With nearly 800 bands, where do you start? Here are my picks:
1. Bad Religion
They've been around forever and they're just as fierce as they've always been. If you've never seen these legends, here's your chance--and it's free. (9pm Thursday 14, Yonge-Dundas Square)
2. The Hundred in the Hands
Brooklyn alt-rock duo that may fill the gap left by the departure of LCD Soundsystem. (12am Thursday, Wrongbar)
3. A Place to Bury Strangers
The claim to be "the loudest band in New York." I don't think they're exaggerating. (1am Thursday, El Mocambo)
4. Of Montreal
The Flaming Lips will be weird. This could be almost as weird. Another free show, too. (7pm Friday, Yonge-Dundas Square)
Shoegaze! Long live shoegaze! (9pm Friday, Lee's Palace)
6. DZ Deathrays
Uh-oh. A conflict. English shoegazing with 2:54 or thrash party rock from this Australia twosome. Flip a coin. (9pm Friday, Wrongbar)
I was most impressed with these guys when I saw them at M for Montreal a couple foyears ago. Can you say "hardcore grunge?" (11pm Friday, Wrongbar)
Damn, I like their Zoo album. One of my favorites of the year, actually. Could be my top pick of the whole festival. And one of their shows is free, too. (3pm Saturday, Yonge-Dundas Square and 11pm Saturday, Wrongbar).
In case you miss the first show (Lee's Palace, Friday night at midnight), there's always the free set at Yonge-Dundas Square early Saturday evening.
10. Flaming Lips
Wouldn't you love to live inside Wayne Coyne's head for a day? I'm going to guess that he's going to take full advantage of the 15,000 or so who will show up to see what he's going to do. And it's free! (9pm Saturday, Yonge-Dundas Square)
For the full line-up and schedule go here. And don't be shy if you have any recommendations of your own. What are they?