by Laura Eley & Kateryna Topol
North by North East music festival has once again taken over Toronto for a five day concise schedule of events June 17 though 21st. Hundreds of bands plaid across multiple venues in the city and as always there were standout performances that must not go by unnoticed.
Wednesday was off to an upbeat start with Red Bull Sound Select at the Adelaide Hall. DillanPonders was first on the bill going through his set one by one he was defiantly playing to an established fan base. Allie stepped on almost immediately after with a much different, more relaxed jazzy set. Allie has definitely grown even more so into herself as a performer since last year, her presence, while very soft, is very demanding which seemed to captivate a lot of people in the audience.
The venue was feeling up quickly in anticipation of Kate Tempest. Those who knew who she is were getting everything that were looking for an more. Those who’s ears were new to Tempest were surprised. Scratch that – their minds were blown. Tempest unparticular appearance is something that catches people off guard because when she opens her mouth and story rhymes begin to pour out of her like rain on a dry day people’s jaws drop. Tempest and band went through pretty much the entire Everybody Down album with some naked spoken word mixed into the set.
Wrapping up the set Tempest said “The most thing of all I want to do is rap my heart out” sharing her logic with the crowd and encouraging them to “hold their own” because “your demons will be the dogs that bring your sleepers.” In many way this was a show that pushed people to re-asses their lives which isn’t a typical way to conclude a hip hop show but definitely one many will not forget.
On the further corner of the West Side, DIANA was gearing up for her set at The Drake Underground. Mixing a bit of old with the new, Toronto’s DIANA was back at it again, playing the NXNE circuit on a Wednesday night. Taking on The Drake Underground, laid-back front woman Carmen Elle led the synth-pop band through a selection of tracks from their 2013 Polaris nominated Perpetual Surrender before launching into a few new tunes. Hitting the right chords, Elle’s sultry vocals were engaging, especially when paired with DIANA’s moody, synthesized instrumentals, and worked well to connect with The Underground crowd. Looking forward to hearing some more new music from these NXNE vets.
More photos can be found here.