Friday, August 31, 2012

NXNE (June 15-16, 2012)

  Friends @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

First, apologies for the lack of posts this summer. I wish I could say I was off on same fabulous adventures, but no I've just been lazy. Oh and pooped from work and not wanting to deal with the summer heat. It's not to say that I've stopped going to shows - I've been to a bunch of good ones this summer and over the next week or so will make an effort to at the very least get up the photos. Don't hold your breath for reviews (well, at least in-depth ones). I do hope you will stay tuned. So let's go way back to June and my last two nights of NXNE:

Friday June 15, 2012
Eight And A Half @ Yonge Dundas Square (7:30 pm) ----- Arts & Crafts supergroup of sorts featuring The Stills' Dave Hamelin and Liam O’Neil – and Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff. I only caught a few songs and was more focused on people-watching in the square but what I'd heard of the band reminded me of semi-slick pop-rock of The Stills, although perhaps with more emphasis on synths.

Plants And Animals @ Yonge Dundas Square (8:30 pm) ----- As the sun was setting, I was a bit more focused for Montreal pop-rock trio Plants and Animals. A few of the members came out in long Blonde-haired wigs and Hawaiian shirts in what I thought was a half-successful attempt at ironic humour but the band settled into a set playing some old faves and think a few new tunes. A bit of a draggy set for me, they didn't take full control of the large crowd although I think they really could if they'd just put more effort towards crowd participation.

Diiv @ Lee's Palace (10 pm) ----- I caught the tail-end of scruffy young Brooklyn trio whose debut full length Oshin just came out released through Brooklyn indie label Captured Tracks. I wished I'd caught more of the set as I'm pretty keen on their song "How Long Have You Known?" but I do remember Lee's already been pretty packed for their set. I also remember the band wearing baggy sweatshirts, like a group of skate-punks from the 90's.

Friends @ Lee's Palace (11 pm) ----- The main reason I'd ventured to Lee's (after feeling I'd not been there in ages ) was for the another Brookyn act whose rnb / funk / disco / pop melange seemed like a fun set to check out. With echoes of Tom Tom Club, Madonna and perhaps ESG and their minimalist approach with bits of percussion, guitar and bass, keys and vocals, I sort of imagined them as a band that might have sprung out of the NYC post punk scene of the early 80's after discovering Chic and disco and the power of booty-shaking. Pretty entertaining set and the crowd was having a lot of fun, as my photo above asserts.

  Crowd @ The Flaming Lips, Yonge Dundas Square: photo by Michael Ligon

Saturday June 16, 2012
The Flaming Lips @ Yonge Dundas Square (9-11 pm) ----- With initial plans for me and my brother to take in the Radiohead concert down at Downsview Park taking a tragic turn of events, the one positive outcome was opening the opportunity to catch the free NXNE headlining performance down at YDS featuring none other than Oklahoma City's finest. A capacity crowd filling every nook and cranny in the square and a few of the surrounding streets (Yonge st. and Dundas Sq had both been closed off), frontman Wayne Coyne took the stage and wasted no time to acknowledge the tragic events that forced the cancellation of the Radiohead show earlier in the day. Retweets of Coyne's tweet earlier in the day had extended an invitation to the Radiohead crew to come by their show and there were rumours amok that maybe Radiohead would even play a song. Well that did not pan out but as a consolation of sorts the Lips performed their poignant cover of Radiohead's "Knives Out". From my vantage point, I hardly actually saw the band nor the stage but once the balloons and confetti started floating above us, it hardly didn't matter. The set list was alright (all that I wished they'd played either "Fight Test" or "Race For The Prize") but their encore of "Do You Realize?" was an appropriate and stunning closer.

Photos: NXNE (June 15-16, 2012)