NXNE Moves Back Downtown for 2018!

The 2018 music festival season just got a boost in Toronto with the news that NXNE will be coming back to Yonge-Dundas next summer.

The move by the 10-day festival will include three days of programming from June 15 to 17 – that will transform Yonge Street into a full on festival village that will offer concerts, talk sessions and comedy shows – all free to the public.

The return to Yonge-Dundas Square comes after attendance numbers appeared to be down in 2017 at the Port Lands. It feels to us like the NXNE organizers are listening to festival-goers by making the decision to head back into the heart of downtown Toronto. We’re very happy for the relocation as it will offer more fans the chance to see music, more bands the chance to make new fans, and us to capture it all.

The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Building on the success of 2017’s curated showcases, the 2018 festival promises to expand and hit harder with shows and showcases at more than a dozen venues across Toronto including Yonge-Dundas Square, The Garrison, The Baby G, The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and more. With venues like that, and curated content like we saw this summer, NXNE 2018 should be another in a long line of good years for the fest in the city.

With the introduction of a video game component in 2016, NXNE added a brand new element bringing in a new audience. Reaching out to gamers by bringing in professional players from around the world and offering top-level prizes this seemed like a great way to increase attendance. Gamers were able to participate and play along online. The festival organizers are promising bigger things for Game Land, with new innovations to come.

Founded in 1995, the 24-year-old festival has seen some pretty big changes over the years. The 10 day music festival supporting local acts has turned into an event with internationally recognized music acts, industry experts, top-shelf comedians, pro-level gamers and so much more every single year.

Stay tuned for artist announcements and ticket info as we get closer.

NXNE - Yonge Dundas Square

via NXNE Facebook


NXNE 2017 Port Lands: Caveboy Q&A

I first met Caveboy during CMW 2015 and I have to say I immediately took to them. They’re warm and genuine, open and funny. Fast forward to Saturday’s NXNE Port Lands in 2017 and Caveboy is up on the Canal Stage winning over new fans with their music and their energy.

Caveboy is Michelle Bensimon (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Synth), Isabelle Banos (Synth, Bass, Backing Vocals) and Lana Cooney (Drums, Backing Vocals). The three-piece out of Montreal have been playing music together for some time and started with the name Diamond Bones. After feeling like the name didn’t best represent them, they made the change to Caveboy. The new name represents their wild, barefoot, tomboyish, feral, getting their hands dirty childhood and how they use that to come together on stage.

They’ve been slugging away, playing shows including CMW, NXNE, SXSW, POP Montreal, Osheaga, Hillside, Pride, JunoFest, working on music and perfecting their stage show. By the way, they charmed the pants off the crowd at NXNE. If you haven’t seen them live, put them on your must see list.

So, with thanks to Caveboy for taking the time to chat with us, here’s a Q&A we put together.

Let’s go!

Caveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port LandsCaveboy - Michelle Bensimon - NXNE 2017 - Port LandsQ. Let’s talk about the new music. You’re playing it, when is it coming?

A. Well, we just recorded it, maybe like a month ago. We were very, very, very fortunate and we won a contest called recording festival. Which is where they take bands to Ireland for two weeks to record for free at this incredible, incredible festival. It’s a magical experience. It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. It was our first time in Ireland and it was so beautiful.

There was really great equipment and animals all over the place, there were two other bands with us. It was amazing. Usually, when you’re recording in the studio you have certain restraints or constraints like time and money and you’re thinking about how you can make this happen in this much time but there. We had total freedom to be completely creative from morning to night. Unbelievable.

So we just recorded those songs in May. Right now we’re in the process of getting everything mixed and tying everything together and making sure that everything is really ready to go. We want to do something that we’re really proud of and take the time that it takes. Hopefully coming soon. We’re really excited for people to hear it.

No set release date but the fall.

Q. You played the Silver Dollar Room during CMW and now it’s closed. Are music venues closing in Montreal?

A. No. There’s actually been a couple that have opened which is great. There are definitely more and more bands playing in Montreal. It’s nice to see that venues are still getting by. There’s a lot going on in the DIY front in Montreal so maybe Toronto’s trying to catch up. Montreal is smaller but I think people go out to shows in Montreal and the venues are staying alive and rent is so cheap. It makes it possible for us to have spaces where we can have bands play.

Q. Do you have a band best friend?

A. You know what, this might sound really weird but there’s not a lot of people out there that we don’t get along with so we’re so lucky that we’ve had the chance to play with bands where we just mesh with. Like Dear Rouge, REPARTEE, Rah Rah, the bands we’ve got to tour with and play with, there’s been such camaraderie.

Q. Who are you listening to?

A. Isabelle – Well we discovered that we’re [gestures to Michelle] listening to the same things right now. We’ve kinda got these three albums on repeat – LP, the new Lorde album and Bleachers who are playing today.

A. Lana – I’m listening to some Grizzly Bear, the album’s not out yet but there are a couple of tracks.

A. Isabelle – I’m also obsessed with Portugal the Man. I’m so excited for new things that are coming out. The first single is out and we want more.

Q. Could you tell us something that we couldn’t find out with a Google search.

A. Isabelle – Ours dads are the same. Okay [laughs] we don’t have the same dad. All our dads are very similar, they’re all the same cartoon character.

