This was my first NXNE experience. It was #awesomesauce. I honestly don’t know why I waited this long to experience music and Toronto via NXNE. I love live music and I’ve lived in this city for over eight years – should have been a no-brainer.
Your typical music festivals are great—and there are a plethora to choose from—but it’s a process. Get to the venue with a ginormous crowd of people to then deal with expensive and crappy beer selection, shit shanty towns and terrible outdoor acoustics… yadda, yadda, yadda. I have a love/hate relationship with festivals, but those like NXNE get it right. It does actually feel like a celebration of music, art and the city. Venues are highlighted and the music becomes more intimate.
The first night I only saw one band, Glass Animals, at the Danforth Music Hall. It was an absolutely amazing show, but I was disappointed that my drink selection was pretty much Budweiser and the like. Gross. I remember when that venue carried craft beer. What happened?? I would much rather have quality beer than cute, scantly clad Budweiser girls handing out free Buds and cheap swag any day. Anyway, I digress.
On Thursday I supported a good friend’s band Paint, because Radius Clause couldn’t play NXNE this year. Instead there was a Non-NXNE show at Rancho Relaxo. Good times. From there I biked to Sneaky Dee’s for Dreamers and some craft beer. Back on the bike and off to the Garrison to see my friend rock the bass with Soupcans. I also had the chance to see US Girls who performed just before. Then it was off to the Rivoli for the 3 am set of Overland. Needless to say, this whole night was fantastic and I highly recommend you check out the aforementioned bands. I also ended up staying out till sunrise and having breakfast with Beach Season (they had an earlier set at the Rivoli) and their talent agent. Shout out to these lovely Calgarians!!
Friday was pretty much spent at the M for 159 Manning house party. And boy, what a party it was! There were so many great acts that I lost track. The basement was taken over by the lovely Clara Venice, her cool Theremini (which I got to play!!) and her clones (not actually clones). She was a trooper and played after every living room set for the entire day. One of the other stand out performances was Dead Obies. They had such great, fun energy it could hardly be contained in that little living room.
After spending almost the entire day there I went to Adelaide Hall where I got to see Diana, which I was very happy about, because I missed their Wednesday show. There was sarcasm and epic sax – I was very happy. The band that I was most excited about was Warpaint. I was not disappointed, they were absolutely amazing! They were almost just too cool to be real. The special guest that finished off the night was US Girls. Still fun even though I saw them the night before.
Somehow I got myself up and ready to board a boat by noon for the M for Montreal Bruise Cruise. I almost forgot I was cruising around Lake Ontario for three hours listening to some great Montreal talent. Ponctuation (so french), Dead Obies (totally rocked the boat), CRi (DJ set), Michael Rault (Albertan) and the Muscadets (twins!!). Yeah, that was fun and I got to use #imonaboat.
By the time Sunday rolled around I was pretty worn out and it was Father’s Day. There was still a lot going on for NXNE and I was very tempted to go see more, but I called it a weekend and took it easy. What a weekend it was! Props to all involved and I will see you again next year.