#NXNE RoundTable: Do you have a day job?

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast | Leave a comment


NXNE is once again approaching. There are bands playing this festival and we asked a few of them a bunch of questions. One of the questions that always intrigues me is whether or not the members of a band have a day job. I have no idea. Anyways, I gathered a bunch of bands in a webex session and hammered out just exactly what they did.

Bone Donor (Thursday, 10 PM, Coalition): Day jobs, we are a tattoo artist, a bookworm, a decontaminatrix of surgical tools, and a witch.

Bone Donor is a Toronto based hard rock band, as you might imagine from their band name. No twee act is calling themselves Bone Donor.

Cauldron (Saturday, 8 pm, Opera House): Yes, two of us do gardening for rich people and one of us sells propane and propane accessories.

Cauldron is a Toronto based metal band, so Paul will probably be at that show.

DJ Brace (Saturday, 10 pm, Coalition): I do many types of work during the day. I have been a DJ/Scratch/Music Production Teacher since 2002. I also consult beginner DJs on equipment, often helping them source their first set up. I produce scratch choruses generally for rappers or instrumental electronic music projects, produce instrumentals for television, and remixes for other artists. I also do day time DJ gigs at corporate events. Started a partnership with Lilly, my cat, who always makes beats by walking on my gear, she kills it.

DJ Brace wins a lot of turntable competitions, that’s like Masterchef of DJing, so he’s probably pretty good.

The Big Lonely (Wednesday, 11 pm, Painted Lady): We do have day jobs. I (Jake) pitch tents at an event rental company. Ciaran sets up bouncy castles for kids, and ocassionally is the conductor of a children’s train. Cole is doing what he really loves to do at local craft brewery. Taylor is program director at a university radio station, and Andrew works in a restaurant.

Big Lonely are from Burlington. More importantly, I have it on good word they might set up a bouncy castle inside the Painted Lady for their showcase!

Featurette (Friday, 9pm, Painted Lady): Why yes! We do – we own a company called Black Apron Entertainment, which dually hosts our FEATURETTE interests as well as something called ‘Paint Nite’. It’s a pretty cool business – we teach people to paint in bars and restaurants across Toronto, while they drink and have a great time! It’s another performance gig really – performers to the end!!

Featurette’s set at the Painted Lady will also include painting (maybe not)

Lux Deluxe (Wednesday, 12am, Cameron House): Yes for the most part. we’ve got a couple guys working at the same grocery store (Stop & Shop shout out) our singer works at the gas station there and takes care of band business while he’s technically working at the gas station. Our drummer cleans windows. if you’ve got dirty windows, give him a call. He’s the best in the biz.

Disclosure: The drummer did not clean our windows as requested.

Beams (Friday, 1am, Cameron House): Let’s see… most of us do, all of us except for Keith, who plays hockey and DJ’s dance parties for a living, and Dave, who works part time while studying to be a space scientist. Heather works at a music store, I (Anna) work in guitar repairs, Craig works in sales for electrical solutions, Martin is a programmer and Mike does classroom tech support. We’d all rather be gigging.

Disclosure: Keith used to book us for party nights, so listen to their songs!

Shad (Sunday, 9pm, Yonge-Dundas Square): I’m the clean up guy, when other people make a mess, I come in and clean stuff up.**

** I made this up.

In Conclusion, people have day jobs. Music isn’t as glamorous as I thought.

Surviving NXNE: A toolkit just for you

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast | Leave a comment

Best Coast, NXNE, June 17, 2010, The Great Hall

North By Northeast is once again around the corner. This years version has thus far seem a bit cursed. First, Action Bronson decided that he should headline Sunday at NXNE despite having written some horrible lyrics early in his career. Then one of the members of Rae Sremmurd decided he didn’t want one of his legs anymore. Most recently, White Lung had to cancel because one of the members is supposedly in ISIS or something. What’s up with that?

Still, as they say in showbiz, the show must go on.

You must go on, music fan, for it is you that this music festival is for.

