06.13 / 17 2023 [TORONTO]
An unforgettable multi-venue experience to discover new music and friends
Being a warrior of underground alt music, it felt a bit odd for us to be shooting and reviewing a festival. We certainly felt outside our comfort zone as the majority of music was tailored to hip-hop in the city of Drake, and it's not something we've explored on our own accord. The festival is not just about showcasing different talent; it is also about having the opportunity to network, become inspired, explore new venues, and make new friends.
We just returned from Canadian Music Week a week before and finished up an Eastern Canada tour, where we got to explore some killer venues and talent at Dominion Tavern in Ottawa and DIY underground punk venue Traxide. This was a bit of a different direction.
Wednesday night was one of the only punk night on the line-up , and familiar names like Black Budget and Lucid Smog Disorder were on the lineup. The night started with a metal band called Please Stand Bye. Steller dudes, and they brought their A-game. Black Budget brought on a high-tensity desert punk light show, and Lucid Smog Disorder brought a set full of new and familiar songs with their very catchy choruses and sing-along sections. We were very happy to see some of our friends, including Joe Capone, who filmed the last Critical Zero event. Joe took photos of the night and contributed to the kind energy that filled the room. Lastly, we made an awesome friend, Piper from Bad Influence Magazine; check out her review of Black Budget’s set and kind words that I feel is true to what critical zero is all about here.
NXNE also included a mixer for the artists sponsored by CIMA. We absolutely loved this event because it included artist showcases of music we normally don't check out, a pizza party, a ping pong table, and the artists' openness to speak and get to know each other. It was inspiring and fun.
This festival opened up the gate to multiple communities we were not aware of in the Toronto music scene, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s important for every artist and music fan to attend NXNE every year. Sometimes we can get stuck in our own little community bubble, going to the same shows and seeing the same people, and it’s extremely important to branch out and make new friends.
Some of the other venues we really had fun at included; The Horseshoe Tavern and Paddock Tavern, and an exciting surprise was that we ran into Piper along the street again the following night. She mentioned going to Rivoli and decided to check it out after The Horseshoe, and to our surprise, our former classmate Lyle from High Flyer joined us.
Having the ability and freedom to roam around to different venues helped us connect and learn more about the many micro-music communities that we never knew existed. Toronto seems like such a small space sometimes, but it felt like the whole universe thanks to the amazing work of the NXNE team. The ability to meet artists and music industry professionals from all over the world, all in one city, and the underground scene felt represented.
Thank you again to the NXNE team for having us and giving us the opportunity to shoot photos of the coolest music festival in Toronto.