NXNE Review: White Cowbell Oklahoma, Suichu Blanco, June 17, Silver Dollar

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Ideally, a festival like NXNE is a good opportunity for making new discoveries – you can randomly pick a band you’ve never seen/heard of before or one of the more hyped up and comers and check them out in the hopes that they’ll be good. Conversely, you can go with an old favourite, a band you’ve seen several times before that you know will put on a good show. As Steve Buscemi’s character in Fargo put it, “Depends on the artist. Y’know, Jose Feliciano, you’ve got no complaints.” On the first night of NXNE, White Cowbell Oklahoma were my Jose Feliciano.

The Toronto based band always puts on an entertaining show, though over the years they’ve toned things down somewhat  – gone are the stuffed animals being torn apart by chainsaws and the Colonel Sanders impersonator (I guess Darrell Hammond’s got that area covered these days) as well as the number of band members, though they have added a sax player since the last time I’ve seen them.  However, while the band may have toned down the antics over the years, they haven’t really lost much in terms of the intensity of the performance. So while it was a relatively subdued set by WCO’s old standards, it still involved a bit of raunchy banter (“This song is about vaginas.” “Aren’t they all about vaginas?”) and an audience invasion from singer Clem C. Clemson, who avoided a ceiling fan before climbing onto the back bar to sing a song from there. And while they may be focusing more directly on the music, they still had one dancer onstage and the tiniest bit of pyro – it wouldn’t quite be a White Cowbell show without those elements.

Following them on the Silver Dollar stage were Suichu Blanco from Japan, who would probably be grateful that White Cowbell has phased out the stuffed animal chainsaw massacres of old, since that would tend to leave a mess for whoever might be following them.  That said, Suichu Blanco also impressed with an intense, hard rocking performance, following in the noisy garage rock tradition of fellow countrymen like The Zoobombs.

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Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast

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