Survival Kit
Here is what you should pack:


Just kidding, I just found that picture randomly on pinterest. What you really need is:

Ear plugs – Don’t be a hero. Wear earplugs. Think of your grandchildren. Think of not being able to hear them because you didn’t wear your god damn earplugs for some band that you won’t even remember a mere ten days after NXNE.

Phone Battery + Cord – If your phone dies and Brendan Canning comes out as a special guest DJ for an after party you are attending at some random house, how the hell are you going to instagram it to show how freakin cool and alive you are?

The NXNE guide booklet – Let’s face it, the NXNE app has not been very good the past few years. The booklet, however, is a physical 3d representation of the APP and it is easier to navigate too. Want to see what’s playing at the Smiling Buddha? It’s there. You don’t even need to use battery power. Want to know what the band The Muscadettes is about? It’s right there! Apparently they are twin sisters raised on 60’s surf and 90’s garage which makes me wonder if there is a huge age differential between their parents.

Drivers License – You are probably going to get ID’ed at these bars. You might want to bring a drivers license. Also, the police can identify who you are when you pass out in someone’s front yard because you over exerted yourself trying run from the Garrison to the Drake in between sets.

Flask – As a cheapskate, I can’t recommend a flask highly enough. It allows you to bypass the awkwardness of trying to talk to a bartender in a really loud setting. You can just dive right into your alcohol without the inconvenience that is paying. Figure out where the LCBOs are and plan your strategy around that. LCBOs typically close at nine, but you can always buy liquor before it closes and hide it somewhere, like in a tree so you can always go and refill your flask afterwards.

Half Full Water bottle – if you walk in with a half full water bottle, security will make you throw it out, and then they will feel like they have done their job not knowing you also have a flask on you. You can just toss that half full water bottle somewhere, and then collect that bottle after the show and use the same strategy at the next place.

Finally, the one thing you should not pack is FOMO.

It is very easy at music festivals to go to see bands you recognize or have seen before, but realize that NXNE was the launching grounds for a lot of big bands today and they too were once unknown people playing in the tiniest bars to the smallest of crowds. Wouldn’t it be way cooler to be in that crowd then to go see The New Pornographers for the 20th time (even though they are quite good)?

Concert Review: The Pixies, Horseshoe Tavern, June 7, 2015

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment


As you know by now, the Pixies played the Horseshoe Tavern on Sunday after Robert Plant woke up with the flu or something. The announcement was followed by a frantic scramble to acquire tickets. Luckily I captured some.

The overcrowded Horseshoe was revved up to see the legendary group, I was kind of tired from walking around the Field Trip grounds for the weekend. Still, anytime you can see a group of such distinction at the Horseshoe, you take it.

As for the show, what can you say?

The Pixies are the ultimate music mercenaries.

They have a list of songs everyone likes, they come, they wave, they play them, get paid and leave.

They are there to merely satisfy your nostalgic desires and it works.

Playing a venue of this size for probably the first time in awhile, the Pixies seemed to be a bit louder and a bit punchier then you are used to. There are few people who can snarl like Black Francis and Paz Lenchantin did a reasonable impression of Kim Deal. The crowd, when trying not to pass out from the heat, was energetic and went along with all the songs. It made for a pretty unique experience.

The group romped through thirty songs (even some new ones), not saying a single word to the crowd and gave everyone the hits that they wanted (except Debaser)

Just like a Pixies song, the show was abrupt, quick and packed a punch. I guess it couldn’t be more fitting.

Field Trip Preview: A History of Field Trips

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment


This coming weekend, the annual Field Trip Festival takes place at Fort York and it celebrates the best of whatever Arts & Craft could get for this weekend. This has been an annual tradition since earlier this decade, and has proven to be popular enough that other companies have decided to spawn similar weekend festivals in the city. I’m all for music festivals since it allows me to see many bands at once while wearing an Indian headdress and neon tank top.

Surprising enough, this will be my first trip to this Festival and going on a field trip remains me of all the times I went on a Field Trip during my formulative years in Edmonton. Let’s take a trip through memory lane at the Field Trips I remember as a kid and I’ll try to make some metaphorical relation to one of the bands playing at the festival. It’s probably not going to work but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. That’s something Wayne Gretzky said back in the day. I never liked him because I was Mario fan, but whatever, let’s focus on the music.

