NXNE Day 4: Yonge-Dundas Square, Flemish Eye/Weird Canada Showcase, S.L. Feldman Showcase & More

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I spent my afternoon over at Yonge-Dundas Square for a crazy awesome lineup.

DD/MM/YYYY took the stage at 4pm and the crowd was scarce. But despite the small crowd, the band released a couple large foil balloons that the crowd got a kick out of. Those we weren’t familiar with the music enjoyed throwing around the balloons and even chasing after them down the street. DD/MM/YYYY has been around for quite some time and while the recognition in playing the big stage was rightly deserved, their eccentric experimental rock was a little lost on the stage. Regardless, the band made the most of set and they were still a lot of fun to watch.

Armed simply with a guitar, a microphone and a drum machine and continuing in the same experimental vein, Dirty Beaches, also known as Alex Zhang Hungtai, took the stage and said that he seemed to have “graduated from playing basement DIY shows” and followed up with saying, “Fucking swag!” Honest and unassuming, the set was quite entrancing, despite the still small crowd. Dirty Beaches’ debut full-length Badlands has been long listed for the Polaris Prize, which means you should certainly check it out.

The Coppertone replaced DOM, which may have been a disappointment to some who didn’t know about the change, but it was exciting news for me. The Coppertone is the musical project of Amanda Zelina, featuring hearty blues rock vocals that can almost take one back in time. Considering that voice and a gritty edge, it was a stunner of a performance. With an energetic Pat McCormack on bass, the set also was a lot of fun to watch.

I was most looking forward to seeing Cults at Yonge-Dundas Square on this Saturday afternoon. Creating quite a buzz with their self-titled debut, the band showed eager show-goers why their 60s revival music is the real deal. Madeline Frollin’s charm makes her voice all the more enticing, while Brian Oblivion’s long locks swing around as if their music was much harder. Cults had fans dancing along, spellbound and grinning from ear to ear. It was a lovely set, though it probably paled in comparison to their set at Lee’s Palace the night before, which is all the more reason to make sure I get a chance to see the band again.

I stuck around for Men Without Hats, simply for the novelty of the show. The set was a lot of fun and the energy was high, though I have my suspicions most people were waiting for “The Safety Dance” and just wanted Devo to get on stage. Hilariously awesome night? Absolutely.

Alex did a little venue hopping of his own, starting off his night at The Dakota Tavern.

Chris Velan

Chris Velan [NXNE] Chris Velan [NXNE] Chris Velan [NXNE]


Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE] Bellewoods [NXNE]

Alex then hit up the S.L. Feldman showcase.

Bleeker Ridge

Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE] Bleeker Ridge [NXNE]

Candy Coated Killahz

Candy Coated Killahz [NXNE] Candy Coated Killahz [NXNE] Candy Coated Killahz [NXNE]

Hello Beautiful

Hello Beautiful [NXNE] Hello Beautiful [NXNE] Hello Beautiful [NXNE] Hello Beautiful [NXNE] Hello Beautiful [NXNE] Hello Beautiful [NXNE]

Die Mannequin

Die Mannequin [NXNE] Die Mannequin [NXNE] Die Mannequin [NXNE] Die Mannequin [NXNE] Die Mannequin [NXNE] Die Mannequin [NXNE]


Menew [NXNE] Menew [NXNE] Menew [NXNE] Menew [NXNE]

I spent my evening at the showcase I was looking forward to most of all when it was announced, which was co-presented by record label Flemish Eye and Weird Canada, the music website deemed the Best Music Website in Canada by CBC Radio 3’s Searchlight 2011.

Jennifer Castle took the stage at 10pm and The Great Hall was already buzzing quite a bit. Castle’s gorgeous voice has a bit of a twang, but she pairs her vocals with a bit of a more experimental folk sound. The set felt intimate and soulful, but the buzz seemed to be more for the acts that followed her. It’s a shame, though, as Castle remains under the radar despite her obvious singer-songwriter talent.

I had fallen in love with BraidsPolaris Prize long listed Native Speaker when it was released earlier this year and they certainly didn’t disappoint me live. With intricate melodies, rich harmonies and Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s ability to fight through food poisoning, I was impressed. The show wasn’t exactly exciting, but the music sounded exactly as I had hoped it would sound live – shimmering, textured, and mesmerizing.

While I was a little disappointed by Chad VanGaalen’s slightly sloppy set due to his guitar being out of tune at times, I can appreciate VanGaalen’s long-standing history of fascinating music. At times I felt like the floor was going to cave in due to everyone at this sold out venue jumping around at the exact same time, which is a sign of how much of a following VanGaalen has. “Sara” was the highlight of the set for me, which was so good that it completely made up for the out of tune guitar. Yes, that song is just that good.

I ended my night with Montreal’s HONHEEHONHEE at the El Mocambo, which was sort of an accident but the most pleasant accident. Their indie pop rock is exuberant with just enough quirk to make HONHEEHONHEE stand out. Even though their set was at 2am and the venue emptied out quite a bit, the energy from the stage was enough to get those at the front to rock out. It was such a great way to end the night.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Live Music, NXNE 2011


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: