Joss Stone, October 30
While teenage Brit-soul sensation Joss Stone showed she has what it takes for overnight stardom at the invitation-only showcase for industry playas at Revival last Thursday, her brief appearance there and on Toronto One's Toronto Show the next night revealed the shortcomings of her limited stage experience and woefully mediocre backing band. There's no question the girl can sing, but she's got a lot to learn about pacing, movement and interacting with an audience. Giggling uncontrollably after each tune may be charming for a 16-year-old, but Stone will need some coaching on her between-song banter if she plans to continue performing.
Future guest performers on the Toronto Show include the Constantines (November 21), the Dears (November 27), Buck 65 (November 28), the New Deal and the Golden Dogs (December 11) and Ron Sexsmith (December 12). For free tickets to live tapings, visit www.thetorontoshow.com or call 416-362-4705.
Scandalnavia, November 2
Proto-electro-punk five-piece Scandalnavia provided the perfect kitten-with-a-whip finale for last week's Hysteria fest of women's art at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre . The all-queer four-grrrls-and-a-sissy-boy combo put the garage back in garage band - or maybe rec room is more apt, since they still have the shakiness of brand-newbies. They may not be the most polished (or professional) band, but their obvious excitement about performing is infectious, their super lo-fi electro-infused punk rock sound is charming and they've got a killer secret weapon in 21-year-old Oshawa-bred tomboy frontwoman Natasha Pike . One of the best lady MCs we've seen in these parts, Pike fuses the smart-aleck in-your-face attitude of the Beasties with the whimsical storytelling skillz of Buck 65. Keep an eye - and ear - out.
NXNE 2004 calling
Sure it's only November, but the North By Northeast Music Festival And Conference (NXNE) is already gearing up for the 10th-anniversary edition of Canada's largest music summit, set for June 10-12, 2004. Unsigned artists hoping to showcase at what promises to be NXNE's biggest blowout yet need to send in their music demos postmarked no later than December 31. For detailed information about application and demo submissions, check out the NXNE home page at www.nxne.com.