Like the picnic, this year's final night at NXNE lacked some of the surreality (is that a word?) of 2011-- there was no drunken dallying the alley in the wee hours of the morning while Jian Ghomeshi tried to figure out how to jump start a car. But the evening's slate of music, a solid lineup of great Canadian indie rock, blues and pop, surely needed no jump to get started.
Our home base for the evening was the Sirius XM / CBC Radio 3 Showcase at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, beginning with Special Guest. That band gets around a lot, almost as much as the mysterious TBD. In this case, Special Guest sounded a lot like Kelowna's Yukon Blonde. They also sounded a lot like they were still riding high on Tiger Talk landing on the 2012 Polaris Prize long list. We've seen this band five times now, and they never fail to deliver on their harmony-laden pop rock with a 60s vibe. Recent addition Matt Kelly from Treelines (on pedal steel and guitar) fits the band to a T.
We slipped out of the Shoe to put our Little Foot Long Foot in the door down at the Bovine Sex Club. This venue (and its website, for that matter) looks like a garage sale exploded, but Little Foot Long Foot attacked their set of bluesy rock with single-minded intent. Once the Toronto trio-- Joan Smith on vocals and guitar, Caitlin Dacey on keys and Isaac Klein at the kit-- turned on the energy they didn't turn it off, from start to finish.
Then it was back to the Shoe to close out NXNE the way we started last year's Saturday night: with catl. Despite the departure their drummer/manager last year, the title of their latest album, Soon This Will All Be Gone, has been anything but prophetic. catl. (Jamie Fleming), Sarah Kirkpatrick and Andrew Mosynski (of the Deadly Snakes) put on one heck of a show, proving juke joint rhythm and blues never go out of style. Take a swim in the Mississippi Delta with catl. this Thurs., Sep. 13 in Detroit at PJ's Lager House.
Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images