Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NXNE - 09 June 2006

concert review: NXNE @ various venues(Toronto, Ontario), June 9, 2006

The D'Urbervilles @ The Silver Dollar: photo by Mike LigonThe D'Urbervilles(9 pm @ The Silver Dollar): Last minute additions, Guelph's The D'Urbervilles played the opening slot of the Friday night show at The Silver Dollar, replacing From Fiction who were originally suppose to perform. Word on the street is that From Fiction have broken up, but that's another story. Their hyper-kinetic, slightly new-wavey indie rock was immediately likable with it's strummy guitars, vibrant drumming and energetic vocals. The lanky, bespectacled lead vocalist, decked out in his tight-fitting vintage Toronto Blue Jays t-shirt and jeans, had a geeky charm as he jumped down from the stage to the floor during a few songs and danced spastically. Because of the early time slot perhaps, the crowd wasn't quite in the dancing mood, but I did overheard several people crowd say they enjoyed The D'Urbervilles a lot. I liked them too. Catch them next when they open for Immaculate Machine at the Horseshoe Tavern tomorrow night.

Listen: The D'Urbervilles @ New Music Canada

Clouds Forming Crowns' Tim Tobias @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonClouds Forming Crowns(10 pm @ Lee's Palace): I made my way up to Lee's Palace on the Spadina street car to check out Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio's Clouds Forming Crowns. Given that the band includes former Guided By Voices members Tim and Todd Tobias, I originally thought that alone would draw more than a few indie rock curiosity seekers. I'll admit that's primarily I chose to go, hoping that Clouds Forming Crowns might resemble the pop confection of Guided By Voices. With Tim on lead vocals and guitar, he led the band(which included a couple of temporary replacements for a couple of members who couldn't make it up for the show) through a series of same-sounding rockers. Rather than the 3-minute pop gems of Guided By Voices, Clouds Forming Crowns leaned towards a rockier sound, complete with Tim's guitar soloing, that reminded slightly of Dinosaur Jr. but unfortunately without the memorable melodies. I had moments of enjoyment(a guitar lick here, a melody there) at times but ultimately I was disappointed. I guess I'll have to wait for Mr. Pollard to come to Toronto before I can relive Guided By Voices' glory days.

Listen: Clouds Forming Crowns @ MySpace

Dietzche V. & The Abominable Snowman(11 pm @ El Mocambo): My original plan was to catch Chicago IL's The 1900s[MySpace] at Crowbar on King St., but when I got to the venue I was disappointed to find out they didn't make it to Toronto because of troubles at the border. Oh well. Plan B and I headed up to El Mocambo to see what was left of Edmonton, AB's Dietzche V. & The Abominable Snowman. They were protypical indie-rock dressers, but had I not read their NXNE bio, I would have not guessed they performed techno, electro, house music. I caught some vocoder on one song and then some tasty beats on another. The curly-haired lead vocalist busted some funky moves that was slightly funny but still fun to watch. Their music was that sort of club music that I thought I hated but seeing them perform live elevated the music(or at least my enjoyability of it) to an entirely different level. The capacity crowd at hand definitely enjoyed it, especially the dancing contingent up front.

Listen: Dietzche V. & The Abominable Snowman @ New Music Canada

Novillero @ El Mocambo: photo by Mike LigonNovillero(12 pm @ El Mocambo): Mint Records' Novillero were the band I was most excited to see that night. From what I'd heard of Novillero in the past, their music was a more fully fleshed out, pop-ified extension of the mod-rock jams Novillero frontman Rod Slaughter kicked out with his previous outfit, Duotang. I'd always thought Rod had one of the finest vocals in Canadian indie rock, and he displayed his vocals in fine fashion that night. Rod's soulful vocals took lead on many songs, either with Rod on guitar or on keyboards but also featured Grant Johnson behind keyboards to sing lead on a few idiosyncratic pop tunes. Horn arrangements were slightly missed, especially on the deliriously infectious "The Hypothesist", but otherwise Novillero made up for it with an energetically performed set. Especially enjoyable was to see member Jack Jonasson, the band's muse of sorts, as he energtically performed keyboards and percussion, sung background vox furiously and danced spastically to the music. Icing on the cake for the band that night was that they were present with the $10,000 award for being named Doritos top 'buzz' band of the festival. Congratulations.

Listen: Novillero @ MySpace

The Coast @ El Mocambo: photo by Mike LigonThe Coast(1 am @ El Mocambo): Ending the night in fine fashion were Toronto's The Coast. With the only illumination on stage a string of white Christmas lights wrapped around the lead vocalist's mic stand, it set the mood for the emotive, melancholic Brit-pop which followed. Their MySpace site mentions The Verve as an influence but I also hear echoes of Doves and perhaps a littleColdplay. Attractive vocals, delectable melodies, and the band's spacious guitar sound were the highlights of the band's music. It's music that's really destined to be performed in larger venues. If they were British, I'd think North American Anglo-philes would already be eating them up.

Listen: The Coast @ MySpace

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