Our music underground's annual rite of spring is upon us: the Toronto Thaw Festival, now in its third year. The Telephone Explosion Records organizers have stuck to fundamentals: 100 per cent local, lineups organized by "flow" rather than draw, and door money split equally between bands. Above all, they maintain one overriding principle: to showcase the scene's vibrant diversity. So this year they're allowing other labels and promoters to curate their own showcases. We've picked the highlights. (All shows $10 at the door.)
BELIEFS, BREEZE, ELSA, BLACK PARADISE and DJ JOSH V at Blk Box Theatre (1087 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, May 2), 9 pm.
Labels: Hand Drawn Dracula and One Big Silence
If the gushing reviews of Beliefs' self-titled debut are to be trusted, there's still a big appetite for shoegaze. And the tremolo-heavy, reverb-rich dream-pop warmth that Beliefs have perfected sounds timeless.
S.H.I.T., HASSLER, VIOLENT FUTURE, SPEARHEAD and ABSOLUT at Rancho Relaxo (300 College), Friday (May 3), 9 pm.
Promoter: Stuck in the City
A built-in rebuttal to anyone who accuses Thaw of defining "indie rock" narrowly, this lineup of local punk bands offers a heavy dose of energy. The headliners display the same shit-kicking irreverence their name suggests, so expect intensity.
SINS, TARANTULA X, HUSSY, MASS HORNS, BIBLICAL, LICE and DJ KONTRAVOID at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), Saturday (May 4), 9 pm.
Label: Pretty Pretty Records
Must-See: Tarantula X
Pretty Pretty is building a micro-scene of mysterious electro-buzz acts, so it's the perfect label to organize a dance party at the infamously shady Comfort Zone. Dark dance star-in-waiting Tarantula X leads a loaded lineup.