1986 – Rundle Park
For kids in the 80s, Rundle Park was the mecca for parks. It had the most enormous park of them all and had some really cool contraptions including one of those things where you hold above your head and then it slides you to another part of the park. Our school had a once a year trip there and it was always a highlight. I think it was at this park that my buddy at the time gave me a birthday card invitation, however, I didn’t know what it was at the time and ignored it. So I missed my first birthday party ever in Canada.

This reminds me of The War on Drugs, because just like missing my friend’s birthday party, I’ve missed the War on Drugs every single time they have played in Toronto. The group put up one of the best albums last year, and so I am very excited to see them.

1987 – Some Farm
I don’t quite remember much details about this field trip. What I do remember was what day it was and how dark the sky was coming back from it. This wasn’t an elementary school trip, but rather one of those summer camp trips your parents put you into during the summer because they are too busy working. The sky was dark when we returned and it was raining a shit load. You know why? that was the day of the infamous Edmonton Tornado. It was one of the most destructive tornados in Canada history and so important that the Rural Alberta Advantage wrote a song about it.

Of all the bands playing Field Trip, it would appear to me that Hamilton’s The Arkells are the band you would most associate with some of the qualities of a tornado. Loud and leaves a trail of minor destruction with their rock music. I’m probably reaching here. Tornadoes don’t last a long time and it appears the Arkells are here to stay.

1988-1992 – Rabbit Hill
One of my favorite trips every year would be our schools annual winter trip to Rabbit Hill. Rabbit Hill was a ski hill about an hour away from Edmonton and every year we would go skiing there. It was good for me because I took skiing lessons as a kid and really enjoyed that trip. I loved the mid day lunch break where I would be able to buy fries and gravy. Rabbit hill was a good beginner hill that had black diamonds that were anything but. It was funny, I thought I could handle black diamonds because of Rabbit hill but then when I went skiing in Banff, then I fully realized what black diamonds were. You don’t mess with that shit.

Purity Ring are from Edmonton, I wonder if they went to the same field trip. I think their slow dreamy synth pop music would be a great soundtrack for night skiing.


1990 – Drumheller
Every kid growing up in Alberta has been to Drumheller. It’s in the Badlands, it’s got the hoodoos and it has one of the best museums for looking at dinosaurs. Part of this trip was for us to meet our pen pals, who were from some random boonie school in Drumheller. My Pen Pal lived on a Bison farm and so I was able to ride on a back of a pickup truck through a bison farm. It was pretty freaking cool and I’m sure it would of got a lot of likes on Instagram if it existed back then.

You know what other pictures would get a lot of likes on Instagram? Marina and the Diamonds. The colorful singer always comes up with colorful outfits and stage setup that is quite pleasing to the eye. I still remember seeing her at Lamberts like four years ago at SXSW, performing her stellar debut album while wearing a onesie. I haven’t listened to the new album Froot yet, but I’m excited because I have no idea what Froot is.


1997 – Calgary
My only high school trip. It was part of our biology IB class trip. Yes, I was in IB. The trip once again took us to Drumheller and then to Calgary for the night. It was super fun because all of our buddies went. Looking back, we were super nerdy. I know this because as teenagers with a free night in another city all by ourselves we chose to do the following
– Watch Austin Powers movie
– Go back to the Hotel waterpark and chill there
– Play Track and Field 64 on N64 all night.

Yes, Tom brought a nintendo and we just played that all night long. It was a classic time. You know what else is classic? De La Soul. I really hope they play Eye Know, which they did not play at NXNE a few years back.

2015 – Fort York
Which brings up to Fort York, this weekend. Surely this is a different kind of field trip, but in many ways, it is the same as the ones we’ve always went to. I’m not going to list the ways, but I expect you to do some deep thinking about that.

Other acts I am looking foward to seeing: Temples, Songhoy Blues, Sharon & Bram.

See you there!