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10 Must See Concerts at North By Northeast 2016

10 Must See Concerts at North By Northeast 2016

Picture of Dominic Smith
Updated: 13 January 2017
North by Northeast is a week long festival featuring comedy, films, gaming, and above all, music. Open to music from all genres and largely performed by bands and musicians who are currently under the radar of mainstream audiences, it is the perfect opportunity to see some of the best up and coming musicians from across Canada. With over 100 acts performing it is easy to get lost in the blur of talent on offer; below is a guide (in no particular order) to 10 gigs worth isolating from the crowd and checking out at NXNE 2016.

Kamasi Washington

June 17th, Danforth Music Hall – 9pm

You may not find Jazz in the charts too often but there is no denying it is an agelessly cool genre of music. Kamasi Washington first came to public attention when he played the saxophone on Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly and is well respected for bringing Jazz to a contemporary audience. His critically acclaimed album The Epic forms the basis of his performance at this year’s North by Northeast and makes for a great summer gig.

Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada, +1 416 778 8163


Cold Specks

June 17th, Lee’s Palace – 11: 30pm

Cold Specks is the stage name for Toronto born Ladan Hussein, a name she took from a line in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Her music is a fascinating blend between gospel and folk, all held together by her undeniably beautiful voice. She is a performer just beginning to find her own sound; giving her performance a feeling of a person in transition, making for a truly interesting show.

Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 532 1598



June 16th, Bovine Sex Club – 11:30pm

Another Toronto based band, SATE are bound to get the crowd out of their chairs and rocking! Their music is soul fused with rock and roll, and the music talks about sexuality, anger and love in a way that is perfect for the gritty environment of Bovine Sex Club.

Bovine Sex Club, 542 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 504 4239

Mother Mother

June 18th, Port Lands: Commish Stage – 6:40pm

As a band, Mother Mother undeniably divide opinion. However, whether you love them or hate them it is hard to argue with the fact that they put on an impressive live show. With their satirical and tongue-in-cheek style, they are always fascinating to watch and as an experienced band they’ve developed an innate knowledge of how to get a crowd going.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here


Father John Misty

June 18th, Port Lands: Commish Stage – 9:30pm

Folk singer Father John Misty is a world class live performer. He dances around almost oblivious to the crowd, his vocals are exceptional and he has often been known to serenade individuals in the front row. He has become a hipster icon but even if that counter-culture movement isn’t for you, you’ll see there is much more to this artist than that.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here


Daniel Caesar

June 17th, Port Lands: Canal Stage – 8:20pm

Gospel inspired RnB doesn’t often find it’s way into the charts but Daniel Caeser’s music and voice are a chill-inducing soundtrack of love and beauty. A calmer show than others on the Port Lands Stage, his performance is scheduled for 8:20pm and (weather permitting) should be a stunning way to spend a Friday night.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here


Born Ruffians

June 18th, Port Lands: Canal Stage – 8:10pm

Born Ruffians’ indie-pop music is simply easy listening fun. Happy festival music to provide a perfect balance to some of the heavier artists that appear on this list. A great band to play a summer gig, it is music without agenda that’ll have you swaying in the Toronto sun.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here



June 14th, The Horseshoe Tavern – 11pm

Electro music isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, however, MSTRKRFT’s brilliant dance beats make them perfect for a crowded festival setting. Lose yourself in the euphoria of the crowd, let your hair down and let your hands and feet do the talking!

The Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St W, Toronto, ON, Canada, + 1 416 598 4226


Ghostface Killah

June 17th, Port Lands: Commish Stage – 7pm

As a prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah is a rapper of real pedigree. An elite storyteller, his music charts his own story to a series of beats that draw the crowd in and make him an irresistible live performer.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here


ScHoolboy Q

June 17th, Port Lands: Commish Stage – 9:30pm

Following part of rap’s illustrious history with Ghostface Killah, ScHoolboy Q is part of the genre’s future. With three Grammy nominations already he is becoming a major player in the North American rap scene and is a rightful Saturday night headliner at North by Northeast with his natural charisma and energy.

Port Lands, Toronto, ON, Canada | See festival map here


NXNE events run across Toronto from June 13-19th, 2016 | Tickets to NXNE gigs are available here.