It's not just hyperbole - the 2007 edition of the massive North By Northeast fest really and truly blows all previous years out of the water. Why? In addition to the fact that your $28 wristband costs less than you'd pay for most decent concerts and gets you into four nights of shows by more than 450 bands in 40 clubs sprinkled through the downtown core, this year's festival goes over the top with a killer bonus series featuring performances by indie guitar rock deities Dinosaur Jr ., Swedish garage gods Soundtrack of Our Lives , bedroom electronic pop savants Junior Boys and craploads more. Oh, and snag a wristband and you can see every hot-shit film in the NXNE film fest long before your loser friends shell out for first-run theatre tix. Don't worry - the four-night bacchanalia kicks off June 7 and runs through June 10, so you won't have to hold your breath much longer. Various venues. Tickets $5-$20, wristbands $28. ww.nxne.com.
James Hunter plays the Phoenix as part of the Toronto Jazz Fest June 20.
Often the most interesting artists booked to appear at the Toronto Jazz Festival (June 22 to July 1) have never played or recorded anything that resembles improvisational music. Soulfully crooning Brit R&B guitar slinger James Hunter can't be accused of being a jazzer, but his much-anticipated Toronto return to play the Phoenix June 20 ($22.50-$27.50) promises to be a highlight of this year's festival, which is once again loaded tight with elder statesmen like Herbie Hancock , Dave Brubeck , Dick Hyman , Peter Appleyard , Freddy Cole and perennial fave Rob McConnell . www.tojazz.com
Boredoms blast back
It's hard to believe it's been 13 years since Japanoise superstars the Boredoms played the Lollapalooza mainstage during their brief brush with major-label notoriety. Since then there have been numerous changes in approach, membership and even names, but the dedication of Sergeant Scream Yamantanka Eye to exploring strange new sounds and rhythms has remained constant. Vice recently reissued the Boredoms' brilliant Super Roots series, which currently stands at Volume 9 (although volume 4 wasn't released because, of course, the number 4 is evil), so July 2 seems like as good a time as any for a triumphant return to Toronto. The numerically obsessed crew will be using their Phoenix show ($22.50) to prepare for their 77 Drum display in Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York, which takes place July 7 - yep, that's 7/7/07.
Feeling the vibe
Portuguese tribal house hero DJ Vibe will be touching down at This Is London on June 22 for a night of dark, pounding rhythms. He's been mixing records since the early 80s and is considered one of the world's top big-room house DJs as well as a talented producer and remixer. For more info, go to www.thisislondonclub.com.
The annual week of Prism parties for Pride is back, with five club events from June 21 to 24 at a variety of clubs, including the Guvernment complex, the Docks and Fly. The big names this year include Manny Leyman , Tony Moran , Peter Rauhofer and DJ Abel , among others. If you like your beats big and thumping and your boys shirtless and muscled, these will be the parties to hit. To reserve your weekend pass and for more info, go to www.prismtoronto.com.
Everybody Wang Change tonight
Daniel Wang , a cult hero in nu-disco circles as well as left-field electronica, brings his esoteric and eclectic sounds to Crosstown June 9 as part of the Seventh Heaven party ($10 before midnight). Resident DJs Will Munro and Jaime Sin are also on hand with crates full of obscure weird disco records that most of you have never heard.
When Duffs cry
As the very dramatic meltdowns of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan have taught us, the transition from cherubic tweendom to fully fledged nubile womanhood can be pretty rough for underage pop stars. Whether it's because of her established success in other areas (acting, the sparkly schmatte business) or because she's controlled by robots - er, blessed with a strong and supportive family - young bubble-gum diva Hilary Duff has managed to keep it together thus far. At least she's maintained a positive public image and held onto her dignity (even in the face of her breakup with Joel Madden), which just happens to be the title of her new, "I'm a mature artist now" album. See whether Duff's composure breaks down onstage when she tantalizes teens with tunes from Dignity at the Air Canada Centre July 21 ($46-$60).