Club Land schedule and venues announced

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A Triple A-List of Canadian musicians is busy programming their Curators’ Series shows for NXNE and we now have venues and dates for their shows.

Watch here for details on what great up-and-coming bands they program as Canada’s best give their picks on who will be the Next Big Thing to emerge. NXNE’s Tastemakers are also booking their nights, pouring through a ton of submissions to local music associations  or using all of their contacts in the industry to find Canada’s best emerging talent.

And remember, priority access to all Club Land shows is available with a low-price, all-in $29 NXNE Club Land wristband, available now. All NXNE Club Land venues will have extended, 4 last call throughout all 10 days of NXNE, except for the Dakota and the Cameron House. Sleep later, enjoy great live music now.

Saturday, June 9

Sum 41’s Cone brings his best bets to the Bovine Sex Club.

Sunday, June 10

Ralph rules The Garrison.

Tika takes over The Baby G.

Monday, June 11

Weaves’ Jasmyn Burke brings it to The Baby G.

Terra Lightfoot lifts off at The Dakota.

Dan Burke hog ties the Horseshoe Tavern for much of the week.

Tuesday, June 12

 Blue Rodeo’s  Jim Cuddy programs one of the bars that launched his career at the Horseshoe.

Dilly Dally’s Katie Monks makes it happen at The Baby G.

July Talk’s Peter Dreimanis dishes it up at the Dakota.

Kritty from Hex and the No Means Collective creates an All Ages show at the Hideout.

Wednesday, June 13

 The Pursuit of Happiness’s Moe Berg crams the Cameron House.

Prairie power, Sask Music brings the best from the West as Saskatchewan takes over the Dakota.

Legendry hip hop pioneer, K-os gets to The Garrison.

Dan Burke is back at the Horseshoe.

Odario (Grand Analog) rams the Rivoli.

Thursday, June 14

Keswick-kingpins, The Elwins do a late show at The Dakota.

July Talk’s Leah Fay returns as NXNE Curator at the Garrison.

Music NL brings the best of the Rock and Labrador to the Rivoli.

Saya selects at The Libertine.

Prince Josh from Prince Innocence programs at Unlovable.

Friday, June 15

 Cadence Weapon kicks it at the The Baby G.

A.Side x Secret Songs present The Garrison featuring swim good now, RYAN Playground, Harrison, Shagabond, beat sampras and a super secret surprise special guest

Dan Burke at the Horseshoe.

City of Brampton rocks the Rivoli.

Saturday, June 16

 Rock legend Ian Blurton blasts the Bovine Sex Club.

Female Treble books a day show at Unlovable.

Hip hop collective Stay Out Late heats up the Hideout.

 Dan Burke brings it home at the Horseshoe.



NXNE announces the 2018 Club Land Curators and second edition of Game Land. The Club Land Curator series returns from June 10-16 at participating venues across Toronto’s downtown core with Game Land once again kicking off the festival June 8-10, at The Concert Hall (888 Yonge St).
“We’re thrilled to have top Canadian artists share the spotlight with up-and-coming acts that they believe in. We think this is a great refresh for the club hopping wristband that has been an essential part of NXNE since 1995,” states Michael Hollett, NXNE Founder / President.
Club Land
The Club Land Curators Series, programmed by leading Canadian musicians, has expanded with over 30 shows throughout the festival week. Club crawlers can look forward to a diverse range of programming including art installations, emerging artist showcases, late night DJ sets and after parties, all in Toronto’s most cherished venues. The Curator series aims to encourage music fans alike to club hop across the city and witness their favourite artists transform the showcase experience. Get priority access to all shows with an affordable NXNE wristband. For more info visit here.
2018 Curators and Tastemakers are:

Leah Fay (July Talk)

Peter Dreimanis (July Talk)


Jasmyn Burke (Weaves)

Odario Williams (CBC, Grand Analog)

Katie Monks (Dilly Dally)

Cadence Weapon

Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo)

Cone (Sum 41)

Terra Lightfoot

Ian Blurton (Change of Heart)

Moe Berg (Pursuit of Happiness)


