It was a beautiful evening outside and even though I said to myself that I’d ride my bike around each night of the festival because of the convenience, due to time constraints, and so I didn’t drink too much, this was the only night I did. Saturday night brought me to the Garrison where male-female duo from Halifax Cousins were playing straight ahead melodic rock. Based on two-piece rock outfits, Cousins are more Matt & Kim and White Stripes than Black Keys or Japandroids. The vocals were synced to their riffs as well as with the pounding drums. No messing around. At one point between songs guitarist and vocalist Aaron commented that he sometimes feels nervous being in Toronto because “you have rules here”. Apparently once he was accosted by a bouncer trying to smuggle a beer outside. Nevertheless, the crowd made them feel comfortable with a non-stop dance session in front of the stage.
Moving up the street I made it to Sneaky Dee’s to see another East Coast band Boxer the Horse. I saw them last year at NXNE and my hope was that they would have some new material. Despite not having a new album, they were playing in support of their latest French Residency and three songs that didn’t make the cut. They sounded like the same quirky indie guitar band but were more polished and perhaps more mature. Doubtful that you’d come across a band with wittier lyrics over the weekend “Do you like to get messed up and wander round in fancy clothes / Paint the ice and roadway salts with the colours of your bloody nose?” and “Busted-cane-sugar-crowned lovers came into my town / To see all the little Punks wrestle with conformity and drown / They’ve got each other but not for long because we’ve all prepaid in advance / For the Lonely Misanthropic League’s Annual Society Dance.” Put that in your pipe.
I left early to hopefully get in to see Danish punk band Iceage at the Horseshoe and despite an insane line that extended to the corner of Queen and Spadina I was able to weasel my way straight in. Passes have their privileges. Inside most were waiting around in anticipation and even though I wasn’t able to get a decent view of the stage, I didn’t want want to get in to the hot mess any more than I already was. Before they started, lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt told the crowd “all the big cameras just please fucking go back. It’s annoying.” The rest of the band stayed in place on stage and played their instruments without issue and as much as I supported getting rid of camera folk to make more room for fans, Rønnenfelt turned in to a bit of a pretentious rockstar from then on. Stumbling around the stage, wrapping the microphone cord around his neck, staring at random things with a blank look on his face. It’s hard to take posturing like that. Kids these days I guess. That being said, I was still able to make it to Evan Dando next door at the Rivoli for some Dad-rock.
My last band of NXNE 2013 was Mikal Cronin who just happened to be one of my first bands of NXNE 2013. Same hot sweaty intense night at the Silver Dollar. This time though I was able to catch poor Mikal at the bar having to pay for his two bottles of beer (still tipped a twonie too). A nice way way to end it followed by an even nicer bike ride home to cool off.