NXNE Reviews: Crosss, Bishop Nehru, Tenderness, June 18

Posted on by Brent in Concerts, North By Northeast | Leave a comment


What NXNE Press Guide said about Crosss:

Crosss make psychedelic metal and futurist grunge. They put out their lauded debut, ‘Obsidian Spectre’, in 2013 and have undergone a lineup change in the two years since. Of their output, AUX wrote: “Crosss may recite classic stone-rock rituals, but their songs are also defined by repetitious, druidic chanting – it feels like a near-religious experience, which is no accident.” Exclaim! also got on the bandwagon, offering: “Crosss is a stoic band but the music speaks volumes – a LOT of volume, to be precise.”

Despite the Garrison having sound trouble for what seemed to be the entire festival weekend, Crosss delivered a pretty tight set without any technical issues. Clocking in at about twenty-five minutes, they played a slow but aggressive type of dark post-punk metal chock full of minor chords and muffled lyrics. It was by far the loudest show of the festival for me which reminded me to not forget my ear plugs for Friday.


What NXNE Press Guide said about Bishop Nehru:

He may be just 18 years of age, but Bishop Nehru’s talent clearly speaks for itself and has already drawn praise from hip hop’s thought leaders. Case in point: Kendrick Lamar gave the young New York MC props. Nehru’s ability to write cold flows for viral consumption has made him a fast-riser in a busy scene. Along the way, he’s remixed Iggy Azalea and worked with English electronic trendsetters Disclosure. Joining the flanks of Joey Bada$$ in the 90’s boom-bap revitalization, Nehru’s sights are already on broader things, too – citing an appreciation for all kinds of music and the ambition to one day drop his own jazz release.

The beauty of taking your bike out to NXNE is that you can glide from show to show in a few dangerous minutes and not miss a beat. Almost every band starts at the top of the hour and it helps that the volunteers are pretty good at keeping bands to their proper set times. I could get from the Handlebar in Kensington to the Drake in no time to hang with the cool kids and check out an 18-year-old kid getting praise from many big names like the Wu Tang Clan and Nas.

Even though the room was pretty packed, Bishop Nehru was having a difficult time hyping the low energy crowd. While at the back I can only guess that I was standing beside his family members who were being polite but clearly ready to go to bed. My favourite song was Darkness with the following lyrics: “This life is like a mystery, look how the world’s sent to me. Today I’m in the industry, next I’m ended -history“.


What NXNE Press Guide said about Tenderness:

Tenderness is a lady who lives and makes music in Toronto. She loves mystery but dislikes biographies about her music project because she is usually the one writing them. Isn’t it kind of weird to speak about yourself in the third person? In her perfect world there would be no social media, music videos, or biographies written about anybody until they were dead. In a perfect world music would speak for itself. Heavvvvvyyyy, but for real.

My next show was north to College at the Smiling Buddha for a small and intimate show by solo electronic vocalist Tenderness. By far the most interesting and eclectic performer of the festival with an abundance of talent. She layered her smooth soulful voice with varying thumping beats all while various projections played in the background. Unfortunate that it was at such a small venue as she could have easily played a larger venue and still made it intimate. Hopefully this will be the case next year.

NXNE Review: Foxtrott, Lobby, Cathedrals, San Fermin

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

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.

NXNE Review: Sista Fista, June 18, Coalition

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


When you make the decision to go see a band called Sista Fista, you kind of go in knowing what you’re going to get. There are no expectations of anything nuanced or particularly classy, especially when the words “raunchy” and “vulgar’ have been used to describe them. So I had no misconceptions going in and the band managed to live up (down?) to my expectations when they opened their set up with a song called “Fist Fight Fuck.” Another actual song title that this band actually wrote: “Goldie Lox 3 Bears 1 Cup”

Sista Fista’s lyrical content and stage banter was full of crude sexual humour, sometimes delving into scatalogical areas and often crossing the boundaries of good taste. Despite the puerile nature of their jokes, I found myself enjoying it all for the most part, though there were a few cringeworthy moments.

Musically, the band delivered some straightforward melodic punk that matched up well with their chosen subject matter. The band made the most of their late night set (as part of the Toronto Pride showcase) playing to a somewhat sparse crowd in a room full of couches, including one which was strangely close to the front of the stage. “You’ve all been upgraded to VIP!” announced the band. They then they asked why no one was sitting and when they were informed that the couch was wet, they naturally responded, “Of course it’s wet. VIP at a Sista Fista show? What did you expect?”

NXNE Review: Kate Tempest, June 17, Adelaide Hall

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

Kate Tempest

I’ll never get tired of watching Kate Tempest slay the crowd. For the uninitiated, it can’t be anything but a revelation. While most hip hop artists have hype men or a DJ shouting out instructions to the crowd, Kate Tempest is the sole voice on stage.

Her NXNE showcase started with The Beigeness, perhaps her most famous track. From the first note of the opening track, she has your attention. Delivering razor sharp lyrics with frantic, yet laser like precision against a pulsating beat, it’s one of the shows where you feel the energy build through the crowd and it’s great.

As someone who has seen her before, it’s exciting to see the crowd go through the same stages you went through. First you are like, “let’s see what this hype artist is all about”. Followed by “.. Whoa she is good”, and then “this is actually really fucking good” and ending with “now what?” Those are pretty much the moments you live for when you go to a music festival and Kate Tempest delivers that in spades. Now that the first chapter of her career has completed (this was the last show on her whirlwind tour), it will be very interesting to see where she goes from here.