Michelle – I’ll be quite honest with you. I’m going to speak candidly right now. My absolute favourite show is Survivor. I’m a huge Survivor fan. It is so good. I’m quite the addict. Huge fan.

Lana – I just got married. Like a week ago.

Trish – Wow, congrats!

Q. What were your first tattoos?

Isabelle – Oh… this one here, the giant peacock feather with some music notes. I think I was 22 when I got it.

Michelle – I was 16 and I went to a tattoo convention and I got a treble clef in a place that I can’t show you and it’s charming some might say.

Lana – Mine is this weird triangular shape which is one-third of our logo.
Michelle – I have this one [shows tattoo]
Isabelle – I have this one [shows tattoo]
Lana – So this is my one and only tattoo.

A. We can’t actually form it but we’ve tried. We’ve tried.

Caveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port Lands
Q. What do you do for fun, when you’re not working.

A. We work a lot but…

Isabelle – I’m a total geek. I’m about board games nights and escape rooms
Trish – Favourite board game?
Isabelle – One Night World is classic. Apparently, I’m a really good liar.

Lana – She’s a trickster. What do I like to do for fun… damn? I like taking pictures. I like to shoot anything, like nature, some portraits, whatever.

Michelle – I’m kind of into astrology. I just love discovering how that all works and how that kinda of plays into relationships and stuff. I love tarot cards and all of that.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

A. We huddle and we joke and we make each other laugh. We tell each other we love each other and she always ask us, what’s your favourite show. And so we always have to say, “it’s this one that we’re about the play”. We get pumped up and it’s really about that we have to connect with each other before no matter what, even if we’re rushing we’ll take the time to go into a huddle and feel the love with each other because, in the end, it doesn’t matter what happens we have each other.

Trish – There was a handshake thing that happened up there?

A. [laughs] I don’t know what that was. It was random. We were like, let’s improvise a handshake. [laughs] I don’t know what was. It was problematic but hopefully, it made people laugh.

Trish – It was awesome.

MORE PHOTOS OF CAVEBOYCaveboy - NXNE 2017 - Port Lands

VIDEO BY THE KWEEN @shauna.pigeon

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You can find Caveboy all over the internet.

Website: caveboymusic.com
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NXNE 2017 Port Lands: Ferraro Q&A

Friday was the first day of the NXNE Port Lands shows and we were there for the first band of the day, Ferraro.

Ferraro is Cosmo Ferraro on guitar and vocals, Tally Ferraro on bass and vocals, Gianni Ferraro on drums and vocals and Tom Ionescu on guitar and vocals. They are a band of three brothers, plus Tom. The brothers Ferraro come from a very musical background and if you’ve ever been to The Cameron House one of the guys may have served you a drink or two. The Cameron House is the family business and it’s no surprise that music is in their blood.

We took in their set and then sat down for a Q&A.

The band took the NXNE Skyline Stage at 4:45 PM and the audience continued to grow throughout the set. The music is fun and catchy. They have great harmonies and the music makes you want to dance. The guys looked right at home on the big stage and it’s no wonder, they’ve played with the likes of Sam Roberts and The Strumbellas and have been honing their skills for 10+ years. We heard songs from the Losing Sleep album including the title track, On the Ropes and Shake It Off.

The 50’s inspired music is modern and fresh and I woke up Sunday morning with Shake It Off in my head. Let’s get started with the Q&A.
Q. What are your earliest musical memories?

Ferraro: Way back. We all started on piano. We all took piano lessons. None of us accomplished very much on that instrument. I think we got a little appreciation for music and then when we chose our own instruments and we started playing together in the basement and that was the first thing, to learn your instrument well enough to be able to play with another instrument. That was the first milestone, it was the first thing to check off. That happened in the basement, making a lot of noise in our parents’ house.

Q. What’s the best thing about playing with your brothers?

Ferraro: The best thing… hmm… I’m looking for something positive to say here [laughing]. I think they’re pretty good musicians. You can say things that you might not say to someone else. It’s a very open and honest experience.Q. And for Tom – What’s the worst thing about playing with 3 brothers?

Tom: They keep pretty chill. I’ve been told I’m the pacifier.

Ferraro: You know, when you have a guest you try to behave.

Tom: I’ve heard that when I’m not around things get crazy so I kinda wanna see… actually maybe I don’t.

Q. Have you come to blows?

Ferraro: It’s been a while since we’ve physically hit each other. That’s not true, it’s been less than a year. It’s more verbal than physical. We argue. That comes again to being a brother. You’d probably say more to your brothers than to people who aren’t related to you. I think it gets more heated quickly and then forgiven more quickly as well. It’s just like hockey. You just fight out and then you go to the penalty box for five minutes.

Q. Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Ferraro: [Laughing]

Q: Why are you laughing, that sounds like a yes?

Ferraro: Well today we were very short on beer. Today we were desperate to get some beer so we chugged a beer and went on. For a big a show we normally get together right before we go on stage and say “let’s have a good show guys” [laughing]. On a regular basis Tally does the whole School of Rock thing. I would answer with a no [laughing].Q. Do you have a favourite place to play?

Ferraro: The Cameron House baby! It’s our home base. It’s where we’re comfortable. We’re on tonight from 10 to 4. It should be a good show. We’ve learned a lot there, good bad and otherwise. We’ve had shows of all kinds.

Q. “Losing Sleep” was released last year. How has the album been received?

Ferraro: It did as well as we expected. It was our first full-length record and that was a big accomplishment. It took more work than expected to get it out and be happy with the final product, which we were. But it felt good to have our first full-length record out.

Q. Are you working on new music?

Ferraro: We’ve been working on new music. The new stuff is coming. There are some new songs coming. And we’re hoping it’s sooner rather than later before we have some new music out.Q. I love the “Shake it Off” video, tell me about the concept and getting The Strumbellas involved?

Ferraro: That was very largely Kat Webber‘s brainchild. She was the director, she’s a friend of ours. We talked to her casually about making a video, that’s what she does. She looked at us, saw we’re brothers, we’re family. We use mannequins in some of our promotions and we have a bit of 50’s influence in our sound. So she took those 3 things and started mulling them over in her head and remembered this history class she had of the atomic bomb testings.  And they would make model homes with mannequins and see how everything reacted. That’s where it began and it was very, very much her brainchild and we were just, whatever you need us to do. Tell us where to be, tell us what to do. She came to us with the idea and I think expected some input. She told us the whole story and we were like. It’s awesome let’s go with it. We were like, we love it, just tell us what to do.

What also worked out was that we didn’t have a budget to make that video but what was very serendipitous was that our grandmother had this 1950’s looking house. That was our grandparents’ house that we grew up in. They passed away a few years ago and the house has just been empty. It was exactly what we were looking for. We wouldn’t have been able to shoot it off the budget we had without that.

Trish: That scene in the room after the explosion with is amazing! It was so fun to watch.

Ferraro: We did that and she was like okay, really go over the top and rock out here. And we did it and it was amazing. We went for it and we were like, that was fucking amazing and we like, DONE. And they said, that was great, let’s do it again. [Laughing} And we were like “I can’t, that’s the one, we’re just doing one. We were exhausted. It was pretty fun to shoot. That was the last scene of the day and we were ready to let loose a little bit.

And the question about The Strumbellas was that they came up through The Cameron House. So we met them very early on in their career at The Cameron and Kat asked if there was a band or someone famous or a big name you could add in for a little cameo to help. So I called them and they were very, very gracious with their time. They went straight from that shoot to the airport to fly to Australia for their tour.

They used to do a Monday night residency and the first time I saw them it was just me and the bartender. It was just me and him in the room watching The Strumbellas. They have not forgotten any of the people in their past. They’re very gracious that way.

Q. Who are you listening to?

Ferraro 1: They’re a bit old but I’m just getting into The Growlers.

Ferraro 2:
Fast Romantics are friends of ours and they just put out a new record that I’m digging into.

Ferraro 3
: Radiohead just got put on Spotify and I’ve been a longtime Radiohead fan. I used to get all the rare records and now that they’re on Spotify I can get all the crazy stuff on there too.

Ferraro 4: Dan Auerbach. I liked his last solo album better than any of his Black Keys stuff. Also Michael Rault. He’s very underrated. He’s not a really that well known. We tried to befriend him. We had one amazing hang. A great late night. We spent the whole night talking and never saw him again. Maybe we came on too strong. [Laughing]

Q. What do you do for fun when you’re not making music?

Ferraro(Tally): Work at The Cameron House. I’m a bartender there, Cosmo’s the manager there, Gianni’s a bartender…

Trish: What do you do when you’re not working.

Ferraro: Play hockey, we all play hockey. Baseball. There’s a Cameron House baseball team. There’s a Queen Street baseball league. We play The Horseshoe. Softball. Yeah, Sunday softball. I take it maybe too seriously.

Trish to Tom: You look like you’re thinking really hard.

Tom: Yeah I’m really bad at sports, I’m ok at baseball and I’ve played one game.

Ferraro: Tom is very, very talented. There’s nothing this guy can’t do until I saw him attempt sports. And I thought, okay he’s got an Achilles heel, there’s something he can’t do.

Tom: A big Achilles heel. My one softball game was good but then I was like, Peace I’m out of here.

I do a lot of the graphic design and artwork for album covers.

Ferraro: He’s made a lot of our posters and Cameron posters. He’s quite a talented artist.

Thanks for Ferraro for hanging out with us and spilling some great stories. Don’t let the handsome faces distract you, these guys are educated, smart, funny and talented. Keep your eye on them.

Check out the video for Shake It Off and watch for a cameo from The Strumbellas.

MORE PHOTOS OF FERRAROWhitney Rose with Ferraro The Cameron HouseWe pulled this one out of the archives! Ferraro backing up Whitney Rose at The Cameron House in 2014.

NXNE 2017 Club Lands: Crown Lands, The Anti-Queens and Sweatshop Kids – NXNE Curator Series – Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent)

Sweatshop Kids started off the showcase. The trio of Walsh, Turvey and Hover were loud, they were sweaty and they weren’t kids. Listing hardcore-dance-punk-nu-metal-knuckle-funk as their genre on their Facebook page, we going to go with that.

The music was great, the singer super interesting and that haircut just kept making me smile. It’s weird but good weird. When he starts moving, you can’t look away. I’m intrigued.Sweatshop Kids - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe second act of the night was The Anti-Queens. The band is Emily Bones on vocals and playing lead guitar, Mary Deth on bass, Dallas Conte on drums and Valerie Knox on lead guitar. Valerie is also known for her role as singer and guitar player for Black Cat Attack.

They were loud, they were tight, the songs were honest, they were well rehearsed, in sync and so much fun to watch. This might be the grungiest punk rock/grunge pop I’ve ever heard. The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernFollowing The Anti-Queens, fresh off their 97.7 win and the premiere of Recording “Rise Over Run” – Episode 4, Crown Lands.

We caught up with Kevin Comeau just before their set at the NXNE Curator Series – Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent) and chatted about their win, the upcoming album Rise Over Run and new merch. He joked about all the things that have to be done in a day for the one hour where they get to get up on stage and play for us. It’s everything.

It’s been almost a year since we first saw Crown Lands at Rivoli. They’ve been working hard and that work really shows on stage. Everything is better, and that’s hard to say because they were so good when we saw them last year.  Crown Lands - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernCrown Lands - Cody Bowles - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernCrown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe guys were perfectly in sync and everything was perfect. One thing that’s clear, Kevin and Cody are having a really good time doing this. And the fans were having a really good time watching them do it.

There was a  new addition to the set from last year, and it was amazing. We’re going to let the photo and video do the explaining.
Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Thanks to DyAnn Rusaw for sharing her video with us. Amazing!

The crowd got a chance to hear some new music along with some of my personal favourites off their debut EP Mantra . and it wouldn’t be complete without some amazing covers like When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin and Rush’s Working Man.

We’re really excited for the new album we can hardly wait for the next episode of  Recording “Rise Over Run”. We love this documentary series, it’s giving us a look at the stuff we don’t normally get to see and we love that.

NOTE – If you get a chance to pick up some merch, grab one of the handmade tie-dyed tanks. They’re awesome and were made by Kevin and Cody themselves.

If you’re looking for all the news on The Lazys check out our post here!

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern Crown Lands - Cody Bowles - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern Crown Lands - Cody Bowles - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernCrown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Crown Lands - Cody Bowles - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Crown Lands - Kevin Comeau - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernCrown Lands - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

Sweatshop Kids - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern Sweatshop Kids - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern Sweatshop Kids - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernMORE PHOTOS OF THE ANTI-QUEENS
The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Anti-Queens - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

NXNE 2017 Club Lands: The Lazys – NXNE Curator Series – Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent)

The Lazys are not a band for the faint-hearted and on June 22nd at the Ian D’Sa (Billy Talent) Curator Series at The Horseshoe Tavern, The Lazys brought everything they had and left it on the stage.


Not to be outdone, their fans took it up a notch and matched the band with their energy and enthusiasm.


We’ve been telling you about The Lazys since late 2015 and this band of Aussies have continued to up their game along the way. They’ve just finished recording a brand new album and they’re touring Ontario playing new tunes and old favourites. You can find out everything you need to know about the summer tour here.


Things of note from Thursday’s show – there were great supporting acts, it was really hot, it was packed, Matty left the stage, there were many adult beverages consumed, there was an aggressive mosh pit, and Leon, Matty, Glenn, Liam, and Andy killed their set.


Here is our photo show review in case you needed some evidence?

The Lazys -Leon Harrison - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Glenn Williams - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Liam Shearer - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys -Matty Morris and Leon Harrison - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Leon Harris & crowd - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Leon Harrison - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Leon Harrison - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys - Liam Shearer and Glenn Williams - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe TavernThe Lazys -Matty Morris - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Lazys -Matty Morris - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern The Lazys -Matty Morris - NXNE 2017 - Horseshoe Tavern

NXNE 2017 – Where We’ll Be

North by Northeast has revealed the final pieces of their schedule and it includes the one-day Future Land conference. They’ve got some cool sessions on Wednesday, June 21st, the price is a very reasonable $29 and you can get them here.

Want to know all about the festival? Visit our previous post – NXNE 2017 – Round 1 Artist Announcement.

With all the pieces in place, we’re ready to let you know who we’ll be checking out. The Club Land Shows lead into the weekend Port Lands shows and we’re happy to be hitting up some of our favourite venues to see a couple of our favourites bands, The Lazys and Crown Lands, as some that are new to us, too.

To start with, let’s talk about our favourites. The Lazys have just started a tour of Ontario and not only are they playing on the 22nd at The Horseshoe, they’ve also announced a free listening party on June 21st at The Bovine, doors are at 5:00 pm. If you’re around, it’s a great chance to hear the new album. If you’re not going to be in Toronto next week head to their website for tour details.
The Lazys CNE 2016Not to be outdone, Crown Lands have been up to some pretty amazing stuff. They’ve been working on a new album which they recorded at the legendary Chalet Recording Studio and Friday night they competed in the finals of the 97.7 HTZ FM Rock Search Contest.

The guys are already winners in our books but on Friday night, they took home the big prize! $2,500 in cash from 97.7 HTZ-FM and the opportunity to play four 97.7 HTZ-FM events over the year. They’ve also won an in-person consultation session with the artist development team at Dine Alone Records, $1500 in custom merchandise from Presstime Design & Screenprint, a recording package from Iguana Studios,  and last, but not least, a $1500 gift card to spend at Long and McQuade Musical Instruments.

