More than 450 bands showcased across city



Techno punk duo Woodhands play the Comfort Zone on Friday night as part of North By Northeast. For more details, log on to


Get ready to rock! The North By Northeast music and film festival and conference gets underway today with more than 450 bands set to perform in 30 clubs across the city.


Details about music showcases, which kick off tomorrow, and other events can be found on the NXNE website. Metro’s list of must-see acts includes:

• Serena Ryder (with Jeremy Fisher), Danforth Music Hall, Thursday, 8 p.m.

This Millbrook, Ont., singer/songwriter has a powerful, rafter shaking voice, made for the kind of wonderfully bluesy, country pop she belts out. This is a chance to hear what she can do with a great venue. (Only the first 50 NXNE wristband holders will be admitted.)

• Les Breastfeeders, The Boat, Thursday, 10 p.m.

Sacre bleu! Bringing a little Montreal “Je ne sais pas” to Toronto, this fun, flamboyant group plays a supercharged vintage ‘60s French pop that rocks so hard you won’t even notice the subtitles.

• MC Abdominal, The Boat, Thursday, 12 p.m.

Stick around The Boat a little later Thursday night for the amazing rhymes of MC Abdominal. This guy is a rapid fire wit machine, with seriously funky beats, and his crowd pleasing Toronto rap TOed comes Mayor Miller approved.

• Old Soul, Horseshoe Tavern, Thursday, 1 a.m.

This group’s infamous eight-member live shows routinely reach that state of critical mass only experienced at out of control house parties. Think Beach Boys meets The Kinks, meets a mariachi band, meets tequila shots. Take Friday off work and be there.

• Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland, Lee’s Palace, Thursday, 2 a.m.

Anyone with an ounce of emotion left after a bill of fantastic folksy songwriters will surely have it stripped away when these two take the stage to combine their equally powerfully ability to tear your heart out. Worth staying out past last call.

• Rock Plaza Central, Lee’s Palace, Friday, 11 p.m.

RPC is folk-pop music, with a touch of Waits-ian saloon cabaret. The seven-piece combines brass, banjo, violin and Chris Eaton’s distinct vocals to create an intoxicating sound. RPC’s fantastic concept album about robotic horses only improves when performed live.

• Action Makes, Silver Dollar, Friday, midnight.

With a punk sensibility that’s low on fancy and high on blinding ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll right from the gut, these guys are representative of the great Toronto underground garage scene being highlighted at the Silver Dollar during NXNE.

• Woodhands, Comfort Zone, Friday, 1 a.m.

This awesome techno punk duo always electrifies the dance floor with its crazy energy and raw sweaty nerd appeal. Dan Werb’s screaming vocals and gyrating key-tar playing have been known to induce a frenzy in unsuspecting women in attendance. A must see.

• ThunderHeist, The Drake Hotel, Saturday, 11 p.m.

Seriously sexy MC work from the lady known as Isis and deep club beats from her partner Grahm should get even the Drake’s notoriously sleepy crowd moving and shaking. Part of the Pop Montreal NXNE showcase that includes Yo Majesty and Lesbians On Ecstasy.

•You Say Party! We Say Die!, Horseshoe Tavern, Saturday, midnight.

The buzz surrounding this Vancouver band is well earned. You Say Party put on tirelessly danceable, hyper-charged post-punk live show that channels a Blondie performance at CBGBs.

•Starvin Hungry, Bovine Sex Club, Saturday, 1 a.m.

What better way to end three days of music then with an all-out, down and dirty, scalding assault on the senses. Montreal’s Starvin Hungry rock out with a shotgun intensity that will curl your mullet.