We made a top 10 list!

We're still working on ours... but Shred Kelly, one of our very favourite bands, included us in their 2013 Top 10 Highlights (scroll down through their Tis the Season post from Dec. 24). It was our highlight of the year, that's for sure, and it made us so happy to have them as our wedding band. Can't wait to see you in 2014, Shred Kelly!

Hello! This thing is still on.


That was our first post from back in July 2010, which included this promise: "The updated show calendar is our special project and will never fail." In light of a friend mentioning "Hey, there's something wrong with your calendar, there's nothing on it," news of some music blogs retiring and our less frequent posts, we wanted to let you know N2DS2W remains committed to our mission: being the most comprehensive site that promotes, fosters awareness of and helps Canadian indie musicians and bands coming through the Windsor/Detroit area

We've had a few life events in the past year and a half that have slowed us down. We're no less passionate, just busier. But not too busy to do our best keeping the calendar updated. December was just extraordinarily quiet, Canadian-indie-in-Windsor-and-Detroit show-wise. January's looking pretty sparse, too. But we're already excited about The Strumbellas coming to PJ's Lager House and A Tribe Called Red to The Shelter in February. And while we wait, we'll shortly be looking back at our top shows for 2013.

Thanks for sticking around.

Show Alert: Texas King to rule Windsor

Sat., Dec. 7
Villain's Beastro ~ Windsor

When you see a lot of shows, you see a lot of openers and bands and musicians you've never heard of before. Many are pretty forgettable. But some make us sit up and take notice by standing out. Like Zula, a band from New York we heard at P.J's Lager House last  month opening for The Highest Order. And London's Texas King, the best band we'd never heard of at Home County Music and Art Festival this summer. Of course we asked them to come play Windsor or Detroit... and now they are. So come out and see if you think they're as promising as we do.

Listen: "Paper Tiger" from their self-titled EP

Event alert: 10 reasons you should attend the Grant Lawrence book signing at Phog Lounge

Mon., Nov. 25 ~ 7 p.m. start ~ FREE
Phog Lounge ~ Windsor
Wsg Crissi Cochrane  
Open Mic Surgery with James O-L after (10:30)

1. Because "Grant Lawrence has long been a leading voice in Canadian arts and entertainment. For years, the gregarious and encyclopedic Lawrence has hosted the top-rated CBC Radio 3 Podcast with Grant Lawrence, a monthly showcase of Canadian independent music. Grant also hosts Grant Lawrence Live, a live and interactive daily program on CBC Radio 3′s popular web radio station, also airing on Sirius XM 162. Grant can be heard throughout the week on various CBC Radio One programs such as DNTO, All Points West, RadioWest, On The Coast, and various afternoon programs across the country... Prior to his work at CBC, Grant was the lead singer of the internationally acclaimed Vancouver band The Smugglers."

2. Joe Wiebe, special to the Vancouver Sun, says: "Following in his footsteps, let me say right now that The Lonely End of the Rink is the best book to come out since, well, his first book, Adventures in Solitude. That book was a national bestseller, deservedly so, and Lawrence’s new book surely will be a hit, too. Its rock ‘em sock ‘em examination of our country’s hockey culture reminds me of a Tiger Williams brawl combined with a Wayne Gretzky goal. And in terms of literary prowess, Grant knocks the pads off another famous goalie who wrote some hockey books. What’s his name again? Oh yeah: Ken Dryden." Read more

3. Authors need support as much as musicians.

4. You can helpfully point out Hockeytown across the river.

5. Vancouver broadcaster Cory Ashworth for The Huffington Post: "This book reads like a fast-paced adventure and you don't have to have an ounce of interest in hockey to love every sentence and period. In fact beyond the pads and pucks you'll find one of the most relatable and lovable Canadian tales of growing up a bullied nerd and West Coast Canuck." Read more

6. You'll get to hear the lovely Crissi Cochrane.

7. You need a Christmas gift for that hockey-crazy friend/brother/dad/nemesis.

8. It's Monday. What else do you have planned?

9. We're all goalies in life. Think about it.

10. Grant Lawrence is King of the Forest.

Show Alert: Trick or treat?

It's a little of both. A treat that so many great Canadian indie bands are playing shows in the Windsor/Detroit area over the next few days. Trick if you can get to more than just one. We'll be at Born Ruffians on Wednesday, Lindi Ortega on Thursday. Smell our feet.

Weds., Oct. 30

Born Ruffians (alt pop/rock from Toronto), The Magic Stick, Detroit: They were last here on the same date in 2010. Listen: "Oh Man"

BRAIDS (atmospheric electronic from Toronto) The Loving Touch, Ferndale: The buzz band from 2011 is back with a new album. Listen: "December"

Rah Rah (alt rock from Regina, SK) and The Blue Stones (blues rock from Toronto), Phog Lounge, Windsor: Can't go wrong here. (Pssst, it looks like Ian Blurton is producing the next Blue Stones album). Listen: Rah Rah, "Art and a Wife"; The Blue Stones, "Rolling with the Punches"

Thurs., Oct. 31

Lindi Ortega (alt rock/country from Toronto via Nashville), The Pike Room, Pontiac: We're not big country fans, but we're big Lindi fans. Excited to finally see and hear her incredibly emotive and powerful voice live. Listen: "Don't Wanna Hear It"

Bear Mountain (folk-flavoured electro pop from Vancouver) and The Belle Game (arty alt pop from Vancouver), The Magic Stick, Detroit: Bear Mountain was a big hit with CBC Radio 3 blogger friends at NXNE this year. Listen: Bear Mountain, "Two Step"; The Belle Game, "Wasted Light"

Fri., Nov. 1

Repartee (pop rock from St. John's, NL) and The Fisher Kings (alt blues rock from Windsor), Phog Lounge, Windsor. Listen: Repartee, "I Would Die Before You"; The Fisher Kings, "Get Behind Me"

Event Alert: Grant Lawrence Windsor Book Launch Party

Mon., Nov. 25
Phog Lounge, Windsor

CBC Radio Host and Author Grant Lawrence will be at the Phog Lounge beginning at 7 p.m. for this free event that includes Grant reading stories from his new book, The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie, as well as a slide presentation, Q+A, shootout contest, a book signing and special musical guest Crissi Cochrane.


See more book launch tour dates at http://grantlawrence.ca/

Stay tuned for an exclusive N2DS2W interview with the author.

Photo credit: Christine McAvoy

NXNE 2013: Three days in five minutes

Couldn't make it to NXNE this year? Wondering what all us CBC Radio 3 bloggers do while we're there? Here ya go.

Featured bands/musicians (in the order in which they appear): Wordburglar, More or Les, D-Sisive, Loon Choir, We Are Wolves, Dusted (Brian Borcherdt and Leon Taheny), The Darcys, Wildlife, The Crackling, Pat LePoidevin, Pick a Piper, The Danks, Crissi Cochrane, Inlet Sound, Adrian Glynn, Shred Kelly, catl, Gregory Pepper and His Problems, Henri Faberge and the Adorables, Michael Rault, PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots), Hot Panda

Six Tips for Bands

We're no spring chickens... see, we just used the phrase "spring chickens." We've both been involved in and studied radio and music. We've even played with a few bands (when we were spring chickens). And in the span of four years, we've seen a LOT of Canadian indie shows, almost all in small venues where everything is up close and personal. All of which make us experts in everything.

Not really. But we do feel like we have a few observations and tips that would benefit bands and the folks who turn out to support them (there's a few in our last NXNE post, too). We offer them with genuine goodwill. If you're a band and have a comeback to any of these, share!

1. Don't bury the vocals. This one is first for good reason. We can't tell you how many hours of unintelligible lyrics we've sat through. You'd never get airplay if it sounded like that on the radio; why is a live show any different? We love guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, etc. But we love vocals and lyrics too, and we want to hear them.

2. Tell us who you are. Don't assume just because people are there they know who you are. Especially if you're in Detroit, and especially if you're the opener (as is often the case). Say it loud and say it proud. It bears repeating: repeat your band's name... and everyone in the band. We really do like to know.

3. Have CDs to sell. Seems like a no-brainer, right? And we understand you may run out, weren't able to stock up, or couldn't get them over the border. But it's such a disappointment when bands don't have their latest album, or earlier ones, too. We frequently wait to buy a CD until we're at a show. And chances are we won't be proactive enough to go online and order it. We have the money in our hand. Have something for us to spend it on.

4. Keep the energy flowing. We've seen most of the winners of best live act from the CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards, and many of the nominees. They're not always the tightest bands. They don't necessarily have the stage banter of stand-up comedians. But what they do have are setlists that gather up the audience and take them along on a great ride.

