NXNE Review: Criminal Hygiene, Sneaky Dee’s; Idgy Dean, Baltic Avenue, June 21

criminal hygiene

The bio for Criminal Hygiene makes reference to the Replacements and the comparison does hold up, not just in the band’s melodic yet raw tunes, but in their onstage demeanor as well.  The band admitted that they had been drinking since 3:00 that afternoon (very ‘Mats) and that their earlier afternoon set at Yonge Dundas Square was the more professional sounding one.  I say professionalism be damned – their midnight set at Sneaky Dee’s was a bit sloppy, yes, but perhaps all the more fun because of it.

“We got stuff for you to buy … but you won’t … but it’s there if you want.” The band was being realistic about life at one of these music festivals and showing a good sense of humour about it all, but they had a merch table set up pretty much in front of the stage just so you wouldn’t miss it in case you wanted something.  I was slightly tempted, but wasn’t about to carry a 7 inch around with me for the rest of the night.

Their sense of humour was further on display in some of their other stage banter, with lines like,”We have a 5 year plan and that’s for you to never listen to us again” and a random shout out to the recently elected Han Dong (“Vote Han Dong.  I can’t stress that enough.”).  They ended off their set by announcing that they had two more songs, both originals, then followed that up with a cover of KISS’s “Love Gun.”  Yup, these guys are definitely Replacements fans.


Earlier in the night, I saw a very different set by an equally engaging artist, Brooklyn’s Idgy Dean aka Lindsay Sanwald.  A solo artist, Sanwald fills out the sound by laying down the drums and guitar and sampling them live.  The solo artist who performs everything live and then loops it has almost become a cliche at this point, but that doesn’t make it any less of a joy to watch when its done well.  Idgy Dean may not be reinventing the wheel but she’s putting that previously invented wheel to good use. There were maybe only a dozen or so at her show but most were dancing including the performer herself.

Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast