From folk to folk-pop, through lo-fi to power pop ... and just plain powerful, we’ve got a gig for you to see this weekend at Toronto’s North by Northeast festival.

Check out our guide to the top acts you need to see before this citywide musical love-in winds down.


Old Man Luedecke, Dakota Tavern, 9 p.m.

If you don’t already know this addictive folk revivalist, his name is Chris Luedecke ... and he’s bringing banjo back. Listening to this Chester, N.S.-based singer-songwriter is like being let in on the joke. The Juno winner writes catchy folk and bluegrass numbers that are comic as they are heartfelt, amplified by Luedecke’s deadpan stage banter.

Best Coast, The Garrison, 11 p.m.

Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Constentino delivers lo-fi tunes soaked in West Coast sun. The Los Angeles, Calif., artist draws an otherwise blurry ambient sound into focus with fine melodic pop throwbacks, music made for summer’s haze that’s as easy to disappear in, as its content is relatable.

Huron, Horseshoe Tavern, 1 a.m.

Though an infant in rock music years, Hamilton, Ont.’s Huron is off to a prodigious start. Recently signed to the Cowboy Junkie’s Latent Recordings, the band garnered faithful backers, plus critic love for its self-titled debut released earlier this year. Sporting strong rock riffs with country flourishes, Huron’s got growth potential and is one to watch as the band develops its live legs.


Iggy and the Stooges, Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30 p.m.

The cornerstone NXNE set of 2010 will no doubt be that by nouveau Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Iggy and the Stooges. The Iggy Pop-fronted punk rock pioneers from Michigan behind tunes like Search and Destroy and Gimme Danger are sure to deliver a raucous, memorable public showing in the heart of the city.

The Hoof & the Heel, Drake Underground, 10 p.m.

Judging by the sweet debut EP “And All the Tigers” from this fresh anglophone trio from Montreal, The Hoof & the Heel is well on its way to making a firm stomp in Canada’s indie music scene. The band’s energetic pop is both sunny and tender, in the tragicom vein of She & Him-meets-Belle and Sebastian, with sparing synth flourishes and distinguishing joint male-female vocals.

Hannah Georgas, Horseshoe Tavern, 10 p.m.

Her 2008 EP The Beat Stuff put her on the map, but Hannah Georgas’ recently released full-length debut This is Good is quickly making this (Ontario expat) Vancouverite singer-songwriter a landmark. Georgas bounces from folk-pop to the dance floor with a shake of her rusted locks, accompanied by her humble on-stage wit.

Avi Buffalo, Lee’s Palace, 12 a.m.

As cliché as it’s beginning to sound, the Sub Pop-signed youngsters from Long Beach, Calif., that comprise Avi Buffalo really do reflect the naïveté and nostalgia of youth quite pointedly, in their breezy, sentimental ‘60s-steeped rock. But Avi Buffalo shows maturity and promise in its thoughtful songwriting, playful harmonies and well-fused nods to their alternative predecessors.

Surfer Blood, Wrongbar, 12 a.m.

The truth is in this West Palm Beach, Fla., band’s name. Mixing guitar-driven surf pop with powerful pop song developments, Surfer Blood fashions a sound full of dominant optimism. With uncertain intensity, the band draws blood out of beauty, balancing its tendency toward exuberance with earnest passion.

Cold Cave, Lee’s Palace, 1 a.m.

Synths and warped vocals are the separate-but-equal stalactites and stalagmites of Manhattan, N.Y.-based outfit Cold Cave. The electro-pop project with Wesley Eisold (whose vocal timbre sounds like a romantic, modern day Ian Curtis) at its head sways between tunes that place all sonic elements on the same plane, and more pop-friendly “darkwave” diversions.

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