The top concerts in Toronto in June will range from robotic, futuristic art installations courtesy of Detroit to Toronto's grand-scale SXSW inspired music festival NXNE. Festival season will get into full swing starting next week: Field Trip is back for another go, Luminato is bringing some music to the city, and the Jazz Fest hits us later this month. Whether you're looking for scuzzy NYC noise artists or bearded Mississippi rappers, June has your brightest day or blackest night in the sun.
Before we get started, I'm sorry to say May was a disappointing month in Toronto music missed connections. Is the music so good you creeps have stopped obsessively checking each other out? Lack of intrigue aside, there are still a fair number of hopeful why-the-fuck-not's: Tara from the Avicii show has a fan (who hopefully didn't end up in the hospital), a fit normie guy from Jack Johnson has an admirer, one sleepless Chad VanGaalen lover impressed last week, and a reluctant creeper from the Guvernment admits a MSTRKRFT crush.
Did you have gold/red/green hair at the Elbow show? A backpack at Bombay Bicycle Club? Chat up a stranger at CMW? French sparks were exchanged at Absolute Journey at Rockpile East, and someone wrote a lot about Sheezer playing "Hash Pipe" at Lee's in a post which for some reason I'm having trouble comprehending - guess you had to be there.
Here are the best places to have special musical moments no one understands in Toronto this June.
Die Antwoord / June 4 / 7pm / The Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth Ave.) $41-$47
Should this be in fashion events? I don't know what this duo sounds like - and I've watched their videos.
Scarlett Jane / June 5 / the Drake Hotel / $15.00
From our folk writer Ryan Ayukawa: both Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire, aka Toronto's folk/noir duo, Scarlett Jane, have toured cross-Canada, bringing their "sultry, boot-stompin' magic" and haunting harmonies wherever they play. They perform at the Drake Sarnia's Andrew Austin.
The Unbearable Lightness of Bass / June 6 / 7pm / The Music Gallery / $10
Have you tried the Subpac yet? It's like those John Waters scratch and sniffs but for your body instead of your nose, and for music instead of film. If that doesn't make sense, this Thump article should bring you up to speed on the Subpac bass experience. Prince Nifty, Sunclef, and Bile Sister will perform.
BriefcaseFest 2014 / June 6 & 7 / Silver Dollar & Comfort Zone / $10 for day one, $12 for day two, $20 for both
Via Shazia Khan: after the success of last year's inaugural event, the organizers of BriefcaseFest have resurrected this two-day shindig for 2014 to properly celebrate the inventive, inspiring and often underrated landscape of extreme music in Southern Ontario. Once again, the madness begins at the Silver Dollar on day one - here, you can revel in the sludge-rock innovation of Godstopper, the deafening plod of Demonic Possessor and the harmonically adept prog styling's of Ayathuasca, among others. Day two sinks down to the Comfort Zone for a more out-of-province mix, such as Rochester grindcore Sulaco and Quebec black metal Ordoxe.
Apetechnology / June 7 / 8pm / The White House (277 1/2 Augusta Ave.) / $7
I'm stealing part of Tad's description it will be better at enticing people to this strange, futuristic show than I could be at this hour: "From the crumbling apocalyptic landscape of Detroit, electromechanical sound art collective Apetechnology breathes new life into the decline of the industrial age. Home made electronics, modular synthesizers and a new auto-kalimba birth warped rhythms & haunting drones. Building their own brand of Detroit Retrograde Futurism illuminating the last cries of a self destructed future." Whoah. Local experimental legend Brian Ruryk is opening, as are Giant Claw and Toblerone Boys.
Field Trip / June 7-8 / Fort York: Garrison Common (250 Fort York Blvd.) / $65--$200
Of course Field Trip is coming back for year two: Arts & Crafts made tons of people happy last year at Fork York Garrison Common. Field Trip will return to the same sod June 7th & 8th, and Broken Social Scene are playing again - shocking, I know - along with Interpol, The Kills, The Constantines (back together!), Chvches, Shad, Austra, A Tribe Called Red, and more. Field Trip also promises the most free hugs per non-EDM festival in the GTA. Various ticket packages are available here.
Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tanya Tagaq / June 10 / David Pecaut Square / Free
There's nothing about contemporary Yellowknife throat singer Tanya Tagaq that isn't mind blowing. Her voice runs from guttural growls to sensual R&B hooks emphasized by high pitched notes and, eventually, bone chilling screams. You'll want to check her feet for effects pedals, but there won't be any - this is amazing magic, and it's free thanks to Luminato. Check out our review of her show with Lido Pimienta last month here.
Pharmakon / June 12 / 9pm / S.H.I.B.G.B's / 225 Geary Ave (Middle Door) / $10
Sacred Bones has posted one of my favorite quotes of all time in relation to a band on their page for NYC noise/experimental artist Pharmakon: "Her music may be as cuddly as a trepanning drill." Fans of the weird and all things scuzz, art, and underground will want to check this one out. SINS and Spore are also on the line up, so you know this night is going to be memories.
NXNE / multiple venues / June 13 - 22
NXNE (like SXSW but Canadian, possibly with the same amount of flannel shirts) will pull a ton of bands into TO including Spoon, St. Vincent, Ryan Hemsworth, Le1f, Swans, Future Islands, Perfect Pussy, Spiritualized, and way more for a week of multi-venue concerts here and the usual big free shows at Yonge & Dundas. Festivals of this scale can be a delirious and curious experience (why would anyone book the Pizza Underground?), but that's what alcohol is for. There will also be panels, film, comedy, and art. Learn all about tickets and wristbands here, and don't forget to brush up on our guide to staying sane at Yonge & Dundas Square. We'll post our full previews soon.
Elvis Costello / June 14 / 7pm / all ages / $35-99
Jazz.FM91 plays this jazz version of "Watching the Detectives" that is absolutely disturbing. I rarely ever say this about music that wasn't made by four plaid-shirt wearing garage-chillers but that song is awful, and it's all I can think about now when I see Elvis Costello's name (that and Bret Easton Ellis). This is getting personal so I'll quit griping here - Costello's in town and it's all ages, so bring your mini Elvis's (who might love that jazz re-do, who knows).
Rick Ross / June 15 / 8pm / Sound Academy (11 Polson St) / $65
Recent quote from beardly, Grammy-nominated hip hop artist Rick Ross' Twitter: "We good business." Nothing to add to that.
Black Flag / June 19 / CODA / $26
Via Shazia Khan: Well, this should be... interesting? Since their reformation last year, punk icons Black Flag have been mired in drama, attempting to sue their former bandmates in FLAG, firing their lead singer on stage and releasing an album (What The...) panned by both critics and fans. Let's see if new singer Mike Vallely can save this reunion from utter catastrophe at CODA on June 19 - he's already vowed to never perform any of the material off of What The..., so that's a step in the right direction. They'll be joined by Greg Ginn's experimental electronic project Hor and Brooklyn punks Cinema Cinema.
Lauren Hill / June 21 / 8pm / Sound Academy (11 Polson St.) / $60
Woman is a legend - like breath-catch-in-throat when she hits the stage legend. She's hitting Toronto during NXNE's big weekend, so show her some love.
Toronto Jazz Fest / multiple venues / June 19 - 28
Can't not give a shout out to Toronto Jazz Fest, where over 1,500 bands and artists will perform at 40 venues across the city. We'll post our full preview later, but for now check out the line up on their website for acts like Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, and Chaka Khan.
Beck / June 27 / 7pm / Sony Centre (1 Front St. East) / $50-80
Opinions in my friends pool are divided on the quality of the new Beck album Morning Phase. I must have been born a little too late, because people having opinions on Beck strikes me as fishy.
Photo of Tanya Tagaq by Alejandro Santiago
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO