NXNE Review [16/6/11]
Although I believe Wednesday is the first official day of NXNE, yesterday was the first day I really got to enjoy, and it’s the first day that the thing really takes over the city. And it was beautiful, all the musicians in town were out walking the streets, going from venue to venue, show to show. So many amazing bands were playing that we all had to make some tough decisions (Gauntlet Hair, Lower Dens, Fucked Up and No Joy all at the same time! Gahhhh!!!). Anyways, here were the shows and events I did end up seeing.
Marc: My day began with two conferences, the first of which was Ideas Chasing Money Vs. Money Chasing Ideas with Baris Karadogan of Hip Digital and Garo Keresteci of FUSE Marketing. In short, the whole thing felt a bit like this. I don’t think I got too much out of it. The second conference I went to was HootSuite – Building A Brand, which kind of fell flat. The presenter, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes, couldn’t make it to Toronto so he did his presentation via Skype or some online video thing. The connection was bad, and to add to the difficulties, the conference in the next room was judging songs on their radio playability and blasting each track so loud that we couldn’t even hear Holmes when the connection did come through. And even then, most of his presentation seemed kind of like, “We did this and that and paid attention to users and monitored their response…” I wouldn’t exactly call it a revolutionary presentation, but Hootsuite is something I’m definitely going to look into more, so I got that out of it.
First show I went to of the day was Fucked Up‘s free Yonge and Dundas performance. And it was amaaazziiiiinnnnngggg. As usual. This was the first time I saw them play the new songs off David Comes To Life and they were huge and awesome and the crowd loved them. People knew the words, were moshing like crazy, crowdsurfing – it was nuts. As always though with hardcore shows, everyone was really nice, if somebody fell, ten people were reaching out to pick them back up and throw them back into the mayhem. Abraham came out into the crowd and everyone was hugging him, rubbing his head, just giving him a lot of love. It was awesome. But Fucked Up are always amazing. It’s too bad their set was short and I missed half of it by coming late
After that I was planning on hitting up The Dodos show at the Phoenix but had to wait around for a friend at Yonge and Dundas, so I watched OFF‘s set in the meantime. Lead singer Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks fame looks pretty grizzled, but him and the band were huge and played a very solid set. At one point he made a point of calling all people in politics evil, which is pretty classic, but a little ironic considering his band was playing a festival that probably gets a considerable amount of government funding. Anyways….After that I made my way over to the Phoenix as planned (although delayed) for Deerhoof‘s set.
The place was pretty packed. Deerhoof (a four-piece at the moment) looked really cool onstage, with each member doing their own thing, moving around, keeping things lively, nobody really stole the show from any of the other members, it was a true group effort. That being said, drummer Greg Saunier was hilariously animated on drums, and his slow. shakey. stage banter…was very…funny…too…Okay, maybe he did steal the show a bit. The set as a whole was superb – the band sounded powerful, fun, and the instrumental interplay between members was a great thing to see live.
After that, guest writer Assunta and I trekked back to the downtown core to check out the Lefse Records showcase at The El Mocambo, since we blog about and sometimes interview and even book bands they and their PR/management company Banter Media And Management send us emails about. Though we missed Chicago’s A Lull, we got there just before lo-fi San Diego psych-rockers Tape Deck Mountain went on. While they were setting up we went to grab pizza, but by the time we got back they were on their last song (we were only gone for 20 minutes, it was a pretty short set). It was a pretty cool song though, and sounded really big and noisy and blissed out.
Next up was Colorado ‘buzz-band’ Gauntlet Hair, who came on to a now-packed (before empty) house and announced that they were drunk, tired and worn out but whatever. Though at first I think the sound guy was having trouble with the electronic drum kit they played, two songs in everything came together and the band’s killer mix of gorgeous Cocteau Twins-esque effects-crazy guitars, sharp melodies and deep, bloopy electronic-drums drumming sounded awesome. Their shirtless drummer was also pretty hilarious.
Tags: a lull, banter, black flag, circle jerks, deerhoof, fucked up, fuse marketing, gauntlet hair, greg saunier, hip digital, hootsuite, keith morris, lefse, lower dens, no joy, nxne, nxne '11, off, tape deck mountain, the dodos