Navigating North By Northeast
The artist showcase component of this year's North By Northeast Festival And Conference takes place at various downtown clubs. For the most part, bands perform every hour on the hour, from 9 pm to 1 am Thursday through Saturday, with various exceptions. For comprehensive lists of participating artists, venues and specific set times, consult the complete schedule on pages 54, 55 and 56. Visit NOW 's Web site, www.nowtoronto.com, for further coverage and daily reports during the fest, or www.nxne.com, which offers more complete details and updated information. Three-day festival wristbands are available for $22 at various locations including the Edge street-level studios (228 Yonge) and NOW Magazine (189 Church). See NXNE ad, page 51, for full location list. You can also call 416-870-8000 or order online at www.ticketmaster.ca. Rating: NNNNN
Arcade - From the urban exotica of Sydney, Australia, guitar-driven emo rock with hooks and Down Under flair.
audio:sleep - Toronto-based "soundtrack to non-existent movie" ensemble load up the cameras for another bout of live aural cinematics.
Beautiful Senseless - Guelphites spin hushed, dreamy indie pop webs with buoyant trumpet accents.
Mark Bragg & the Black Wedding Band - They East Coaster may look like Elvis Costello, but he's channelling Tom Waits and Neil Young.
Canteen Knockout - This solid roots, pop and rock outfit should impress in their NXNE set.
The Desert Fathers - Copping their name from the early Christian patriarchs of monasticism, the Fathers offer enlightened avant-rock weirdness.
Andre Ethier - Deadly Snakes frontman turns down his amp and leaves the garage for the farm to make some ragged roots rock.
Falconhawk - Calgary's favourite charmingly arty synth-pop power trio, who think guitars are overrated and melodies are king.
The Forms - Brooklyn post-rockers have been tagged with comparisons to Nirvana, Slint and Sunny Day Real Estate.
From Fiction - Liquid-nitro-cold Toronto art/math rockers shake shows with indie moxie.
The Golden Dogs - Lead singer Dave Azzolini's stage manners along with the band's feverish antics and great songs make them a must-see.
Shawn Hewitt - One part angular krautrock, one part throbbing Afro-beat and a cup of folky soul.
The Hitchers - Melodic punk and 50s rock 'n' roll twist around each other in pop with shades of Buddy Holly infectiousness and the Clash's aggro purr.
Honeydogs - The Minneapolis crew leave their alt-country past behind with an ambitious rock opera of an album - can they pull it off as a trio?
I Can Put My Arm Back On, You Can't - These guys promise to be both loud and tight, and someone onstage will be wearing glasses.
Denise James - Those who think the Detroit scene begins with Eminem and ends with the White Stripes really need to see the swingin' Denise James get busy Jackie DeShannon-style.
Kieskagato - Compared to everyone from Radiohead and early Genesis to 70s Miles Davis and the Beta Band. Prog rock, hard rock, retro soul, jazz and a leetle bit of Latin.
Laika & the Cosmonauts - Though still the No. 1 surf band in Finland, they better watch their backs for the quick-picking gremmies honing their chops in Vantaa and Espoo.
Magneta Lane - Grrrl-powered new wave/garage rock four-piece who learned how to rumble in the urban jungle of Toronto.
The Midways - High-energy organ-propelled garage rock party.
Mind of a Squid - Epic, atmospheric space rock, with hints of Morricone.
A Northern Chorus - Glistening shiny dream pop from Hamilton.
NYCSmoke - Philip Glass's pal Howie Statland's gritty new venture - smart, simple Lower East Side four-piece rock.
Queen Bee Jackson - Emo, indie, soul, noisy, delicate, melodic pop that evokes My Bloody Valentine, Nick Drake and Cocteau Twins.
Raising the Fawn - Lush, airy guitar washes and a spine-chilling falsetto set these super-intense T.O. indie rockers in a whole other dimension.
Ratsicule - Ooh la la! Zey are so French and sexy. Deux filles qui dansent et chantent le eurotrash electro avec les pompoms and tres clever lyrics.
Spitfires & Mayflowers - These sex machines disguised as fey hipsters will rain their smorgasmbord of indie pop sounds on concertgoers with a godlike lack of mercy.
Starvin Hungry - Motörhead's Lemmy on a serious Doors binge backed by the Stooges.
Stiffed - Killer Philly rockers ooze sex and punk rawk 'tude. Singer Santi White's a cross between yesterday's Debbie Harry and today's Rachel Nagy.
Volebeats - Rock, funk, punk, country, jazz, R&B - whatever your pleasure, the Volebeats play it.
Vulcan Dub Squad - Shoegazing, 60s garage-psych-rocking, soul-singing novelty suited ambient pranksters.
Waking Eyes - Postmodern rock with a sense of humour and cool costumes.
Like a trippy tribute to Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and Beethoven.
Welcome Karma - T.O. indie rockers with a singer who channels the Shins' James Mercer and a band that sounds like early Pavement.
Mistie - Apparently very popular in their home country of Sweden, metalers Mistie have drawn comparisons to Linkin Park.
Quincy Gold - High-voltage Vancouver riff rockers twang till they bleed.
Dope Poet Society - Heavily politicized underground hiphop, whose songs tackle everything from 9/11 to local politicians.
- Battle-rap-ready femme fatale spits weapons of mass destruction.
The Front - Van city massive represent - this tight live jam-rap outfit's got more rhythm than an atomic clock.
Kobayashi - Montreal sends us an 8- piece live jazz funk hiphop crew.
4th Pyramid - Canada's recent signee to El-P's Def Jux label impressed in his set opening for the recent Murs concert, and should do so again.
Mood Ruff - Hype Winnipeg b-boys are so dedicated, they'll to convince you hiphop started in the prairies.
Skitz - This excitable Toronto MC just wants to "satisfy the average Joe and Josette," but his animated presence might just win over the more sophisticated as well.
Wordsworth - Here's a coup for NXNE, a showcase by badass Brooklyn rhyme-spitter Wordsworth, who'll show you why he's one of the finest MCs to come out of the Lyricist Lounge scene.
Emily Jordan - Hot Vancouver chanteuse's voice box is haunted by Motown. This ain't a show, it's a séance.
Ann Vriend - Edmonton vocalist turns soul on its head, belting out delicate introspection in the form of fire.
Jason Bajada - Montreal alterna-folk crooner blends a shoegazer's history of rock angst and optimistic melancholy into his straight-dealing ditties.
Jill Barber - Stunning up-and-comer with a warm alto and jazzy cabaret accents in lilting acoustic ballads.
Will Hawkins - Singer/songwriter originally hails from the real live Sleepy Hollow. Passionate, emotional Springsteen/Tom Petty-style Americana.
Greg MacPherson - Intelligent folk/punk stylist from the 'Peg who takes on social injustice and fights for the left with his gritty voice and nicely ragged roots-rock tunes.
Royal Wood - T.O. singer/songwriter John Royal Wood Nicholson is like Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, and Tom Waits rolled into one.
Tanis - Creative child from Sydney, Australia, offers up airy-fairy Celtic pop with elements of Indian, folk and funk.
Nathan Wiley - Summerside, PEI's favourite son and CBC darling (and former NOW cover boy), whose roots-inflected songwriting and sweet voice evoke Tom Waits in the country.
Bottleneck - The gorgeous hamonies of Scott Smith and Robyn Carrigan from Vancouver's top twang threat Bottleneck bring to mind the rustic romance of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris - and that's a good thing.
Elliott Brood - They'll tell you they play "death country," but when they cut loose in clubs it's the liveliest ruckus you'll ever hear bashed out of a banjo.
Fembots - Weirdo two-man band deconstructs the dark side of folk music with unconventional instruments.
Hinkley - Rochester psych-country outfit keeps it mellow. Think Wilco meets Death Cab for Cutie.
Hubcap - I guess Ithaca is depressing enough. This band forgoes the melancholy for a solid groove.
Ox - Sudbury's dusty-voiced songwriting savant Mark Browning sounds like he could be the next Woody Guthrie... or Jim Guthrie, at the very least.
The Rizdales - Those longing for the honky-tonk sound of Buck Owens and Hank Snow will be thrilled by this London, Ontario, country crew.
Off The International Radar - Instrumental ambient trio abus Casio keyboards and guitar effects.
toof - Austin beatmaker/bassist Trey D'Amico (aka toof) distills thoughts on topics ranging from LSD to pretty girls in his unique sci-fi disco.
Brazen Riot - Internet-era Swedish hardcore enhanced by electronic additions. True evidence of society's post-Y2K evolution.
- These Regina knuckleheads just became the first non-U.S. band signed to emo/punk powerhouse Jade Tree. Don't tell anyone at the label that Saskatchewan's in Canada.
End This Week With Knives - Hardcore/emo from Vancouver with melodic riffs and lots of screaming.
The Kowalskis - Jumpy, frenetic NYC punk with elastic vocals, catchy hooks and a dark lyrical underbelly.
Pantychrist - Snarling grrrrl punk from Hamilton devoted to proselytizing Pantychristianity. One of them has all her bandmates' faces tattooed on her.
Seis Pistos - How can Kim Fowley-approved punk from Chihuahua, Mexico, not fail to excite?