Prince Josh (Prince Innocence)

The Elwins


Josephine Cruz (Jayemkayem, ComplexCA) 

Kritty Uranowski (Hex, Rock Camp for Girls)

Dan Burke (Promoter)

A. Side

The City of Brampton

Music NL

Sask Music

Female Treble


Participating venues:


Baby G

Horseshoe Tavern

The Dakota Tavern



The Hideout


Cameron House


The Monarch Tavern


Sneaky Dee’s

Hard Luck

Comedy bar


Game Land

The three-day live eSports extravaganza will have hundreds in attendance and tens of thousands viewing online via NXNE’s  twitch channel. The free event is open to the public and will feature an Exhibitor zone, public gaming stations for DBZF, SFV, Smash Bros. and Fortnite, and a VIP Lounge where top players, musicians, influencers and leaders will come together to play and compete in the opening weekend events.


"NXNE has celebrated new and exciting industries since its inception and this year we're building on that. With the inaugural Game Land last year, we ushered the burgeoning esports and gaming worlds into the heart of Toronto, and look forward to continuing to bridge the gap between casual and veteran gamers, by inviting everyone to come check out the 2018 edition," Michael Hollett, NXNE Founder and President shares.


Game Land features:

  • Party brawler Super Smash Bros, duke it out as classic Nintendo characters like Mario, Link and Zelda while earning a chance at the prize pool
  • Street Fighter V
  • Highly anticipated Dragon Ball FighterZ showcasing visually explosive battles

With some of the most intense no-holds-barred fighting game action currently out there it's sure to be an entertaining event for both viewers/attendees in person, but online as well. Registration is available here: For more info visit here.
Stay tuned for further announcements on programming, including this year’s festival village line-up at YDS June 15-17. 



NXNE Staff Top Albums for 2018, first up, Festival Founder Michael Hollett's picks


Credit: Danilo Ferron - Blue Maroon Media

1 – DANIEL CAESAR – Freudian – Sorry OVO but the next big star out of Toronto won’t be on Drake’s hit making label. He’s Daniel Caesar, and we’ve had our eyes on this smooth singing soul star for years. NXNE was proud to present a relatively unknown Caesar in 2016 but with two Grammy nominations and a killer debut disc, he’s not a secret anymore.

2 -  ST. VINCENT, Masseducation – St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is well on her way to superstar status with her consistently impressive and challenging art rock. She’s an amazing live performer, her 2014 sets first at SXSW and then at NXNE were two of my live show highlights of that year. Clark enlisted production ace Jack Antonoff, who played NXNE 2017 with his awesome band Bleachers, to create an irresistible, beat blasting aural attack.

3 – KENDRICK LAMAR, Damn – Kendrick Lamar was already too big to be an opener when he took the stage in support of Kanye West’s somewhat insane 2013 Yeesus tour and Lamar’s ascension hasn’t slowed a bit. He’s back, a little angrier but just as essential with 2017’s Damn.

4 – SZA, Ctrl -- Languorous, luscious soul-infused rap from by rising star Solana Gugu Rowe, SZA. After a few promising EPs, SZA’s 2017 debut full disc is a rich and rewarding ride through beat-rich soul sounds.

5 – IBEYI, Ash – Paris-based twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kiande Diaz create the kind of beautiful harmonies that only siblings seem capable of. Daughters of the late, Grammy winning Buena Vista Social Club percussionist, Anga Diaz, it’s no surprise that haunting rhythms are at the core of this lush sound sung in English, French, Spanish and Yoruba with plenty political punch. Ibeyi’s 2015 set at NXNE was a highlight of the festival and 2016 NXNE Alumni Kamasi Washington helps out on this excellent release.

6 – ARCADE FIRE, Everything Now – Sure, at one time, critical darlings, Montreal’s Arcade Fire seemed incapable of a making a misstep. Now, not so much. Perhaps they were a little -- pick one -- precious, cocky, arrogant, over-confidant, tone deaf, on how they rolled out their latest release and the under-attended tour that promoted it. But Everything Now is a great disc from a band that still powerfully and poetically pushes boundaries.

