sex,” expect things to get real sweaty. Doors at 7 pm. Concert lottery.
Wednesday, May 7
11 pm Brody Dalle @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. Former frontwoman of The Distillers (and all-around babe) Brody Dalle brings her solo tour to the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. Limited wristbands/passes accepted.
11 pm BROODS @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. Hot off the heels of their debut EP, New Zealand-based brother-sister duo Broods have drawn comparisons to Purity Ring and fellow countrywoman Lorde, to name a few. All wristbands accepted.
1 am Mississippi Bends @ The Piston, 937 Bloor St. W. I’m a sucker for anything Americana, which is why I instantly fell in love with Mississippi Bends.
Thursday, May 8
8:30 pm Maylee Todd @ The Horseshoe, 370 Queen St. W. Toronto’s own Maylee Todd brings together elements of boogie, bossa, space funk, psychedelia, and soul to create a truly unique sound. All wristbands accepted.
9 pm Matt Pond PA @ Virgin Mobile Mod Club, 720 College St. New York indie pop collective Matt Pond PA take the Mod Club stage as part of the 10th anniversary tour for their 2004 LP Emblems. All wristbands accepted.
10 pm BASECAMP @ Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W. Nashville-based R&B-lo-fi trio BASECAMP aren’t afraid to push the boundaries of music, as evidenced by their groovy cover of Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants.” Doors at 7:30 pm. All wristbands accepted.
10 pm DIANA / ASTR @ The Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. In case you weren’t already swayed by this fantastic lineup (Matthew “Doc” Dunn, ASMR Buds, and Jennifer Castle are also performing) DIANA promises that Thursday night will be their “most opiated performance ever.” Stick around for a midnight performance by sexy New York City duo ASTR. Limited wristbands/passes accepted.
Friday, May 9
6 pm FanFest @ Koolhaus, 132 Queen’s Quay E. Tegan and Sara. Ellie Goulding. Need we say more? Limited wristbands/passes accepted.
6:30 pm M for Montreal x Bonsound x Audio Blood Presents @ Sneaky Dee’s, 431 College St. Last year’s M for Montreal show – headlined by Mac Demarco – was hands-down my favourite night of CMW (you can read all the raunchy details here). This year’s showcase will feature performances by Buddy Mcneil and the Magic Mirrors, Secret Sun, International Zombies of Love, HIGHS, Lisa Leblanc, Random Recipe, and Loud Lary Ajust. Get there early for the poutine party! All wristbands accepted.
7:15 pm Neko Case @ Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St. Indie darling Neko Case extended her North American tour to include a date in Toronto, and I am forever grateful. Concert lottery.
8 pm Bill and Murray @ Baltic Avenue, 875 Bloor St. W. Based in Tel Aviv, Bill and Muray are David Blau and Stella Gott, an old synthesizer, a drum machine, and a distorted guitar sound. All wristbands accepted.
Saturday, May 10
12 pm The Aussie BBQ @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. The ultimate hangover cure: Aussie bands and BBQ eats. Performances by The Black Lullaby, The Lazys, FAIRCHILD, Twin Lakes, Tully on Tully, Mia Dyson, Cub Sport, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and You Am I. All wristbands accepted.
6:30 pm Television @ Phoenix Concert Theare, 410 Sherbourne St. A product of the iconic 1970s New York rock scene, Television have influenced everyone from Sonic Youth to The Strokes. You don’t want to miss this show. All wristbands accepted.
9:30 pm Owen Pallett @ Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave. Fingers crossed that Owen Pallet’s setlist will include songs from his forthcoming album, In Conflict. Doors at 7 pm. Concert lottery.
9 pm Osheaga & Life or Death PR Present @ Adelaide Hall, 250 Adelaide St. Wildlife were one of the highlights of my CMW experience last year, and are once again on my must-see list. They’ll be joined by Montreal indie rockers We Are Wolves, Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing, and TWO secret guests. All wristbands accepted.
9 pm The Indies @ Koolhaus, 132 Queen’s Quay E. Headlined by Swedish electronic act Little Dragon, the 14th Annual Independent Music Awards will feature performances by The Strumbellas, Ponctuation, The Hidden Cameras, Hollerado, Born Ruffians, and Mounties. All wristbands accepted.
10 pm ShaqIsDope @ Baltic Avenue, 870 Bloor St. W. Hailing from Toronto’s St. James Town community, 21-year-old MC ShaqIsDope has been garnering plenty of buzz following the release of his latest project, Early Beginnings: The Shaquille Baptiste Story. All wristbands accepted.
10:30 pm Woods @ The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W. Brooklyn psych-folk outfit Woods are what summer nights are made of. Trust me. All wristbands accepted.