5. Keep your Internets updated. For us, nothing's more frustrating when we're trying to promote a show, get your information or confirm a tour date only to find nothing's been posted to your website, blog, Facebook page or CBC Radio 3 artist page since 2011. Yeah, we know it can be a chore, but it's part of being in the business of music.

6. We really do appreciate what you do. We haven't experienced touring first-hand, but we've heard enough stories and we can empathize. Hours spent in a cramped van, driving through bad weather, your family hundreds of miles away, so you can play to a sparse crowd that talks through your set, all for music. Music that we love, love seeing you perform, and love you for doing it. When we see your show, you've made our night and memories we don't forget. Thank you.

Show Alert: King Khan and the Shrines are Idle No More

Fri., Oct. 25
The Magic Stick ~ Detroit
With Hell Shovel and Radio Burns

The band was born in Berlin. The bandleader was born in Montreal. The music was born in the psychedelic soul of the 70s with ties to Motown. And now, after six years, King Khan and the Shrines-- Supreme Genius and Sensational-- have shifted back into gear with Idle No More. "King Khan & The Shrines are more than... a spectacle of a stage show—they are a cult musical phenomenon and simply one of the most entertaining groups the world has seen and heard since the days of Ike & Tina."(Merge Records)

Listen: "Bite My Tongue"

Related: Show Review: King Khan and BBQ Show (Dec. 2012 at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor)

Show Alert: Modern Thunder Rolls Into the Phog

Grand Analog
Sat., Oct. 19 ~ Phog Lounge

After closing out Phog Phest 3 in 2011, CBC Radio 3 guest host Odario Williams and Grand Analog finally return to Windsor with Modern Thunder and the vintage analog gear that gives the collective their name. According to grandanalog.com, their first full-length album since 2009's Metropolis is Burning, "The music of Modern Thunder dwells on everything classic. The album opener, 'Lion Head,' fuses early Afro-beat rhythms (with) hard-hitting hip-hop drums while the electro-hop sounds of 'Heart the Lonely Hunter' lends a Joni Mitchell type vocal to the chorus... 'Wild Animal Print' hints classic House... Musical guests on Modern Thunder include Saukrates, Shad, Andrina Turenne (Chic Gamine), Amanda Balsys (Wilderness Of Manitoba), Len Bowen, Maylee Todd, Saidah Baba Talibah, Dennis Passley (Bedouin Soundclash), Bahia Watson, Mike Olsen (Hidden Cameras), Peter Katz, TALWST and long time collaborators Damon Mitchell and Oliver Johnson."

Photos  - Russ Gordon/N2D Images

Show Alert: Hollerado bring their So It Goes tour to Pontiac

Tues., Oct. 7
The Crofoot - Pike Room - Pontiac
Opening for The Features

Cover art for Hollerado's new album, White Paint.
When we first attended NXNE in 2010, we did it all wrong. We didn't stay in the city. One of us had a media pass, the other had a wristband. We didn't have a schedule. And we left on Saturday to see a show in London, Ont. (a great show, three Polaris short-listed bands, but still...)

Friday night we wanted to see an artist and a band we absolutely love at the Dakota Tavern: Old Man Luedecke and The Wheat Pool. Silly us. After an expensive cab ride because we were late, we wilted at the sight of the long line. S2W's media pass meant immediate entry, but N2D of the lowly wristband had to wait in line.

Always the gentleman, S2W refused. After realizing entry was futile, we took another expensive cab ride to catch part of Sloan at Yonge-Dundas Square. They were good, but hungry and dispirited we made our way to the nearby Hard Rock Cafe. And found out Hollerado were playing there. It was only a year after they self-released their first album, the rock-solid Record in a Bag, but obvious that a lot of people had the record out of the bag.

It was like the heavens opened and beautiful music spilled out and fountains erupted and the sun shined down on us-- okay, so it was the band cranking through irresistibly fun singalongs like "Riverside" and "Got to Lose," spraying beer at the ceiling in unison and confetti raining down. By the time the show was over, we'd had the time of our lives, and it was all worth it (just don't ask us what it took to get home that night).

We still keep some of that confetti in our backpack.

Hollerado are very like a college student, balancing classes and partying. They sound like they're not taking anything too seriously, and yet writing about death, World War II, doing creative presentations on Americanarama, and referencing Kurt Vonnegut. If Record in a Bag was a freshman, the long-awaited follow-up White Paint is absolutely a sophomore. They've matured a bit, but they're still having a good time.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images

Book Tour Alert: Grant Lawrence - The Lonely End of the Rink

Grant Lawrence Announces Tour Dates For New Book: The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie

 All events will include Grant reading or telling stories from the new book, as well as a slide presentation, a short film, Q+A, book signing, and live musical performances from special guests in select cities.
All events begin at 7pm and are free unless otherwise noted.

