NXNE Review: Foxtrott, Lobby, Cathedrals, San Fermin

Foxtrott at NXNE

This year’s NXNE was a bit of a landmark for me. NXNE has always landed on my birthday and this year was no exception. only this year I turned 35. Once you realize you are closer to 40 then 30, a few things change. one of them is laziness. I’m now more okay with being lazy then ever before, and so the prospect of spending the entire night at Adelaide Hall was appealing to me. Why show hop? I got bands here all night, so I decided to take up residence at one venue all night. Here are the bands I saw.

Foxtrott, 9pm – I saw Foxtrott last year and I was mesmerized with their use of the French horn. This year was no different. The French Horn rules. 2015’s version of Foxtrott saw the addition of a drummer to Marie-Helene Delorme and the girl on the French Horn, an addition which added decidedly more punch to the group’s late night electronic atmospheric tunes. Their album drops November and I’m definitely interested to see how their live music translates onto a record.

Here’s where things fall a bit off the cliff. As a veteran festival attendee, nothing drives me more crazy then band’s that take long to setup. I mean, c’mon man, you know you have roughly twenty minutes to set up and have a forty minute set. Music festival slot times are about the only thing that’s standardize in the music industry and seemingly, bands or venues fail to adhere to this one simple rule repeatedly. It’s no wonder sometimes, how the music industry has failed.

Anyways, I’m not sure who to blame, but Toronto group Lobby started later then expected.

Lobby, 10:20ish– Perhaps it was the late start or I’m a cranky old man, but Lobby did not do much to impress me. I think they were aiming for early 2000s era dark pop Interpol meets The Bravery meets the Organ sound or something. The music didn’t sound terribly bad. The vocals however, sounded more suitable for shoegaze tracks (it might have worked if the vocals were also accompanied by a loud swath of guitar and reverb). The band did dress the part though, so points for appearances.

Maybe it was because Lobby took so long to set up, but the next band, Cathedrals, took even longer to set up. Me and Thierry theorized it was because they were West Coast bands and west coast people are generally more chilled about things like this because they have a wonderful coastline and mountains (think Best Coast’s The Only Place). Meanwhile we here are stuck in bitter cold winters and concert jungles.

Cathedrals, 11:35: I seriously thought Cathedrals were going to play for five minutes. However, I guess someone took pity on the group because they played a good chunk of their set. Officially known as a duo, Cathedrals played the set as a four piece. Brodie Jenkins had a strong stage presence and sang each song with much gusto. Her dance moves were mesmerizing and felt like a cross between a yoga instructor and someone who spent too much time at Burning Man. The group’s electro pop seems heavily influenced by 90’s R&B, which is never a bad thing.

San Fermin, NXNE

San Fermin, 12:45: Arguably one of the co-headliners for the night, San Fermin is a band many of our dedicated Panic Manual readers will be familiar with. The group’s outstanding debut record has been covered extensively here and once again, the band played a solid show despite some technical difficulties.

One of San Fermin’s greatest strengths is the dynamic contrast between the band’s singers, yet the mic levels were way off for the show. Despite the obvious mixing problems, the band and it’s many members did not allow that to stop them from playing a solid show.

As I expected, the crowd dug the group. Their live show is really a great example of how a lot of musicians, when they are on the same page can create something truly lovely (it does sound kinda messy when they aren’t). The horn section once again stole the crowd with their intensity and their wandering ways. I really wished Lucius came out to sing Sonsick, but they did not. Still, that track is one of the best tracks from the past few years. Either way, I am sure San Fermin left the show with a few new fans.

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.