Happy Birthday Emily! – a riot of fun at NXNE – Thursday, June 16, 2011

I had too much to dream last night

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NXNE, the annual music festival swallows the entire city of Toronto for five days from June 15 to 19. Barely emembering the days where 300 bands in 30 clubs was the norm and dashing along Queen Street West to try to find Sully in some nondescript basement bar, then trying to cover 500 bands in 50 clubs, NXNE has exploded to include squares and parks and even the Toronto Pearson Airport. Plus NXNE has added a movie festival, too. The music, the music, the music is what NXNE is all about though.

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So there could be no better circus to celebrate Emily Bones’s birthday that to be back with Mittenz at Silver Dollar again. Mittenz were a cataclysmic bundle of fun who kickstarted the night at 8 pm. A lot of musical might and flight of fancy. We just simply adore this quartet of ladies. And how could we forget to mention the matching dresses of the two wifeys?

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Although it initially looked like they were going to be reduced to a four song set, they had extended time to almost forty minutes and delivered the goods, starting with Bucket List then their musical parade of catchy and beachy fun tunes. And keenly aware of the scene they throw in their dig at the Lady Caca who was in town during the fest for some other event down at MuchMusic. The early crowd swelled up in numbers and provided the impetus for Mittenz to perform at their best.

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NXNE runs like clockwork in a Dan Burke world, then Mittenz teardown and Purple Hill setup and came onstage at 9. “Where are you from?” They came onstage with an old style sound reminiscent of Soul Asylum in its heyday. It was a Thursday night at the Silver Dollar. Very friendly types from Toronto, wearing t-shirts trying to assert their macho and wearing T-shirts with “Trust your Looks” across the front, they were promoting a new CD that was in the recording process and playing songs from it, and at the same time promoting a CD they were anxiously trying to give away for free. Cute song of the night: Unicorn Rainbow.

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Purple Hill - NXNE - 9:04 p.m.

Elvyn from Peterborough or Toronto or “we’re from everywhere”, had an assortment of diehard fans shouting out their love for the band. What might have been dicey was the sobriety and gender of the people shouting out their love for the singer. Have they really been around eleven years and finally worked their way to land a ten o’clock slot on stage, and AA recovery victims? The sound is psychedelic laced with reverbery soaring spacey “We’re from the future of rock and roll, We play the past or rock and roll” David Roback sounds. Love songs traded off on vocals between the brothers on guitar and drums. Ellie. Superb song.

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Chains of Love @ 11 p.m.

Chains of Love. Where are you from? “We’re from Riot City” were a visual
treat to eye and a fashion parade on stage, the ladies on vocal and guitar in killer tight little black dresses and heels on stage? And the dudes were insouciantly cool – but the glitzy and glam looks belied the surfy Raveonette tunes that were tight tight tight in the arrangement and playing.

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Crocodiles @ midnight

Crocodiles from San Diego, California were the successors and cap-off of the night at least here
as midnight struck. The singer in the black Elvis Costello skinny suit and Misfits t was the coolest of the cool this side of Oasis Liam Gallagher as the focal point of a killer quintet with female drummer and keyboardist on Farfisa, then add bass and guitar feedback, all players and crowd bobbing their heads and necks in time, pulsating to a hypnotic beat and soaring searingly loud loops,  and reverberating distortion. A modernist Stereolab.

Dirty Beaches came on at one but the beck of the last TTC demanded that we leave but not without at least saying farewells and hugs and thank you to Mittenz, who still remained the highlight of the night just because of all the bands that night they remain genuine. Plus the margherita slice from Fresca’s which sits where Massimo’s used to be, but it’s the same delicous pizza with pesto and peppers. The misty rain landed on the streets as the girls at the streetcar stop with a bicycle between them searched for their fares.

More killer heels and another killer night at NXNE in Toronto.

– 30 –

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