Congratulations to the guys! Previous winners of this competition include Finger Eleven, The Trews, The Standstills and The Glorious Sons, that’s a pretty great list. In addition to playing the Ian D’Sza (Billy Talent) Curated Showcase on Friday the 22nd, you can also see them at Cherry Cola’s on June 17th.

Now, let’s move on to our show/band choices!

 Date About the event venue
 June  19Rural Alberta Advantage Curated Showcase
The Northern Coast
Jordan Normal and the Wisdom Teeth
Alex Vissa
The Dakota Tavern
 June  20Nick Rose (Dwayne Gretzky, Teen Ravine
Curated Showcase
Vast Asleep
Twin Within
Evan James Redsky
 June  21The Dirty Nil
Curated Showcase

Dead Soft
Secret Satanists
Big School
New Love
 The Garrison
 June  22Ian D’Sza (Billy Talent)
Curated Showcase

The Lazys
Crown Lands
The Anti-Queens
Sweatshop Kids
Horseshoe Tavern
 June  23    4:45 FerraroPort Lands – Skyline Stage
 June  24    3:00 CaveboyPort Lands – Canal Stage
 June  25    6:45 Yukon BlondePort Lands – Canal Stage

We know there are no headliners on our Port Lands list. But we’ll see what the days bring, we might see some Post Malone, Kaytranada or Passion Pit.

We’re stoked to see Ferraro, Caveboy, and Yukon Blonde. Shockingly, we’ve never seen any of these bands live. What?! Yes, we need to fix that! Stay tuned for pictures, interviews and reviews from NXNE 2017!

Tickets are still available and you can get them here!

Summer Ontario Fun Tour: The Lazys Hit The Road!

If you believe that rock and roll should be played hard, fast, and loud… we’ve got a prescription for The Lazys that we think you should fill immediately during the Summer Ontario Fun Tour.

And if you’re in Ontario, your chance is coming quick to see these five Aussie rockandrollers get on stage, sweat, sing, scream, and put on the kind of club show that you leave with a smile on your face and ringing in your ears!

The Lazys Toronto Horseshoe Tavern

With eight shows in 11 days, The Lazys will be ready, willing, and able to crank up the volume and energy from Oshawa to Waterloo, and at all stops in between. And we can tell you this because we’ve seen it live for ourselves at Toronto’s Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and at the CNE’s bandshell stage. And in both settings (very different settings) the boys hit it hard, held nothing back, and made new fans out of the rock and roll diehards in the crowd.

We fully expect them to do the same on the Summer Ontario Fun Tour!

Note: Two of our favourite dudes on the way up will be joining The Lazys for two dates on the tour, when Crown Lands open in Oshawa and Toronto.

Summer Ontario Fun Tour Dates

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – Oshawa Music Hall – Oshawa, ON
Thursday, June 15, 2017 – The John St. Pub – Arnprior, ON
Friday, June 16, 2017 – The Red Dog – Peterborough, ON
Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Burlington Sound of Music Festival – Burlington, ON
Sunday June 18, 2017 – The Pavillion – Sault Ste Marie, ON
Thursday, June 22, 2017 – NXNE @ The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
Friday, June 23, 2017 – The Station Music Hall – Sarnia, ON
Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Maxwell’s – Waterloo, ON

If you’ve seen The Lazys on stage before, we don’t need to sell you on the idea of seeing them again. If you haven’t… well, we really, truly, completely believe that you should be at any one (or more) of these shows to enjoy some Aussie rock and roll.

And if you are a fan, stay tuned for information about the brand new record from The Lazys that we’ve been told will be coming before the end of 2017.

Until then, you can find all 13 tracks from their self-titled 2015 album, including bangers like Shake It Like You Mean It, Howling Woman, Show Me What You’re Made Of and Black Rebel, online from your favourite source – including the Spotify stream in this post.

Hit play, look at some more pics, and get your tickets for The Lazys’ Summer Ontario Fun Tour show nearest you!

The Lazys CNE 2016 The Lazys Toronto Horseshoe Tavern The Lazys CNE 2016 The Lazys CNE 2016The Lazys CNE 2016

NXNE 2017 – Round 1 Artist Announcement

North by Northeast has released their first 2017 artist announcement and it’s a good start. Now entering its 22nd year,  the annual Toronto music festival returns to the Port Lands with Passion Pit, Tyler, the Creator and Post Malone in the headlining position for fthis venue. Also included in today’s announcement, Bleachers, Sleigh Bells, The Soul Rebels Ft. Talib Kweli, Twin Peaks, Cold Specks, Muna, and Son Little and a promise of 20+ artists to come.

Festival dates are June 23 to 25th, early bird pricing is up and tickets are on sale! NXNE is using RFID wristbands and we’re serious when we say you should really consider the VIP package. There’s nothing like front row access and VIP bathrooms.

Other highlights of this festival, the Club Land venues, Game Land featuring video gaming and E-Sports, the comedy tent, art installations, midway rides and of course food vendors.

NXNE is one of our favourite festivals, partly because it’s on home turf and partly because it includes free shows that all of you can see. Stay tuned for more artist announcements.

nxne pricing portlands combined 2

EDIT -Tyler the Creator has dropped out and been replaced by Kaytranada.

Radio Waves: Fast Romantics Rock Yonge Dundas Square at NXNE 2016!

On a super sunny evening in downtown Toronto, we saw the city’s own Fast Romantics take the stage and give us a taste of rock and roll.

