Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NXNE in Toronto (June 19-20, 2010)

Ok, I'll admit I've been a little lazy recently although I've had other things to think about lately, not least of which was all the G20 events/protests dominating the news over that last week or so.. This'll be my last of my NXNE-related posts although it's more photo-oriented than commentary. Apologies to the artists - it's not that you don't deserve the commentary, but I'm just plained pooped. So let's just keep this short and sweet.

  Avi Buffalo: photo by Michael Ligon

As you already know, on Saturday June 19 rather than take in the multitude of NXNE events happening around the city, I was at the Toronto Island Concert at which I caught Beach House, Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene and of course Pavement. After a day in the sun and then ending the night with Pavement's set ending before 11 pm, I waited for the ferry and eventually made it back to the city before midnight and decided to head to Lee's Palace where I caught about half of Avi Buffalo's half-hour long set. The two-guy, two-girl band all the way from Long Beach, California, barely out of highschool, were surprisingly tight, with lead singer Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg sounding a little like Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne and the band merging askewed pop tendencies with a bit of a jam band sensibility. Ok, I'm not sure how attractive that sounds but take it from me, they were good. Or at least take Sub Pop's word - the label released the band's self-titled debut full-length this past April.

I'd have stuck around for synth post-punks Cold Cave but my hunger was peaking at that point and I had to bail next door to get a burrito, at which point I headed home for some well-deserved rest.

  Kid Sister: photo by Michael Ligon

Sunday June 20 was a bit of an afterthought but with the weather being so good that day and with De La Soul headlining a free show at Yonge Dundas Square, I thought I'd probably regret it if I didn't go. I headed down to the Square as Chicago's Kid Sister was rapping up a storm against the scintillating electro beats provided by her DJ. It was actually quite good, especially if you're in the mood for that sort of stuff. The crowd wasn't nearly as sizeable as it would be for De La Soul, but there were definitely some fans and or converts in the crowd. I can only imagine she worked up the crowd even stronger when she played Wrongbar in Parkdale later that night.

  De La Soul: photo by Michael Ligon

And finally, De La Soul! The crowd was definitely pumped. Although I've heard and bits and pieces of their catalogue, it's their debut full-length Three Feet High and Rising which I'm most fond of. So it was definitely a treat to hear classics like "Potholes In My Lawn" and "Me, Myself, and I" (with the rappers prompting the audience to sing a certain vocal part of the song). After all these years, it's impressive to see and hear how articulate and full of flow they're rapping is. But they do like to get the party started as well, and they prompted the audience to chant or shot at just the right moments to keep the audience into it. The group mentioned several times there love for Toronto fans, even giving a shout out to a few people including some local rappers like Kardinal Offishall who popped onto stage briefly, although unfortunately did not end up rapping with the group. Had the group not mentioned the Much Music Video Awards and thanking the crowd for coming down to see them instead, I'd totally forgot that the MMVA's were happening at the same time around the corner and down Queen St. Now let's see if those kids at the MMVA's are listening to Justin Bieber in 10 years.

Photos: NXNE in Toronto (June 19-20, 2010)

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