7 – CURTIS HARDING, Face Your Fear  -- Soul-sational song stylings is an excellent follow-up to his 2014 Soul Power debut.  His recent Toronto gig at Velvet Underground was a stunner. This talented singer has worked with Cee Lo Green on backup vocals and songwriting and has also collaborated with edgy Atlanta noise rockers, the Black Lips.  Maybe even better than Leon Bridges in the Soul Olympics.

8 – JACKIE SHANE, Any Other Way – Fantastic that amazing transgender music pioneer Jackie Shane is finally getting the praise she deserves. Shane left her US home and became a soul singing sensation in Toronto’s Yonge Street area clubs in the 60s. This remarkable collection of re-releases and previously lost tracks makes me think pre-British invasion Toronto was way cooler than I thought.

9 – ALVVAYS, Antisociallites – Bright and jangly power pop with a subtle edge. A hook rich feast that highlights lead singer Molly Rankin’s great vocals. This East Coast bred-band made their Toronto debut at a 2014 NXNE Mod Club gig.

10 – THE SADIES, Northern Passages – One of Canada’s most consistent music makers, a great collection of country-surf-punk, a chaotic, compelling collision of influences.

NXNE remembers Gord Downie


NXNE joins Canada in mourning the loss of our great friend, amazing talent and activist, Gord Downie who passed away Tuesday night. Our thoughts are with Gord's family. Among other things, Gord was always a mentor of up-and-coming bands and he was always very supportive of NXNE. The Tragically Hip did a "secret show" for charity during NXNE's first year in 1995. And Gord and his band The Country of Miracles were the first band ever to play Yonge Dundas Square when it opened and NXNE was proud to present him. Gord also played club shows for the festival and he also regularly played our White Ribbon Fundraiser shows to fight male violence against women. We are forever grateful for everything Gord Downie did with us and for all of Canada in his remarkable life. 

RIP dear Gord. NXNE founder Michael Hollett remembers his friend and teammate in the following article.


The first time I played hockey with Gord Downie was probably in 1991 in a Monday morning pick up game, largely populated by musicians that still endures to this day. Gord and I had become acquainted as we both explored the “checkerboard floors” of Toronto’s emerging Queen Street music scene, he with The Tragically Hip as they made their name, and me trying to tell the story of all the amazing music in my weekly, NOW Magazine.

But an intimacy is gained in the dressing room and on the ice that can be deeper than snatched and shouted conversations in a crowded club. You never would have guessed Gord was fronting a band on stellar trajectory that autumn day in the early 90s. I would go on to play plenty of hockey with Gord and he was always the same in the room, one of the quiet ones, just another teammate lacing up his skates and listening to the trash talk, not a rah rah or look-at-me guy. He was almost exclusively a goalie, fitting for this contemplative man, biding his time “at the loneliest end of therink” but this day he was playing out.

We now wear full equipment in the Monday game but back then skaters wore winter gloves on their hands and baseball caps instead of helmets on their heads. I remember looking across at Gord and being a little stunned as he jammed newspapers into his jeans to act as shin pads and taped them to his legs. Talk about old school.

While Gord was a pioneer in many ways, he was old school in terms of core values like loyalty, especially to his family, friends and, his country. He had a strong sense of right and wrong and Canada was reminded of that as he used his last months on Earth to demand we all do a better job at reconciliation with indigenous people. Gord was always a good guy to have on your side. He had a smile that could protect you like an umbrella on a stormy day and he shared it generously.

But he was no pushover and could get prickly when NOW have gave his band a crummy review, even though he respected that I refused to tell my journalists what to write. The only time he was ever actually grumpy with me was at our annual playoff hockey pool when I chose his beloved, then Boston Bruin, Joe Thornton before he could.

I’ll never forget when Gord met Thornton for the first time. It was back stage at Hamilton Place and the Hip hadjust played a killer set -- small room for them right? -- in the summer of 1997. Thornton was the top draft choice that year, picked by Gord’s favourite Boston Bruins. I was talking with Joe when Gord came into the room, he unleashed that magnificent smile and made an hesitant beeline towards the young hockey player. It was is if the star was star struck. In a room crowded with friends and fans he could only see Joe. I introduced them and Gord was shy and close to  speechless, he just kept muttering, “Joe Thornton, number one NHL pick for the Boston Bruins.”

That was Gord, so filled wonderment and delight at life and all of its possibilities that it makes his early departure from this mortal coil all the sadder.

There are so many things to celebrate about Gord’s life but one is what a great role model he was for other musicians. I went on the road with Gord and the Hip to write a cover story for NOW on their legendary 1993, Another Roadside Attraction tour. The tongue-in-cheek backstage joke was that Gord secretly wanted to be in Eric’s Trip, one of the openers on a jam packed bill. Gord was always side stage each night for the band’s performance and of course they were delighted. Gord and the Hip always treated opening acts, and new bands in general, like peers, special guests at their shows. I think their example has helped set the bar for other Canadian acts as they become successful and remember to never forget where they came from.

Gord and I were briefly business partners, he, among others, helped me launch an ill-fated alternative newsweekly in Ottawa in 1998 called Capital City. We talked a lot leading up to the paper’s launch and I think he was more stimulated by my ambition and dreaming than the prospect of a big return on his investment. (Good thing because the paper didn’t last the year). But in our discussions I learned of his love and respect for his father Edgar, that’s Gord’s middle name. Edgar was a hard working salesperson, among other things, and he had clearly given his son a moral code to aspire to. Gord’s love of his father and commitment to the values he espoused was moving and monumental. Gord and his family were regularly with his father before he passed the summer before Gord we all learned of his own terminal illness. Commitment was fundamental to Gord and he took it very seriously.

You could say he was a solid guy.

We often ran into each other in our shared Riverdale neighbourhood after walking our kids to school, enjoying the exhale of having performed our parental duties and getting ready for the rest of our day. I know he cherished those walks with his kids as much as I did with mine.

It hurts to write these words and to use the past tense to speak of someone so alive and so important to my world and that of so many millions of others. So let me share an image I hope will make you smile. Gord moved a few times when he lived in the east end and briefly had a home on the edge of Withrow Park in Riverdale, site of an excellent outdoor rink. Like I said, he didn’t need to be the centre of attention, especially on the ice and he didn’t want to draw the spotlight to himself, he just wanted to play. So he’d put on his full goalie equipment, including his mask at home and slip slide from his house to the rink in the park, another anonymous Canadian, just another guy to his fellow skaters playing the game he loved in the country that meant everything to him. Well Gord, you mean everything to all of us and our hearts may break but our love for you will never bend.

Rest in peace dear friend.




NXNE announces 2018 dates, bringing back free, live music to Yonge and Dundas

NXNE is excited to announce we are bringing free, live music back to Yonge and Dundas this summer.

NXNE is excited to announce we are bringing free, live music back to Yonge and Dundas this summer.

North by Northeast (NXNE) is pleased to announce the 2018 edition will be held June 8-17. Now in its 24th year, the festival returns to Toronto’s downtown epicenter, Yonge-Dundas with free outdoor programming June 15-17. NXNE will transform Yonge Street into a festival village throughout the weekend to host free concerts, NXNE talk sessions and comedy shows.

In addition, the festival will expand the Club Land - Curator Series throughout the week. Leading Canadian musicians will host and curate showcases across the city at dozens of venues and clubs.

Game Land kicks off NXNE returning June 8-10, and will take place in a unique downtown Toronto venue. The three-day live eSports extravaganza will have hundreds in attendance and tens of thousands viewing online via NXNE’s Twitch channel.

“We at North by Northeast have always loved presenting amazing new music at Canada’s most exciting intersection, free of charge. And NXNE’s fans and supporters have been clear they love shows on Yonge Street, even miss them. So we’re bringing the music back to the centre of the city, bigger and better,” says Michael Hollett, NXNE Founder.

Stay tuned for additional announcements regarding NXNE in the upcoming months.