Out and About
It’s Festival Time in Toronto – NXNE / Pride Toronto
Once June hits, one would be hard pressed not to find something to do any weekend in Toronto from now until the end of summer. This weekend sees a cross over of NXNE, Luminato, Pride, and the Jazz Festival, with events happening in all parts of the city.
I’ll be posting a couple of blog updates with what I’ve been up to over the past couple of days.
Thursday June 18th – NXNE/Pride Music Showcase at Coalition
Pride Toronto and NXNE first collaborated on event last year to celebrate both WorldPride and the 20th anniversary of NXNE. This year the two organizations partnered again to present a female-focused line up of local bands at Coalition in Kensington Market.
The evening began with three relatively new acts, who were all very well received by their friends, family and fans who came out to support them. The night began with Damage Over Time, who played a good mix of riot-gurl covers and their own originals. A record release is in the works, and if you happened to miss them, they will be performing on Sunday June 28th at the Alterna-Queer stage at Pride Toronto. Likewise, the second act Bone Donor will also be playing that same stage, and another group not to be missed. They also have a great repertoire of both originals and covers, falling somewhere between the Sonics, Stooges, and Patti Smith. Vocalist Bink Dally Rue and the rest of the motley crew are true rock n rollers!
Sandwiched right in the middle of the five band showcase was Rough Spells, playing just their second gig ever. The first time I heard them, a couple of their songs brought to mind Rough Trade. Coincidence? Take a listen and see if you hear a young Carole Pope in Sarena Sairan’s vocals. Catch them soon! The next two acts shared a couple members between the two. Unfortunately much of the crowd that came out to see the first three acts didn’t stick around for the last two, and it didn’t appear either Gen Gorman or Sista Fista had their fan based out for support. Either way they both performed fun sets, Gen Gorman performing several tunes from their forthcoming album. Sista Fista were there to party, and mad several jokes about how the sparse crowd made it seem more like a band practice than a show. Either way, they all seemed to be having fun, which is what it’s all about.
DJ Triple-X spun an eclectic mix of tunes between sets, and Aviva The Mirage performed a terrific burlesque number to the Beatle’s “Helter Skelter”. Pup Drag Queen Boa arrived shortly after 10pm to host and terrorize the crowd. A few too many pre-drinks and lack of sleep gave her an added edge,, but with failing memory lapses. She seemed in a dizzy tizzzy trying to keep up with the program, often introducing and thanking the bands with anything but their correct names. She also performed a couple of numbers between sets, Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation”, which she seemed to take true to heart this night.
Then next weekend Pride Toronto will once again be the biggest outdoor street party of the year, shutting down the Church-Wellesley area to pedestrian traffic only, eclectic programming at Yonge-Dundas Square all weekend long, and too many official and unofficial parties happening everywhere.
Here are a few events to attend on each of the three days during Pride weekend.
Friday June 19th – M for Manning NXNE Showcase presented by M for Montreal
Friday June 19th – Luminato’s Unsound Toronto at the Hearn Generating Station
Saturday June 20th – NXNE Free Music Series at Yonge-Dundas Square
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.