NXNE Review: We Are Scientists, Blinker The Star, June 15, Yonge-Dundas square


It was a sunny Saturday afternoon during NXNE and because I couldn’t be bothered to get myself together in time for the Bruise Cruise featuring Mikal Cronin and others, I opted instead to check out some bands at Yonge & Dundas Square, the fest’s de facto main stage/advertising hub and the spot where all of the major free show take place. This evening’s headliners would be Billy Talent, and a few keeners were already there in the early afternoon as evidenced by all of the Billy Talent t-shirts I saw spread throughout the crowd. I’ve got to say though, none of them earned as much cred in my books as the guy I spotted wearing an Eddie Guerrero shirt.

When I arrived at the Square, New York’s We Are Scientists were already underway.  I wanted to check them out based on the fact that I kind of liked a couple of their songs from previous albums, “After Hours,” and “Nobody Moves, Nobody Gets Hurt.”  They play a pretty catchy brand of power poppish indie rock that was certainly an enjoyable way to while away the afternoon.  They seem like pretty funny guys too, with bassist Chris Cain introducing one song as “a groover” before asking audience members to show through an “anonymous” show of hands who among them was in fact a groover. When singer Keith Murray pointed out that this was indeed far from anonymous, they went off into a tangent about whether or not groovers would be discriminated against.  Luckily the groovers would be safe from any persecution on this day.


Much like with We Are Scientists, I was interested in checking out Blinker The Star not on the merit of anything they were currently involved in, but simply based on nostalgia for their 1999 radio hit, “Below The Sliding Doors.” At the time, singer/guitarist Jordan Zadorozny and band gained some fame, with the band signing to Dreamworks and Zadorozny writing a bunch of songs with Courtney Love for the Celebrity Skin album. As it turns out, that nostalgia may have been a bit misguided, as other than vaguely recalling that song being on the radio a bit, and remembering the Courtney Love connection, I didn’t really ever care all that much for Blinker The Star. This is not to say they put on a bad show or anything; they certainly sounded alright, but the songs lacked the necessary oomph to really reel me in. Still, I did get to hear “Behind The Sliding Doors,” so that was alright. Maybe I would have appreciated it more if they had played Hole’s “Malibu.” I doubt that the band would have enjoyed that as much though.

Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast