Blisters in the ears and all things good on a Friday night at NXNE, edition 2011. A night to be spent down at Comfort Zone, kitty korner down from Silver Dollar Room where we had survived a crush from Mittenz to Crocodiles.
In the murky black and black lighting of comfort zone, little foot long foot rocking it out on keyboards and guitars. From nearby Toronto, this quartet set the tone for the night with muddy howling blues and it was only approaching 9 p.m.
The Young Things were given the kick onto the stage. If you were expecting the likes of Peter and Bjorn young types, the New York, New York band were neither pretty faces in mode gear nor young things whistling jaunty tunes. Instead, live The Young Things beckoned with their lyrics a la mode de Kinks. Dedicated to pop and all good things rock, it’s so easy for you to laugh with elemental hooks from Get Back vs. Dancing in the Streets vs. Let’s Spend the Night Together. The night is a success so far, and a giveaway of a few CDs of their tunes on myspace.
Despite Lulu on bass apologizing for rocking out on her perch from the high seating on stage because she wrecked her back, The Vandelles were the highlight of the night [not that everybody else rocked less or less outstanding, it’s just that The Vandelles were the band we had to see]. A wash of melodic feedback with a Velvet touch and loud, piercing wall of guitar that recalled the best of Lush and Jesus and Mary Chain. Must find their vinyl.
My Skin Against Your Skin hail from Taiwan. And having absorbed every punk rock nuance into their soul, these are not My Little Airport artisans. The three piece of bass, drums and vocalist with dead drop gorgeous model looks have learned their lessons from Shirley Manson crossed with Avengers. The bass was treated through a floorlength of pedals, the drummer at the back trying not to look out of place. The singer slippery and snakey, slithery and sexyyslinky, Sandii and the Sunsetz in punk style Chinese skin. But polite and impeccably adept in English, so there was no barrier between them and the crowd, literally. The boys in the crowd were more into the music than their beer which was a good sign in a way.
The highlight of midnight and our other highly anticipated band of the night [but once again all the bands of the bands were treats]. The Hoa Hoa’s [pronounced wah-wahs] from the local part of Toronto have been honing their sound seemingly forever, and their performance on this night at NXNE was an aural bomb of delight to the ear. The band, chiefly dressed in white looking like clones out of Sleeper, [except other guitarist in the coolest Dinosaur Jr. shirt ever] played ’tis like Stereolab on a very very good day with loopy cycles on guitar played note for note manually, and whispery and loud dynamic vocals and bass adding to the droney swirly atmosphere.
Heavy Cream capped off the night, at least for yours truly as that magic time came upon where late TTC riders turn to the all night bus at their own peril, From that neck of the woods in Nashville, Tennessee and armed with one minute songs in their repertoire, one might have expected The Cramps, instead Heavy Cream were monsters of pure punk monstrousness. [Monstrosities would be the wrong word.] With pure reluctance, we had to flee the comfort of comfort zone into the neon lit night, the ears ringing with the deeelight of music played for music’s sake.
/… more to come