NXNE Review: The Barr Brothers, Massey Hall; Danny Brown, Mod Club, June 20

Barr Bros

What the NXNE Press Guide said about Barr Brothers:

After touring North America through the 90s as part of improv-based rock trio The Slip, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr settled in Montreal and expanded to a quartet with the inclusion of harpist Sarah Page and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial. They’ve birthed a unique sound reliant on interwoven string arrangements, wide open spaces, and a multitude of musical traditions.

Using Massey Hall as a regular NXNE venue was a smart decision by the organizers. Being able to have one of the city’s top music halls available for acts that might not necessarily best fit on a stage in a bar is something I hope continues at future NXNE festivals. Despite it being one of the larger venues in the city, the audience feels a sense of intimacy here and this was used to The Barr Brothers advantage.

The Barr Brothers are singer/guitarist Brad Barr, drummer Andrew Barr, harpist Sarah Page, and bassist/keyboardist Andres Vial. The brothers were once part of indie rock band Slip but have since changed their sound to one that would be classified as Americana with their laid back, acoustic-driven ballads. Their soft echoing melodies engaged the crowd at Massey. They couldn’t have played a better venue to match their sound.

Danny Brown YDS

What NXNE Press Guide said about Danny Brown:

In an era of industry-obsessed MCs, interchangeable hashtag raps, and “viral” everything, it has become increasingly difficult to find a true original in the rap game, an artist able to ignite a buzz without calculatedly chasing it down. Yet ask anyone who’s been paying attention and they’ll tell you: Danny Brown is that dude.

I was fortunate enough to catch Danny Brown twice during the festival. The first show was at a packed Yonge-Dundas Square. Let me say that there’s nothing like a couple thousand fans of various ages yelling lines like “sniffing cocaine” and “with her hands on the floor and her feet on the wall she popped that pussy like she ain’t afraid to fall”. This first show had more of a corporate event feel with various sponsors splashed everywhere.

Less about this show and more about his headlining set at the Mod Club. The dominant demographic here were sweaty mid-20’s fans. They were half-frat, half-hipster all white kids that knew every lyric from every song. They copied his frantic ’80’s exercise move with his arm, they stuck out their tongues, and they lit up joints when Danny asked them to. Of course one was then passed on stage to himself and his DJ and let everyone know that “now it smells like a Danny Brown show” which was then followed by his unique laugh/cackle. This may then explain the following quote between songs: “I get hassled at the border every fucking time. I just wanna roll some shit up, light some shit up and smoke.”

Despite him only being given a 40-minute set, this was the perfect amount of time to get the crowd going without making it repetitive or having anyone look at their watch.

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Posted on by Brent in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast

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