In one of the most surefire signs of summer in Toronto, NXNE 2016 has kicked off, running from June 13-19. Founded in 1995, NXNE is one of the country’s premier festival and conference, bringing together musicians/artists, industry, tech and much more together in Toronto. This year sees NXNE trying out some new things, including the launch a 2-day Festival called NXNE Port Lands on June 17-18. Billed as a music festival, the first day will shine a light on the best in hip hop and rap, while day two will turn to indie rock. Find out more about this year’s NXNE, including Club Land and their Interactive and Gaming-focused conference programming by clicking here. We’re pleased to bring you live coverage of some great shows – including NXNE Port Lands this Friday and Saturday!
I started off my NXNE experience by checking out a much-talked-about band from Wales, The Joy Formidable. The Welsh three-piece trio, led by Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan on lead vocals/guitars, Rhydian Dafydd on bass/ backing vocals and Matthew James Thomas on drums/percussion, is fresh off releasing their third full-length record, Hitch, earlier this year. Combining elements of orchestral alternative rock, shoegaze, and dream pop, the band are a force to be reckoned with live. Treating their NXNE slot as their album release party, the band played a loud and fast-paced set that really showcased just how big their sound can be. My favourite song from the set was probably a very energetic version of “Radio of Lips”, though the set closer (“Whirring”) was even more anthemic in a live setting.
Beyond the music, the band is engaging and charming, having spirited discussions about whether or not the guitar was prominent enough in their live mix, and being adorably surprised that many people in the audience had been to Wales. All in all, The Joy Formidable are truly something to behold live.