NXNE 2001 June 7-9 at various downtown clubs (see pages 40-47). For a comprehensive listing of participating artists, venues and set times, consult the NXNE Web site, www.nxne.c om, which will have daily updates. Wristbands are available for $18 at many HMV stores (see ad, page 41), NOW Magazine (189 Church), or call 416-870-8000 to charge or order online at www.ticketmaster.ca.
to experience all that nxne 2001 has to offer -- the live music showcases, the conference panel discussions and the new film exhibition -- the all-inclusive festival pass is the only way to go.
However, if a three-night band blitz is more than enough action for one weekend, then do yourself a favour and grab an NXNE wristband at HMV for $18. That's a steal of a deal, pardner.
Sure, you can pay a cover charge at any of the 27 downtown venues involved and stay put for the night, but getting the most out of the festival requires active participation. Zipping from club to club, you're bound to stumble onto some of the best indie rock, punk, hiphop, blues, folk, funk and soul you never knew existed.
Here are a few club-hopping tips:The site at www.nxne.com is packed tight with information on the more than 400 acts performing during the festival. While Sean Mullins, Doyle Bramhall II and the local scenesters will be familiar, many of the best new bands haven't yet broken out of their regional scene. So read the band bios and choose what you need to see.Sets start promptly on the hour and run 40 minutes, except at the Free Times, where sets start every half hour. Don't assume there are other exceptions or you'll miss something for sure.Take time to plot your course each night. Keeping venue proximity in mind will save you headaches. If the band you're watching at Lee's Palace is just finishing up at 10:40 pm and you need to be at the El Mocambo for midnight, deciding to dash all the way over to C'est What for the 11 pm slot could result in missing both.If you do the festival right, you'll spend as much time racing to clubs as you will inside them. Overstuffed shoulder bags or backpacks will just slow you down, so keep luggage to a minimum.There will be bands playing at NXNE 2001 that you've seen before and know are entertaining. Don't go. Of course, there's a risk in passing up a sure thing to possibly waste your time on crap. It happens. But the best part of music festivals like NXNE is discovering amazing talent. So take a chance. Finding your new favourite band is well worth suffering through a dud or two.Events like NXNE attract hordes of music writers from across Canada and abroad who are paid to be on top of things. So if you see someone hunched over a note pad, hit 'em up for tips. At the very least, they should be able to recommend an artist or two from their hometown.If the first two songs by the band you're watching are terrible, cut your losses and split. Experienced festival-goers usually consider an alternate band at a venue near where they'll be for each time slot. Trust me, when your first pick blows, you'll want to get to something else -- anything else -- in a hurry.With 400-plus artists squeezed into three days, it's physically impossible to see everything. No matter how wonderful the band you've just heard may be, you're going to bump into someone who'll claim that the showcase you sidestepped was even better. Accept that sad fact and move on.Blabby music-biz types usually hang out at the back comparing soundscan numbers and discussing the latest street team initiatives. You don't want to know.Before rushing off to the next show, take a couple of seconds to tell the guitarist putting away his effects pedals what you liked about the show. A few words of encouragement mean a lot to an artist on the way up. Better still, pick up a copy of their self-produced single or CD, because you'll never find it in a store and they could probably use the gas money to get home.