NXNE 2012, Day 4 (Jun. 16): we park it

This year's not-CBC-Radio-3-sanctioned picnic lacked a strike, Moniski and Larry/Barry the dog. Instead, we had the Caboose Boys, Chris Murphy (who happened to be in the park with his family and joined us), kale salad (recipe below) and even more Radio 3 hosts, bloggers and listeners.

We had Tracks on Tracks to thank for three-fifths of the afternoon's intimate acoustic performances. Even though several picnickers had just spent four days on a train with these artists, it was plain they welcomed yet another opportunity to enjoy their music.

First up: Portage and Main. It's been a big year for these Southern-folk rock gentlemen-- Tracks on Tracks, one of the top 20 artists in the 2012 Peak Performance Project, and a new album bowing soon. A guitar case subbed for percussion on their two popular singles, "What Have I Done?" and "Carolina."

The next musicians, who were also part of the Tracks on Tracks, literally went out on a limb for the picnic: Zach Gray (one half of The Zolas) and Adrian Glynn, aka Emperors of the North, aka Murder on the Canadian, aka the Caboose Boys. "There's still one thing to stay up for," they sang, and we totally agree: their charming set performed perched in the branches of a tree.

After missing part of his set the night before, we were happy to have another chance to hear Jeremy Fisher, especially an encore of "The Scar That Never Heals." His play list also included Radio 3 favourite "Shine a Little Light," "Canned Goods," and ended with a great cover of Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard."

We got our first introduction to Ian Foster at the picnic, a folk/pop singer-songwriter in the storyteller vein from St. John's, NL. With his short, prematurely white hair, he seemed a bit out of place with the shaggier musicians. A finalist for SOCAN Songwriter of the Year, he's a talent in his own right. His song "The House," which alludes to the failed centralization of Newfoundland, particularly resonated with us Detroiters.

Last, but certainly not least: Vancouver's folk rock The Matinee. Their trajectory and sound are similar to fellow Vancouverites Portage and Main-- a top 20 finalist for the Peak Performance Project in 2011, Tracks on Tracks, new album soon, and lots of radio love for singles like "Sweet Water." 

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

This salad was a hit at the picnic, courtesy of Radio 3 blogger The Iceman (Ian Young), his wife Zoila and daughter Robin. So many people tried it and liked it, we had to share. We've already made it at home (minus the hemp seeds) and it's delicious. The best part is the kale and cabbage hold up to the dressing and stay crisp for days.

1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, middle stem torn out, finely shredded
1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 orange pepper thinly sliced
5 plum tomatoes seeded and diced
2 avocados peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro coarsely chopped
1/4 cup hemp seeds

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 medium shallot chopped
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
In a large bowl combine kale, cabbage and 1 tbsp of the olive oil from vinaigrette. With your hands, massage the vegetables for about 3 minutes to wilt the kale slightly. Add the remaining vegetables and gently toss. Make vinaigrette by combining all ingredients, gently toss again. Season black beans with cumin, chilli powder, salt and pepper and add to the salad. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the kale to soften further. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Kale is a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory food full of minerals.

Source: http://irun.ca/issues/article.php?id=341&intIssueID=25

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images and CBC Radio 3


Capturing the CBC Radio 3 community in its environment at #NXNE.

Photos by Russ Gordon/N2D Images

Efan and his Island Surfers - Supposed to Feel

Official music video for "Supposed to Feel" from Efan's 2012 EP "Breathe In"
Name Your Price Album purchase here! efan.bandcamp.com/

From Sean McLeod

NXNE 2012, Day 3 (Jun. 15): from coast to coast

To borrow one of CBC Radio 3 host Grant Lawrence's pet taglines, Friday night at NXNE was truly a Pan-Canadian set, spanning bands from across the country beginning with...

Lenny "WildWorks" Wu interviewing Grant Lawrence.

Windsor's own The Unquiet Dead at the Cadillac Lounge-- You get a lot for your money with this band, and not just because they're a 10-piece. Although they have a short history together, individually they're talented and seasoned musicians. Fans of Windsor's music scene and beyond will recognize members from The Golden Hands Before God, Magic Hall of Mirrors, Two For The Cascade and Surdaster. The result is a fortuitous assembly with broad musical knowledge, and it shows in their psychedelic-infused folky rock.

Jeremy Fisher (Ottawa) at the Dakota Tavern-- We had arrived early for The Danks' show, and were very glad we did. It turned into one of those great NXNE moments, when you end up at a show you hadn't planned on and know you're seeing a top performance. We were familiar with Fisher of course from Radio 3, but didn't realize how much, as he delivered funny stage banter and song after song we knew and loved, especially "The Scar That Never Heals." By comparison...


PEI's The Danks-- were a disappointment. Except for two solid selections from their 2009 album, Who's Afraid of the Danks?, including "Sold Me Out," their set was shambling and more like a practice session. It would have been nice to see them take NXNE a little more seriously.

One of the tough things about festivals like NXNE is choosing between bands you've already seen and know will be great, and trying something new. We reluctantly bypassed Elephant Stone and Parlovr for...

The Provincial Archive at The Painted Lady-- There couldn't have been an odder pairing of band and venue at NXNE. We walked past the scantily dressed young woman gyrating on the bar to hear an earnest set of indie-folk from this cerebral Edmonton band, surrounded by posters of soft porn eye candy. The highlight for us, though, was meeting Ken Beattie of Killbeat Music, who handles publicity for some of the best in Canadian indie.

Brasstronaut at the Gladstone Hotel-- was the show we had been waiting for. In fact, we'd been waiting since 2010 to see Brasstronaut (Vancouver) again; their show at the Phog Lounge remains an all-time favourite. They did not disappoint. Their newest release Mean Sun is outstanding, and so was their performance of most of the album's progressive (and sometimes retro) alt-rock to a packed room. It's not just mean that Mean Sun was overlooked for this year's Polaris Prize, it's criminal.

Cobra & Vulture at the Cameron House-- inside the bizarre rabbit warren decorated with giant bugs that is the Cameron House, we closed out the night at 2 a.m. with Montreal's Cobra & Vulture. We were there to support drummer Jeremy MacCuish (Parlovr), but were more than intrigued by vocalists/guitarists Amber Goodwyn and Erin Ross. It will be interesting to see what this alt-rock band does in the future. For now, you get a free download of their two EPs on Bandcamp.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images