NXNE 2013: Day 2
There's nothing like a good breakfast at Aunties & Uncles to begin a long day at NXNE. You know you're eating at the right place when your dining companions are folks who work there, order the same thing as you, and entertain you with an amusing debate about why people wear toques in the summer.
There's also nothing like a musically diverse schedule to keep you coming back to NXNE. We didn't plan it that way, but by the end of the night, we'd experienced an impressive cross-section of Canadian indie. This is what it looked and sounded like:
Dusted @ Urban Outfitters' 2nd Annual Free Day Show: We enjoyed their show at Phog Lounge last fall so much we came back for more of Brian Borcherdt's ethereal voice and Leon Taheny's splendid multi-instrumental talent. Their set started off-key, but for a reason fans won't mind: "We've been doing some recording," said Taheny, "instead of practicing our set." But it was all good after that. Listen: "Cut Them Free"
The Darcys @ the Glenn Gould Studio atrium: We had to part a red sea of Taylor Swift fans to get to the CBC Beetle Roadtrip Sessions finish line party, but it was well worth the effort. The Darcys' lead singer Jason Couse' falsetto rivals Borcherdt's, but there the resemblance ends between the two bands. Although we weren't able to give their experimental alt-rock the attention it deserved due to the party, their performance in April at the Phog will be on our top show list for sure. Listen: "House Built Around Your Voice"
Wildlife @ Mod Club Theatre: "Sea Dreamer" hooked us originally on Wildlife. It's something of an anomaly compared to the rest of their more mainstream anthemic rock. But there was no doubt they had the audience hooked with their energetic set. Listen: "Born To Ruin."
The Crackling @ Supermarket: Forget about the ties to Dan Mangan and Mother Mother. The Crackling's pedigree is more than the sum of its connections. Backed by experienced, career musicians like himself, Kenton Loewen makes deeply personal, intense folk rock. Listen: "Ashen"
Pat LePoidevin @ Free Times Cafe: A song about astronauts' wives in the 1960s and 70s? The moon, wolves and fire as a recurring themes? A new album of songs featuring stories about fictional towns in the United States? An agile voice with wonderful timbre? Not your average singer songwriter. Listen: "Winter Park, CO"
Pick a Piper @ Comfort Zone: Our favourite show of the night. One trombone, one drummer, two guys on keyboards who also switched to drums at times, making electronic organic space pop. And yes, that's an accurate description. We loved the tribal drumming to the elephantine free-form trumpeting of the trombone.
The Danks @ The Hideout: You told us to give them a second chance, and we're glad we did. Now's that the smart, catchy alt pop-rock we love. With the exception of the trudging "Experimental Fiction," the songs off their long-awaited new album GANK prove worth the wait. A great way to close out our night of "Genre Tourism."
Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images