The 5 piece group was upbeat and energized as they played for the crowd at Yonge-Dundas Square. It was the perfect after work musical treat for NXNE fans and Torontonians making their way home from the office. And it was a fantastic way for us to dip our feet into the newly revamped festival.
NXNE - Fast Romantics-5183Formed in Calgary, but now calling Toronto homebase, Fast Romantics are made up of
Matthew Angus, Kirty, Jeffrey Lewis, Kevin Black, and Nick McKinlay – and while they got their original start in 2008, the band has done their share of soul searching and deciding what they wanted to be on their way to where they are now in the summer of 2016… and we’ll all get a real taste for where they’re at with the release of a brand new full-length album!

The band gave us a taste of some new music they’ve written, including American Love and Radio Waves… and they did great justice to a cover of Roy Orbison’s classic, Pretty Woman.

Note: Lead singer, Matthew Angus gave thanks to an unnamed dude in the crowd for gifting him some sunglasses as he faced west into the beating evening sun!

NXNE - Fast Romantics-5137Check out the Facebook Live video we shot of the 1st two songs of the set and more photos from Trish… and stay tuned for more NXNE coverage coming up!

NXNE - Fast Romantics-5194NXNE - Fast Romantics Dundas Square 2016NXNE - Yonge Dundas SquareNXNE - Yonge Dundas SquareNXNE - Fast Romantics crowd-5254


2 years ago

The Fifth: Birds of Bellwoods EP Review

The boys of Birds of Bellwoods call Toronto home (right now) and have been making a name for themselves on the local scene with a combination of club shows and major showcases like their sold out CMW and NXNE 2015 appearances. They also made an appearance at Boots & Hearts in 2015 as part of the Emerging Artist Showcase.

The Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNEAnd now Stephen Joffe (Lead Vocals / Mandolin), Adrian Morningstar (Guitar / Vocals), Chris Blades (Banjo / Vocals), Kintaro Akiyama (Upright Bass / Vocals) are sharing their brand new EP, The Fifth, with the world.

The Fifth is a 5 track offering that brings (as their website confirms) folk from a different angle. Released on August 11, 2015 – it’s a great introduction for alt-folk lovers who haven’t yet found the band, and a fun listen for those who have been following them for any length of time at all.

Birds of Bellwoods – The Fifth Track Listing

Birds of Bellwoods - The Fifth - Front Cover1. Sky
2. Come Home
3. Roll Your Stone
4. Grey Ghosts
5. The Fifth

If you’re looking for some place to start, don’t complicate things. Sky is the lead track and first single from the EP – and the first track we listened to when we got our hands on the new music.

Birds of Bellwoods fits the Alt-Folk brand well, with well written lyrical content, strong but often stripped down instrumentals, and a mix of mellow and more sped up singing from lead singer Joffe and the rest of the band behind him.

As a collection, The Fifth hits all of the right notes, offering only 1 minor critique – we would have liked to listen to a full album worth of tracks.

All signs point to continued success and popularity for Birds of Bellwoods with upcoming shows at Toronto’s TURF, Indie Week Canada, and The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, as well as the Festival of Good Things in Sarnia, ON and the Jasper Folk Music Festival in Jasper AB. It’s a schedule that will introduce the quartet to new listeners, give them an opportunity to continue developing their stage show (which is already fun to watch), and play these 5 songs to everyone within ear shot.

The Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNEAfter more than a couple listens, we willingly give The Fifth a thumbs up. These 4 boys have the chops to make the music, and as long as they keep doing what they’re doing – and finding their way, Birds of Bellwoods are going to be on the scene for a long time with fans to spare and music to love.

Find Birds of Bellwoods online at these fine locations…

Website: birdsofbellwoods.com
Facebook: /birdsbellwoods
Twitter: @BirdsBellwoods
Instagram: @birdsofbellwoods
YouTube: Birds of Bellwoods
iTunes: Birds of Bellwoods – The Fifth

2 years ago

Boots & Hearts 2015 Emerging Artist Showcase Preview: Birds of Bellwoods

I caught up with Birds of Bellwoods last week prior to their NXNE show at The Cameron House. We talked about the Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase, what’s coming up for the band, influences and lots more.

Birds of Bellwoods: First cool thing to talk about is the opportunities and the things we have coming up. So, we’ve got NXNE tonight and then we’re playing The Great Heart Festival. Which is an awesome festival. It’s in Trinity Bellwoods, it’s an acoustic festival and it’s on June 21st.

After that we’re taking a little bit of time and we’re coming to Boots and Hearts, which we’re really excited about. It’s not normally an audience we get to communicate with. We’re very excited and a little terrified to see how we’ll be received. We’re not traditional country or even modern country.The Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNETC: Have you heard any of the other emerging artists?

Birds of Bellwoods: We have, and we seem to be a little bit of a red herring, maybe that’ll work in our favour. We hope it will. We’re hoping if we play good, honest music that people will enjoy it.

TC: What’s the exciting news?

Birds of Bellwoods: The really exciting thing we have coming up is… we recently got offered a spot at TURF, which is the Toronto Urban Roots Festival. We’ll be playing with some of our favourite bands like Shakey Graves and Punch Brothers. We’re actually on the same day as Punch Brothers. And Pixies, which is 14 year old Adrian’s dream.

