Wednesday, June 14, 2006

NXNE - 10 June 2006

concert review: NXNE @ various venues(Toronto, Ontario), June 10, 2006

Buzzcocks @ Phoenix: photo by Mike LigonBuzzcocks(7:30 pm @ Phoenix Concert Theatre): My last night of NXNE started with a show I wholely expected to have to buy a ticket for but surprisingly got into with my NXNE wristband!UK punk legends the Buzzcocks played an early show at the Phoenix to a seemingly capacity crowd. There was no opening act, but the usual prompt NXNE set start times didn't apply to this show. What had been listed as a 7 pm start time ended up start about half an hour after that. And combined with me and a good chunk of the audience getting there before 7 pm, it meant a torturously long wait. So when the Buzzcocks finally came on to the stage, everything melted away as they steamrolled through a selection of fan favourites. All the usuals you'd expect but of course it was "What Do I Get", "I Don't Mind" and "Ever Fallen In Love" which got the most response from the audience. Guitarist Steven Diggle was definitely the most animated of the bunch, pulling out the rock star poses with his guitar. As I was standing near the front on the periphery of the 'pit', I did notice things did get a little hairy with people slam dancing as you'd expect at a punk show. Fortunately, I came through unscathed. The Buzzcocks are older and greyer, but man do they still possess the same musical fury of their younger days.

Listen: Buzzcocks @ MySpace

The Buffali(9 pm @ The Bagel): At long last I made it out to a show at Toronto's infamous The Bagel. I can see why it's had it's run-ins with the fire marshall and overcapacity crowds. It's tiny. It looks like a diner and it has a ramshackle stage at the back of the place. I got to The Bagel for the 9 pm NXNE slot featuring Madison, Wisconsin's indiepop/folk male/female duo The Buffali. Their music ran the gamut from acoustic blues, to indiepop, to country and folk, and was highlighted by a lyrical playfulness which was truly delightful. Instrumentation was minimal, usually only accompanying themselves with acoustic guitar and or keyboards. It was only a meagre sized crowd on hand(their couldn't have been more than 10 people there at the start of the band's set) but they took it in stride and performed enthusiastically nonetheless. They were confident onstage with charming stage banter to boot. Musically, I thought they had some decent melodies and vocals, although I was less enthused with the bluesy/folky elements. That's just my personal tastes speaking. Best song of the night was a song which featured a Barenaked Ladies "One Week"-like lyrical flow which made me felt totally giddy.

Listen: The Buffali @ MySpace

Kinnie Starr @ Horseshoe: photo by Mike LigonKinnie Starr(10 pm @ Horseshoe Tavern): I rushed over to the Horseshoe Tavern to find a tightly packed crowd on hand for Kinnie Starr's set. Fortunately, I weasel my way through the crowd and somehow, made it pretty close to the stage. Her music's a delectable blend of rock, pop, and hip hop influences, steered by the tight lyrical flow of her rapping and singing. Backed by a drummer and bass guitarist, and augmented at times with some electronic samples/beats, with Kinnie herself strapping on a guitar herself at times, her music had a warm soulful organic sound. You could't help but find yourself grooving along naturally. And I'll state for the record: Kinnie is such a beautiful woman.

Listen: Kinnie Starr @ MySpace

Doris Day @ Holy Joe's: photo by Mike LigonDoris Day(11 pm @ Holy Joe's): Having been impressed by Barrie, ON's Doris Day at this year's recent Over The Top Fest, I was excited to see them during NXNE at Holy Joe's. With their pint-sized frontwoman flexing her vocal pipes and dancing around vigorously, and the band performing their passionate brand of indie-rock, I still felt there was a level of restraint compared to their show at The Drake Hotel during the Over The Top Fest. For example, while their performance of the harmonica-drenched "Karmonica"(especially the eager vocals of their frontwoman) totally bowled me over when they performed it at The Drake Hotel during the Over The Top Fest, this time around it was merely just good. While the band has one foot squarely in that sort of fashionable vibrant indie rock sound("Quarantine Girl") there's a side of them that's refreshingly un-indie sounding(if that makes any sense) especially on some slower numbers("My Hands, My Plans") where their frontwoman's soulful vocals have a chance to shine.

Listen: Doris Day @ MySpace

Hexes and Ohs @ Ciao Edie Roxx: photo by Mike LigonHexes and Ohs(12 pm @ Ciao Edie Roxx): I headed up to Little Italy to the more-posh-than-I'm-used-to venue, Ciao Edie Roxx, where Montreal trio Hexes and Ohs would be playing. Having not heard them before but only reading good things about them, I was anticipating a more dominant electro-pop sound than what actually resulted. That's actually a good thing, at least in my books. The band's music was as much based in conventional indie-rock as it was in electro-pop and when the electronic influences crept up, it never overshadowed the songs. I couldn't quite see the drummer from where I was standing but with the young bespectacled guitarist and bass guitarist up front, they were an adorable looking pair dressed in their matching red t-shirts, one saying 'Hexes' and the other 'Ohs'. I love bands that take the time to wear matching stage clothes.

Listen: Hexes and Ohs @ MySpace

Museum Pieces @ Holy Joe's: photo by Mike LigonMuseum Pieces(1 am @ Holy Joe's):Last set of the night for me was Halifax duo Museum Pieces who I decided to check out upon the recommendation of NOW 's recent 4 star review of the band's 1995 album "Philadelphia". With lead singer Tyler Messick on vocals and guitar and Andy March on drums, they had a surprisingly full sound for only two people, due to Andy's full-on drumming style, Tyler's rich guitar arrangements and Tyler's idiosyncratic vocal style. It's an indie rock sound that has quite a bit more substance than your usual indie-rock duo fare. Melodies were quite strong overall and better yet were of the not-so-obvious variety. Their 1995 album "Philadephia" features a larger band lineup than the current duo incarnation, and according to their MySpace site, the duo are currently writing the next album as a strictly drum and guitar duet. Can't wait.

Listen: Museum Pieces @ MySpace

Three nights of NXNE shows over and done. I don't know about anyone else, but this year's NXNE was great.

No comments:

Post a Comment