Thu Oct 24, Vancouver Launch Party, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Vancouver BC, 7pm-9pm, w/ musical appearance by Bodhi Jones. Sponsored by BCSHF, Douglas and McIntyre, and Phillips Brewing.
Fri Oct 25, Victoria Launch Party, Copper Owl, Victoria BC
Sat Oct 26, Community Theatre, Tofino BC
Sun Oct 27, Courtenay Public Library, Courtenay BC, 3pm
Mon Oct 28, Java Shack, Campbell River BC
Tue Oct 29, Nanaimo Public Library, Nanaimo BC, 6pm
Wed Oct 30, Lucky’s Restaurant, Parksville BC, $20.00
Thu Nov 14, Public Library, Prince George BC
Mon Nov 25, Phog Lounge, Windsor ON
Tue Nov 26, tba, London ON
Wed Nov 27, Toronto Launch Party, Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, Toronto ON, 8pm-10pm, w/ musical appearance by Matthew Barber. Presented by This Is Not A Reading Series and Douglas and McIntyre.
Thu Nov 28, tba, Hamilton ON
Fri Nov 29, Pressed, Ottawa ON
Thu Dec 12, Public Library, Fernie BC

** More dates to be confirmed in Montreal, Kingston, Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and the Sunshine Coast.

Images and Promo: Killbeat 

Hot Panda

Territorial Pissings 
Remember when we said "Who knew Hot Panda was one of the best high-energy punk bands around?" Here it is.

THIS is what made S2W hand the camera to N2D and mosh.

NXNE 2013: Day 3, part two (and three band tips)

The first show review we ever did for N2DS2W was for the Gregory Pepper/Islands show at the Magic Stick in July 2010. While Islands was great, Pepper and his Problems made an impression we've never forgotten. Three years later they did it again at NXNE at the Silver Dollar. Pepper has presence, voice and a penchant for exploring mortality and immortality ("Dearly Departed") that deserves more the "pinball pop" label in the NXNE guide. The set list also included "Down With The Ship," from Pepper's alter ego and Factor pairing, Common Grackle.

Band tip #1: introduce yourself. Preferably more than once during your set. This may seem elemental, but you'd be surprised how many bands forget. Good thing we already knew Michael Rault (Edmonton, now living in Toronto) took the stage after Gregory Pepper, because he never said who he was. Which is too bad if you're looking for something with rhythm and blues roots that go a little deeper than the current 60s throwback pop craze, like Rault's "Lay Right Down And Die" and "I Wanna Love You."

Usually there are more bands than we have time to see at NXNE, or we have to choose between bands playing at the same time. For whatever reason, we struggled to fill some slots this year. Strangely, Saturday night was one of them, in part because there was no traditional CBC Radio3 showcase. With logistics against us as well, we went off  schedule and decided to see a band we knew only from the Radio 3 blog: PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots). So here's band tip #2: never underestimate the power of hanging around on the R3 blog.

We ran into Pete Nema of Sticky Magazine on his way to the same show. His recommendation was good enough for us. But when this Toronto punk band launched into their first song and the crowd was singing along, we knew we were seeing some hometown favourites. How could we not love a band whose lyrics include, "If those were your glory days you must be real shitty now"?

Band tip #3: If you don't have a good hook, you won't catch anything. Just a thought we had listening to the band before Hot Panda at Sneaky Dee's. You're welcome.

You know what they say about meeting your heroes-- or finally getting to see them live. And Hot Panda (Vancouver) is something of a hero to us when it comes to Canadian indie. They embody the best of the genre: fun, quirky, smart, original. When they had to cancel a Detroit show earlier this year, we looked forward to seeing them at NXNE even more.

Some people told us Hot Panda were terrible live when they'd seen them. But we don't let things like that colour our expectations. As it turned out, they were nothing like we expected. In fact, they were not the band we expected to see. Who knew Hot Panda was one of the best high-energy punk bands around? We loved their show so much, we didn't even care they only played one song we actually recognized: "Whale Headed Girl," from Volcano, Bloody Volcano. When they launched into a punked-up cover of Nirvana's "Territorial Pissing," and S2W launched into some of the best moshing N2D has ever seen, our NXNE was complete.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images