We’ll be doing our EP release as part of a TURF Showcase and that’s going to be happening on August 13th at Lee’s Palace. We’ll be bringing along a drummer and a violinist, which promises to fill out the sound. The night after that, we’re doing Gladstone Hotel with Groenland. And so that’s cool and then Jasper Folk Music Festival is coming up in September. So there’s a lot of cool stuff coming up and our EP The Fifth, which is our first studio EP, we’re dropping that in August.

TC:  I wanted to ask about the song you choose to enter the Boots and Hearts Showcase. Why that one?Birds of Bellwoods Boots and Hearts Intro Video

Birds of Bellwoods: I guess we felt that was the most country friendly song we had. Easily accessible, and a pretty good representation of our sound at the same time. We also love it as a song. It’s a very earnest song. It’s a truthful song. It’s based in a story that’s very dear to me and I think these guys all have there own understanding and interpretation of it. I felt like it was something that people can relate to. I think everyone’s been there at one time or another. And when it comes down to it, it was also the very first song we co-wrote as a band.

We shot a live session video for it that we’re pretty happy with. It was with a company called Felideye Pictures, by videographer, Julien Peter. He’s a good friend of ours and we got together one day in Kintaro’s backyard. We set up the mic, we set up a couple cameras and went for it. The best part is, that was actually a test shoot for a shoot that we were planning to do in the future, and then that shoot sort of crumbled in our hands. The card he was recording on was corrupted. That was just a practice run and it ended up being it.

The song itself, if it helps at all, is called “No Less Than All” and it’s about letting go of a previous relationship. It’s about the passage of time and taking responsibility. And I think, what we’re all left wondering, once we’ve made our peace with this situations is, that it’s remembered, and that it wasn’t just beautiful for us. That there was still something special, even if it did have to end.

TC: What made you enter the contest?

Birds of Bellwoods: I’ve known about Boots and Hearts for a while. I’ve listened to country music for a while, more the pick up truck kinda music. I think it’s a very honest kind of music. I’ve known about Boots and Hearts and I’ve thought it was a great festival. We saw the opportunity come up and we thought, why not? Worst case scenario nothing. It seems like the most engaged and excitable audience. It sold out in three days!

For us being picked was a huge surprise and a great honour and we’ll keep doing what we need to do regardless of what happens, and if it helps us, great.

The Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNE

TC: What are you listening to?

Birds of Bellwoods: We just went to Bonnaroo so we listen to all the bands. We saw a lot of bluegrass music down there. Punch Brothers were great. Béla Fleck, Shakey Graves, and My Morning Jacket. A lot of our influences aren’t from a country vein, they’re from everywhere and it’s the instrumentation that gives us the folky country sound. A lot of my early influences are more in the realm of Old Crow Medicine Show and more of the Appalachian blue grass kinda sound. Dave Rawlings, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, CSNY. I can’t stop listening to Yukon Blonde‘s new album. It came out on Tuesday. It’s amazing. Shakey Graves, Lady Lamb, she’s sort of grunge rock but she sometimes plays a banjo.

We’re all really intent on supporting the musicians we’re coming up with. Toronto is just filled with the most amazing musicians and we’re very lucky to part of such a rapidly growing community of talent. There’s a band called UKAE that we’ve played with a few times, Ivory Hours is another. A friend of ours, Scott Helman is doing very well. I think he’s nominated for an MMVA this year.

One of the best parts about living downtown is that you just walk down the street and find hundreds of great bands. You can find a jazz band and throw a rock and hit a metal band.The Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNE outside-6027TC: Last question, tell me something we couldn’t find out about you on the internet.

Birds of Bellwoods: We have a mascot named Frank. Nope they could find that on the internet. We’re debuting a song tonight that no one’s heard before that is technically called Head Long but it’s really called Fish Hunt. We conjured Chris with a Ouija board. He’s from the other side.

He might be joking… or not.

Birds of Bellwoods is Stevie Joffe (Mandolin/Lead Vocals), Adrian Morningstar (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Blades (Banjo/Vocals), and Kintaro Akiyama (Upright Bass/Vocals) and you can find them all over the internet.

Web: birdsofbellwoods.com
Twitter: @BirdsBellwoods
Facebook: Birds of Bellwoods
Bandcamp: BirdsofBellwoods
Soundcloud: BirdsofBellwoods

Birds of Bellwoods Cameron House NXNE 2015


3 years ago

#NXNE 2011 – Thursday Night at The Rivoli!

The Rivoli on Queen West – NXNE 2011

Last night I started my 2011 NXNE adventure with CBC Radio 2’s showcase at The Rivoli. I hadn’t paid enough attention to know that this was going to be a CBC sponsored show – but it was a nice bonus.

I walked into the back room at the bar and was waved through without getting my forearm Sharpie’d (maybe they thought I was in the band?) and took a seat near the bar. It didn’t take long for the room to start filling up.

The first act of the night comes from Montreal – and I dug them a bunch. If you have a chance check out Peter Alkas and the Alkas Band. The vocals and musicianship were fantastic. The whole band had stage presence with Mr. Alkas leading the way. His voice and music had a John Mayer kind of feel to it. But he seems to be about 75% less douchey. That of course is only an estimate because I don’t know the dude. In the end this is a band that I would love to see more of in the future.

As per North by Northeast tradition about a quarter of the room cleared out after the set and new people came in. @photojunkie sent me a text telling me that the venue was at capacity and he was waiting to get in. Luckily he did.

Up next on the stage, also from Montreal, was Bobby Bazini. He’s a tall, skinny, plaid shirt with 3 open buttons, 18 year old looking kid with an accent thicker than his waist line. But when the band starts playing the accent goes away and we get some folk/country/pop/rock tunes to listen to. His voice is raspy and lyrics make sense and given time I’m sure I would be singing along with him. A big part of me wishes he would just pick country music and go with it. His acoustic guitar sounds like it would love to play country songs and it would be cool to have a French Canadian in that scene.

The next act that CBC Radio 2 brought up on stage came from the white hot music scene of Winnipeg. Imaginary Cities stole the show for me last night. I had never heard of them coming into the show and they were great. Vocalist Marti Sarbit was full of energy and the tone of her voice was outstanding. I’m sure it helped that she was the only girl on stage for the show – but either way – she rocked it. An added bonus was the “aww shucks” attitude that the band gave off. They were generally touched by the fact that the crowd dug what they were doing. I loved to see some modesty on the stage.

The last act of my night was Toronto’s own Sweet Thing. This is the band that I was looking forward to. They had a hill to climb for redemption as the lead singer kinda forced his way into our personal space and stayed there most of the evening while the other bands were on stage. The room was noticeably less crowded for the Sweet Thing set – but still had energy. The stage theatrics may have been a little over the top for such a small stage and crowd. But I have to give the band some props for doing their thing regardless. The one thing I noticed right away was how close the live vocals sounded to the record. These guys aren’t a product of post-production magic. They get it done for real. The set closed with Change of Seasons which had me singing along. A good way to end my night.

Side note: K’naan (the Waving Flag guy) was about 10 feet way from us for the last hour and a half of the night. I wanted to be super ironic and ask him what it was like to work with Justin Bieber as a career highlight. But the girl told me it wouldn’t be as funny as I thought… so I didn’t.

All said and done The Rivoli hosted a good show last night. The Molson Stock Ale was cold and golden and music was hot.

I can’t wait to do it all again Friday and Saturday!

ps. thanks to PriceDodger.com for sponsoring my little music filled weekend.

7 years ago

#NXNE Is Here – And I’m Ready!


What up kids?

Just a quick stop in. I’m still in the office on Thursday afternoon, but I am having trouble concentrating on anything because I have my North by Northeast wristband sitting right beside me.

Tonight starts my NXNE 2011 experience with shows and crowds and cheering and perhaps a beverage and a late night and work in the morning. It’s going to be awesome – except for the early morning.

Note: There will be lots of coffee to get me through the workday tomorrow.

My schedule for the weekend is still way up in the air. There are a few shows that we put stars beside in the NOW Magazine guide – Bobby Bazini, Sweet Thing, Anti-Flag and more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Those first 2 names put me at The Rivoli tonight. So if you’re in the area or in the club say hi for cryin’ out loud. I’ll give you a high five.

If you have show ideas or wanna hang out with our wristbands on leave a comment or drop me a line or something.

Note: Downtown Toronto is going to be crazy for the next few days. Be patient when you are walking, biking or driving. Most importantly, be safe!

Congrats to Dan Levy and De0mona for winning their NXNE wristbands in the contest. I was happy to give them away!

Alright, gotta split. Have a great night, weekend, festival, etc.


7 years ago

Hey – Wanna Go to NXNE 2011? Let Me Send You!

Good morning boys and girls.

It is with great pleasure and a huge smile on my face that I am writing to you this morning. You see, after much hinting and working and waiting I can now tell you that I have TWO 5-day North by Northeast 2011 wristbands to give away.

side note: NXNE charges taxes and service fees totaling $11.30 for all tickets – including the free ones. But it’s better than paying $61.30!

This is the 17th year for NXNE and by all accounts it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. There are over 650 bands on the bill and more than 40 films set for screenings. And you get access to all of them with your 5-day wristband.

Now, there are a few steps that we need to follow to get you entered to win, but nothing that will require blood, sweat or tears. Unless you don’t have AC in which case you may be sweating because it’s getting pretty hot in Toronto.

Step 1. Read this blog.

Step 2. Click the link here http://bit.ly/lIwvQA

Step 3. Register at PriceDodger.com. (red button in the upper right corner)

Step 4. Verify your account using the email that comes to you.

Step 5. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me why you want to go to NXNE 2011 and which email address you used to sign-up at PriceDodger.com.

It’s as easy as that. No jokes. 2 lucky winners will be picked at random by me and a group of my peers who won’t be entered in the contest.

Make your answer stand out. Tell me why you should be the winner.

If you have never checked out North by Northeast do yourself a solid and be there. If you’ve been going every year for as long as you can remember, you know exactly why you want to go back.

If you’ve already got your tickets, enter anyway. And tell your friends.

I wanna be a giver my friends. Help me be a giver!

Be awesome. Good luck.

7 years ago

This Is My Toronto

In the end there are going to be things that some people love and some people hate. And my glowing review of the city may not be enough to change your mind if you’ve already made it. But, if you haven’t decided to write Toronto off, if you’ve never been here, if it’s been a long, long time since you rode the street car, or if are ready to give it a second chance, these are some of the things that I love.

This is my Toronto.

8 years ago
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