UK-based production duo Swayzak have put out some of the most unique electronic music of this century, so there's lots of anticipation for their tag-team DJ set July 7 at Footwork (425 Adelaide West). Along with the quirky minimal house they're known for, you can also expect weirdo 80s shit, dub and maybe some classic Italo disco. $20 advance, more at the door. Check www.afesociety.com for details.
Crossing the Traxx
The colourful and eccentric Traxx isn't the best-known mixer to come out of Chicago, but in certain circles he's a cult hero, thanks to his passionate and idiosyncratic take on underground dance music. On July 28 you can catch him at Crosstown (178 Bathurst) playing alongside Detroit's Terrence Dixon (known for his work with techno pioneer Juan Atkins). Expect jacking Chi-town house, techno, electro and even industrial as Traxx connects the dots between the various eras and offshoots of club music. $15 before midnight, more after. Check www.openconcept.org/sect.html for details.
Once Nickleback and their even more annoying pals Puddle of Mudd have done their business at Molson Amphitheatre Wedneday (July 4, $29.50-$69.50), the Amp's summer schedule really kicks in. It starts with the highly anticipated Toronto return of the White Stripes, flashing the Led Zep riffage from their new Icky Thump album July 5. $25-$44.50. Then Billy Talent promise to pack the joint tight for their throwdown with Attack in Black, Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats and Die Mannequein July 13. $25.50-$45.50.
Before you can say, "What happened to the codgers?" some pony-tailed roadies will already have loaded in the gear for Def Leppard's show with Kim Mitchell July 16 ($25-$95), while John Fogerty's guitar tech crew polish up the CCR main man's twin Les Paul black beauties for his gig July 20. $49.50-$85.50.
And just so Grandma and Grandpa don't feel left out, there's Hippiefest on July 25 with the Turtles, Mountain, Mitch Ryder, Country Joe McDonald, Badfinger (with Joey Molland) and the Zombies (featuring Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent). $32.50-$69.50. 909 Lakeshore West. 416-870-8000, www.ticketmaster.ca.
Although the big draw at Harbourfront Centre's annual Beats, Breaks And Culture fest (July 6 to 8) is the filmic fantasy of Jason Swincoe's Cinematic Orchestra on the mainstage July 6, even more exciting may be the opening set by Four Tet's Kieran Hebden and master percussionist Steve Reid, whose improvisational bouts can be explosive. In any case, it'll be a fabulous night of adventurous music with many unexpected turns. Best of all, it's free! 235 Queens Quay West. 416-973-4000, www.harbourfrontcentre.com.
Picnic with Pornographers
With the Roots, Bad Brains, Little Brother, Bedouin Soundclash and Apostle of Hustle involved, the Fort York Picnic seemed like a quaint little mid-summer soiree, but hardly serious competition for Virgin's grander V Fest, which takes over the Toronto Islands September 8. But with the lineup additions of the Dears and the ever-popular New Pornographers - who'll be previewing songs from their upcoming Challengers album (out August 21) - the July 29 Picnic is suddenly shaping up to be one of the must-see events of the sweaty season. 100 Garrison. $49.50. 416-870-8000, www.ticketmaster.ca.