Monday, June 16, 2008

NXNE'ing (Friday night).

I took a couple hours off between the afternoon and the evening---enough time to come home, check e-mail, decompress for a bit, and run an errand. And then I was back at it, at Sonic Boom for an in-store performance by Montreal punk rockers, Hot Springs. This female-led group impressed me, even if their music isn't quite my thing. I was also impressed by the vocalist's outfit. Not something I would have chosen to wear to rock out in, but, heck, she looked good. Otherwise, and I'm sure in part because I saw so many bands this weekend, I found them unmemorable. But definitely a band I wouldn't have a problem with seeing again at a live show.After Hot Springs, I ducked out of the record store to get some dinner. It was going to be a busy night, and I didn't want to miss out on any of the fun because I was hungry! Dinner (sushi) was pretty quick, and involved discussion with the couple sitting next to me about the festival. I made it to Kathedral in time to chat with the guys from Oh No Forest Fires and Beth in Battle Mode, and was then completely blown away by ONFF's set. Wow. I'd seen this band four times before, but Friday night they were amazing. I loved the new songs, the additional musical elements added in, and the all-out performance. It was great. Instantly the highlight of the festival for me up to that point.A friend of mine arrived during their set, and then the two of us braved the rain outside for approximately 5 seconds until we got into the Reverb, just next door. There, we caught Great Lake Swimmers, one of his favourite bands. The room was full, which was fun---the first relatively big show of the festival for me! I don't know this band very well, but they were lovely. Folk-tinged ballads, beautiful vocals, and expressive instrumentation. I really like the drummer, Greg Millson, who's also played with Forest City Lovers, Gentleman Reg, and the Hylozoists, among other awesome groups/performers. There was a wicked thunderstorm happening outside, and what sounded like a loud dance party below us. The floor shaking just a bit and lighting bolts visible through the large block-glass windows gave the show an added touch. It was quite awesome. An experience I won't soon forget.

The set was recorded for CBC Radio 3, which was broadcasting live from Reverb all night. At one point, not realizing that this was live to air, I yelled up at the host to ask him a question. He responded. So, hey, I interrupted a radio broadcast!I was too close to the band to get a shot of all of them together, so you get two photos for these guys.
Laura Barrett was on next. But I couldn't stay, though I do love her so. I had promised a friend of mine that I'd go see him play, and I was happy to do so, though less happy that I had to bike in the rain to get there. Good thing the thunderstorm had ended by now. (I haven't heard anything yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the chattering going on in the room drowned out some of Laura Barrett's sound.) Eleven o'clock saw me at the Free Times Cafe for Brad Casey. He's a lovely performer, a singer-songwriter, but he plays around with his style a little bit, and knows how to work a small crowd. I recommend seeing him if you get a chance. And check out the cool amp.
By the time I arrived at Free Times I was kinda wet. I was still damp when midnight rolled around, so figured I'd stay put for the next performer, westerner Lorrie Matheson. Local musician Simeon Ross (a solo performer, also of the band Infighter) had come to see him, so I took that as a recommendation that I should too. The room filled up some more before he took the small stage, and as he plugged in all his various pedals, etc. It was a lot of equipment for one guy with a guitar! I was glad to have stayed. He was impressive, and by the end of his set---he ended with a song sung without musical accompaniment---I was on the verge of tears. No mean feat.By now I'd already had a pretty varied night of music. Punk, indie rock, folk ballads, troubadouring . . . so why not continue this? I walked up with BC to the Silver Dollar to see The Diableros. This Toronto outfit have been around for a while, but over the winter they changed up their lineup, adding a new drummer and bass player. The Diableros' most recent album is one I actually paid money for, even before I'd ever seen them live. (I hadn't seen them at all before Friday night.) This is an extremely uncommon thing for me to do, so needless to say, my hopes were pretty high. I was worried that they were too high, especially since the two new members are people I know and like. Well, I shouldn't have been concerned. What a show they put on! The recorded songs sound so much better live. The Silver Dollar was jam packed with people. A definite highlight of the festival. Great, great, great. Too bad my photos are terrible.
Thus we come to 1:45am or so. What to do? More music, of course! TW had recommended Vancouver duo the Pack A.D. to me, and they were on at the Horseshoe at 2:15am. It wasn't a difficult decision to make. Soon enough I was stomping my feet harder than I ever should have. Hot damn, these women know how to rock! (It sounds super cheesy saying that, but really it's true.) They'd already performed earlier in the day, but were in fine form. As they played the crowd near the stage got larger and larger, to the point where people yelled out for an encore for a minute after they stopped playing. No dice. There was probably another band on, but I'd had enough. Why ruin the perfect end to an unbelievable day? Home, bed, and up again for more music on Saturday.

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