Frankie Flowers is playing at the North by Northeast music festival in Toronto

Our top 10 shows to check out at the NXNE music festival starting right now

North by Northeast or just NXNE is a phenomenal Toronto tradition and a great opportunity to check out the latest and greatest in new music crammed into a few short days from June 12-16. Imagine the possibility for greatness when 280 artists from around the world are featured in 20 downtown venues. To check out the bands, music fans need to buy a festival pass to see whatever they want whenever they want, or a pass for a particular venue and all the acts playing that night. Either way, it’s going to be a riot. For the full schedule head to the festival website. Below, we highlight just 10 of our favourite shows we will be checking out this weekend.

Harmony on Mars: Wednesday, June 12 @ Ground Control, 11 p.m.

Kick off your NXNE tonight with avant-garde psychedelic punk duo Harmony on Mars, otherwise known as brothers Maxwell and Jackson White. The guys defy convention with influences ranging from David Lynch to J.J. Cale. Hailing from Toronto and Montreal, they push sonic boundaries with an eclectic sound this washes over you and seeps into your soul. This show is also a great opportunity to check out the wicked cool new Ground Control bar and live music venue in Parkdale.

 

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Pop Montreal Showcase: Thursday, June 13 @ Baby G, 11 p.m.

Emerging Canadian artist YUNG LEO, recently named iHeartRadio’s “Future Star” and Roger’s “One to Watch,” is making waves with her single “Habit” charting at #25 and over 500,000 streams on Spotify. Known for her authentic sound and collaborations with notable producers, she’s set to release new singles and an EP with a brighter, feel-good vibe.

 

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Tractor Beam: Thursday, June 13 @ Handlebar, 8 p.m.

NYC-based, Toronto-raised producer Sasha Balazic leads post-folk project Tractor Beam, which debuted its LP Turtles All The Way in 2023. Featured in Exclaim! mag and CBC, Tractor Beam’s music blends freak folk and 2000s indie rock. For fans of Mac Demarco, and similar artists.

Ballsy: Thursday, June 13 @ Baby G, 8 p.m.

Isabelle Banos, Caveboy’s synth-bassist, launches her solo project Ballsy, blending pop-punk, grunge, and indie rock with raw teen angst and nostalgic vibes. Expect infectious hooks and unfiltered emotion from this Montreal-based artist at the Pop Montreal Showcase.

 

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Seyblu and Divine Lightbody, June 12 @ Jean Darlene Piano Room

Hailing from a small town Canada, Seyblu is a vocal powerhouse who effortlessly combines jazz and R&B, dazzling audiences with her unique style and dynamic performances. Her latest single, “Honest,” dives into the theme of self-discovery with catchy beats, layered rhythms, and a mesmerizing melody that speaks to the struggle of self-truth. And Jean Darlene Piano Room is the perfect venue, and has a wicked lineup including the awesome Divine Lightbody up at midnight. Brampton’s own is captivating the music world with her soulful R&B vocals and magnetic stage presence, first showcased on CTV reality-TV show The Launch. Classically trained and multi-instrumental, she blends jazz, R&B, reggae, and gospel influences to create a fresh, divine sound that is all her own.

Chris Pierce: Thursday, June 13 @ Painted Lady, 9 p.m.

From Savannah, GA, Chris Pierce seems destined for pop stardom. In just three years, he’s charted Top 15 hits across Europe, America, Australia, and Canada, with over 1 million streams for an album yet to be released. This guy, who has a whole thing about running for president of the United States, is sure to be an absolute blast for those who want a dance party as part of their NXNE experience.

Mouraine: Friday, June 14 @ The Smith House Bar (upstairs), 11 p.m.

Hailing from North Edmonton and North Sudan, Mouraine is a rising star in the making. With his EP Bigger Dreams earning praise from Complex, CBC, and more, he’s on the brink of a breakthrough with his full-length album In Search of Gold. Collaborating with producer duo deadmen and featuring artists like JRDN and Westside Boogie, Mouraine’s music blends intimate vulnerability with bold lyricism and colossal beats.

 

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Pony Girl: Friday, June 14 @ The Garrison, 11 p.m.

Pony Girl, the artpop wizards from Ottawa-Hull, enchant audiences with their unique, prismatic sound and mesmerizing live performances. This is just off-the-wall enough to be fascinating and just groovy enough to make you move. The band has been celebrate for their album Enny One Wil Love You earning kudos from CBC Radio and Exclaim! And their song “Age of Anxious” won Single of the Year at the Capital Music Awards.

Barren Womb: Friday, June 14 @ Bovine Sex Club, 10 p.m.

NXNE is at its best when uncovering loud and brash rockers especially in legendary venues like the Bovine Sex Club. This Friday, check out Nordic noise rock duo Barren Womb, hailing from Trondheim, Norway. The band has been shaking the scene since 2011 with their minimalist approach, earsplitting volume, and experimental flair. These guys have four critically-acclaimed albums, and will be sure to blow your eardrums with a killer live show.

 

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Frankie Flowers, Friday, June 14 @ Ground Control, 9 p.m.

Frankie Flowers, out of Waterloo, blends dark-wave and post-punk influences to create a genre-bending sound that is garnering some serious attention. Opening for Kennyhoopla on his Survivor’s Guilt tour and has been feature on everything from Hockey Night in Canada to Indie 88’s Songs You Need To Discover. Check out Frankie Flowers at NXNE now, so you can say you were there when…

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