When the concept for Yonge-Dundas Square was pitched most Torontonians thought it was an absurd idea; a public space to hold concerts in the heart of our city? What a waste of real estate! But as the square grew into a functional, public gathering space with great programming most of us ate our words. There is no shortage of great, free films and music at YDS this summer so here are my top 5 shows to catch.
Spoon, Mac Demarco, Alvvays | Saturday June 21
There are loads of other great bands rounding out this North By Northeast bill but I’ll be there to catch the stoner psych-pop of Mac Demarco. I’m also super excited to get a preview of Spoon’s new material. This one will be rammed so get there early for the openers.
Run The Jewels, Ratking | Sunday June 22
It’s becoming a tradition to have a hip hop theme at YDS for the final Sunday of NXNE and this year has a few heavyweights paired up with up and comers. Run The Jewels’ self-titled album was one of my favourites of 2013. The team of legendary producer El-P and Atlanta’s Killer Mike make punishing but thoughtful hip hop that punches you directly in the gut and robs you for your Nikes. Ratking are also a crew that have a lot of buzz right now, I’m excited to see what the hype is all about.
Dwayne Gretzky | July 18
This supergroup made up of members of July Talk, Sheezer and Our Lady Peace only play covers but man, do they do it well. They work mostly in 70s rock (think Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac) and are total crowd pleasers which will work well with the mixed crowd at YDS.
Young Galaxy | August 22
Looking to get your dance on in the square? Young Galaxy might be your best bet for synth-fuelled indie pop this summer. The hint of melancholy in their music will be a nice touch for people dreading the end of summer.