Concert Review: US Girls, June 15, Yonge-Dundas Square

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The last couple of years have seen NXNE take a bit of a sharp decline, with the focus moving away from the club-level shows and towards the ultimately failed experiment of the Portlands fest-within-a-fest. Generally, many were less than impressed with the direction NXNE seemed to be going. Our coverage of NXNE on this very site also reflected this, with phrases like: “Holy crap what the hell happened to NXNE?”, “NXNE is not what it used to be”, “NXNE is a tiny shell of its former self” and “Let’s face it, NXNE is dead” coming up in our reviews over the past two years.

Thankfully, NXNE is not dead yet and seems to be making its way towards a recovery of some sort with this year’s move back into its old stomping grounds at Yonge-Dundas Square anchored by a fairly stacked lineup that included the likes of Chvrches, Lights, Big Freedia, Tinashe, and Torres taking to the stage (although not the regular stage at YDS – NXNE set up a separate new stage out on Yonge Street for some reason). The first night of the big, free, outdoor shows started things off strong with a solid lineup that included Jazz Cartier, Azealia Banks, and recent Polaris longlist nominees US Girls.

Taking to the stage at 7:00pm, US Girls’ Meghan Remy made a strong impression right off the bat as she took to the stage and asked the gathered crowd to close their eyes and imagine what this space had been used for in years gone by, in the days “before H&M, before LED and NXNE.” In a sense, she was perhaps trying to reclaim the space, or at least to get people thinking about how we use that space. It was a memorable moment for sure.

US Girls impressed with a set that showcased the talents of Remy and her stellar band as they ran through songs off of their latest release In A Poem Unlimited. The band’s mix of thoughtful and political lyrics alongside danceable, disco-inspired grooves made for an inspiring and entirely memorable performance.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts, North By Northeast

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