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  • Writer's pictureROCK IS DEAD

North By Northeast 2019

Toronto’s annual North By Northeast festival (NXNE) came to a close this weekend with a huge party which shut down Young & Dundas Square. NXNE, which is the northern sister festival to Austin’s iconic South By Southwest (SXSW), lasted for two weeks this year. Throughout the fest, clubs hosted a variety of shows featuring up and coming artists from all over the world. The festival also saw showcases hosted by notable Canadian musicians who would curate shows held at legendary institutions like The Horsehoe Tavern, Rivoli or The Bovine.

One of the inaugural events at this years NXNE, was the Royal Mountain Records‘ Backyard BBQ held in the Junction. This mid-afternoon into early evening party saw performances by Dizzy, Haviah Mighty, a surprise slot by Hollerado, and many more. A very warm day and a nice sunset to close out the performances, made this event the perfect beginning for the next two weeks.

The festival’s close saw Young & Dundas Square closed off for the weekend, and the addition of two stages this year. Highlights from this weekend included headliners Santigold, Cold War Kids and 88GLAM, including smaller acts like Toronto’s own Fade Awaays, and Windsor’s The Blue Stones.

Both Fade Awaays and The Blue Stones were excellent choices to represent rock n’roll this weekend. The Blue Stones have been garnering recent attention south of the border since the release of last years album Black Holes. They currently have two singles on the radio; Be My Fire and Black Holes (Solid Ground), (the latter which we didn’t get to hear because of technical issues cutting their set short).

Fade Awaays on the other hand still seem like they are finding their success here in Ontario. They recently killed it at their Canadian Music Week show, and also had a chance to open up for The Beaches shortly after. The foursome, rocked the NXNE small stage this weekend, and still had the ability to make you feel like you were jammed in a club at midnight on a Saturday night (despite it being outdoors and at four pm). These guys have a great dynamic amongst them, with multiple members of the band sharing lead vocals, high energy, and a track that will be my personal song for the summer; She Don't Know Why. This song gives off familiar vibes to those singles that would play over the speakers in Hollister back in 2006. The only difference being, this song is actually good.

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