Jessica’s NXNE Round Up Part 2: Dora Alexander, Action Makes, Crocodiles, Paper Lions

Now that North by Northeast 2011 is over, it’s time to reflect over the good, the bad and the sweaty. Here’s a recap of what I experienced over those four days.

Part 1 is here

Friday June 17
This night I saw pretty much every band I intended on seeing. It was also a night when I went to three different venues, agonized over feet in pain, stayed out until 4 and spent the latter half of the night in the back of Sneaky Dee’s sweating and chatting with friends in town for the fest.

I started off at the Velvet Underground, a venue I had never been to in the city. It was empty when I got there, but by the time Armen at the Bazaar finished his first song, there was a healthy crowd there to take in his solo electronic set-up. I’ve recently been digging his Noor EP, and I noticed that live he expands his songs into longer, more dramatic adventures as well as dives into more dance/DJ territory. It was a neat set to see.

ZED by Armen at the Bazaar

Locals Dora Alexander took the stage next. I saw them once months ago, but this time was a whole new experience. They were solid throughout, rotating who played the keyboards and seemed totally comfortable. They have a good balance of dreamy vocals, three explorative guitars and a steady percussive pace. After that, I stayed for a few songs of Hexes & Oh’s set. I was curious to see what it would be like as I remember hearing an album of theirs a couple years ago now. Turns out they had been on hiatus, so they played all those same songs. It was cute (and not just because of their attire, cough bow tie and suspenders cough), but I didn’t feel any pull to stay.

Music Box by Dora Alexander by staticzine

I was too excited to get to the Silver Dollar for locals Action Makes, another recent favourite of mine. I’ve wanted to see them for a while now but kept missing their sets, and I’m so glad I got to see this one, even though someone spilled beer all down my side. I often use ‘bad ass’ to describe them, as they have the attitude and dark hooks down. Their self-titled album is great, and Let Them Go among other songs on there have become anthems I like to let loose to. Seeing them take over this small stage that they’re used to playing meant that I got to see them in their right element. It went by all too fast, though, which has left me wanting to see them again.

Action Makes: Let Them Go by OpticalSounds

I was looking forward to seeing Crocodiles, a garage-rock duo-turned-quintet from California, who went on right after Action Makes. They played the Silver Dollar three nights in a row at NXNE and were clearly one of the top highlights. I only got to stick around for a few songs as the temperature in the venue became unbearable and friends wanted to get to the next venue. But what we did see was something we want to get to know more, especially after seeing the Dum Dum Girls jump up on stage during a song.

It was then off to Sneaky Dee’s down the street where we caught the end of Paper Lions’ set and it was even hotter in there than it was at the Silver Dollar. Up to the front my courageous photographer friends went for the rest of the night and I found some other pals towards the back. Paper Lions sounded much more upbeat and excited than I remembered, and the place was packed and jumping (Sneaky’s floor is notorious for shaking) so I’ll try to catch them when they come back. Great Bloomers took the stage next, which undoubtedly many people have been looking forward to as the band hasn’t really played around here in quite some time. My night then ended with a raucous set by Sheezer, a you-guessed-it female Weezer cover band that’s made quite the name for themselves around the city. Sneaky’s went wild for the group.

Paper Lions – Lost The War by musebox

Stay tuned for part 3!

Jessica is an occasional contributor to the Panic Manual. She also writes for her own blog – Roundletters and is a key founding member of Static Zine

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Posted on by jessica in North By Northeast

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