SNEAKY DEE'S (431 College, 416-603-3090) The late-night College haunt reopens its second floor to music Thursday and Friday, featuring punk and pop by MugShot and Burnthe8track.
BARCODE (549 College, 416-928-5012) Folk, alt-country and other forms of twang here, with sets by country rebel Scotty Campbell, balladeer Alun Piggins and the Quitters, former Wilco steel player Bob Egan and the fabulously named Mad Trucker Gone Mad.
BLACK BULL (298 QueEn West, 614-593-2766) More than just a hip patio, this Queen West pub also offers live rock, with NXNE sets by Vaughn Passmore, lo-fi tape manipulators the Potomac Accord and the Greg Hobbs Band.
B-SIDE (129 Peter, 416-204-9660) There's a live electronic feel to the artists plugged into the upstairs of Fez Batik. Audio Playground Hi & Wide and Mir host Friday, while ace analog crew the Russian Futurists and the return of pop scientist Spooky Ruben switch on Saturday.
BOVINE SEX CLUB (542 Queen West, 416-504-4239) Hard-edged rock and roll, with a few surprises thrown in as well. Ska crew the Royal Winnipeg Porn Orchestra reveal all Friday, trashy local mod rockers the Hassle get rowdy later the same night, and the equally unruly Temptress close out the fest Saturday at 1 am.
C'EST WHAT (19 Church, 416-867-9499) Folk, rock and singer/songwriters get intimate on the east side. Former Lounge Lizard and renowned New York sideman Tony Scherr performs Friday, followed by ace Toronto singer Howie Beck -- celebrating a new European deal with City Slang-offshoot Easy! Tiger -- and moody rockers Detective Kalita Saturday.
CLINTON'S (693 Bloor West, 416-535-9541) If the moddish sounds of the Candidates, Montreal's swinging Les Sequelles or sombre songwriter Jonathan Seet aren't doing it for you, pop upstairs and sing some karaoke at this Bloor Street bar.
CAMERON HOUSE (408 Queen West, 416-703-0811) The Cameron's back room has turned into one of the city's coolest small venues since the seats were raised. The club plays host to an ultra-intimate gig by alt-rock songwriter Shawn Mullins as well as Dave Fischoff and Ohio pop army Swearing at Motorists. Prime people-watching in the front room.
COLOURED STONE (205 Richmond West, 416-351-8499) A mixed bag in the basement, with sets by Tamara Williamson's new band, Kurt Swinghammer and Michigan avant folkie Sufjan Stevens.
COMFORT ZONE (480 Spadina, 416-975-0909) The home of hiphop and other urban musics during NXNE, shows in the basement are perpetually behind schedule and never sound particularly good. The lineup, however, is excellent, with sets by rising crew Abs & Fase, the Shabazz 3, reggae/ska singer Adrian Miller and dub crew the Resinators.
EL MOCAMBO (464 Spadina, 416-968-2001) The legendary Spadina club hosts rock on both floors. Downstairs, punks Sticky Rice, Audiobomb, a reborn Rocket Science and Sonic Unyon house band Tristan Psionic burst eardrums, while upstairs, glam slammer CJ Sleez & the STDs and Pornstar raise a ruckus. Saturday upstairs is reserved for mod/Britpop night Blow Up!, also worthwhile.
EVEREST (232 Queen West, 416-977-6969) More glam and rock at this Queen West restaurant, with Galore, 69 Duster and power pop crew Memory Bank checking in.
FREE TIMES CAFE (320 College, 416-967-1078) Folk, jazz and quiet pop and rock here, with sets by singer/songwriters Tim Gibbons, Rachel Gaudry and Scott Eagan.
GRAFFITI'S (170 Baldwin, 416-506-6699) This tiny Kensington Market bar hosts an excellent three nights of unusual singer/songwriters, including Gentleman Reg, new-school gospel singer Jai Agnish and North York balladeer Jack Breakfast.
HORSESHOE (370 Queen West, 416-598-4753) The NXNE lineups begin early here, so if you really want to see poet Jeffrey Gaines or legendary singer/songwriter John Wesley Harding, arrive early.
HEALEY'S (178 Bathurst, 416-703-5882) Jeff Healey's new basement blues/folk club gets into a rootsy frame of mind with the Backstabbers Country Swing Band and new-school bluegrass star Jenny Whiteley. If you're lucky, Healey will even get on stage and jam along.
KATHEDRAL (651 Queen West, 416-504-0744) Hiphop rules Thursday and Friday night. Montreal sensations Butta Babies return, singer/MC Statch performs and BrassMunk, Solitair and Mathematik all check in, while Nefarius makes the club the place to be at 1 am Thursday with his blazing Tough Dumplin' Foundation revue.
OASIS (294 College, 416-975-0845) Tapas and singer/songwriters, including Kyp Harness, the Bicycles and Barzin.
RANCHO RELAXO (300 College, 416-920-0366) This long, narrow club is pop paradise during NXNE, with sets by Blued, Nimbus and Vancouver twee quintet the Salteens.
REVERB (651 Queen West, 416-504-0744) Beats and beyond. Hiphop Thursday, with Asassini; jazz and soul Friday featuring live house crew Directions and the open-ended Cookie Duster project; and more rhymes by D-Sisive and IRS Saturday.
RIVOLI (332 Queen West, 416-596-1908) The Queen West stable hosts a showcase by hip label Three Gut Records Friday, featuring sets by guests Trouble with Sweeny, Jim Guthrie, softcore crew Royal City and Guelph pop/punk juggernaut the Constantines.SILVER DOLLAR (486 Spadina, 416-975-0909) Cajun crew Swamperella and Paul Reddick and the Sidemen push the boundaries of blues here. TED'S WRECKING YARD (549 College, 416-928-5012) An all-star lineup of songwriters (no surprise there). Rheostatic Martin Tielli sings solo, the Local Rabbits return, Welsh singer Matthew Jay jets in, Ottawa gem Jim Bryson makes the trip down the 401 and Chris Brown & Kate Fenner check back in from NYC. A word to the wise: use the washrooms at the back of the room.
360 (326 Queen West, 416-593-0840) Mighty metalheads Plastic Bag should lay waste to this Queen West club Friday at midnight. The unlucky ones are pop/punk crew Billy Talent, who have to go on right after.