NXNE Concert Review: Spiral Beach, Whippersnapper Gallery, June 19th

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

Spiral Beach

Toronto – Last Friday night found us at the Whippersnapper Gallery in the heart of Little Italy. It hadn’t occured to me that Taste of Little Italy was happening during NXNE, so College street was extra-packed. Opening the night at the Whippersnapper was Spiral Beach, a Toronto-based foursome that plays a collection of rock-pop songs.

The best part of this show was the enthusiasm that this young band brought to the table. They really enjoyed themselves up there and really got into it, and that energy was felt by the audience. They played loud and they played proud. Their brand of pop-rock does harken back to the B-52’s.

Their rock does have a gritty weirdness to it; the NXNE write-up defines their songs as “oddball pop songs” and I would agree. I saw elements of this that worked both for and against the band at different times in the set. Sometimes the long introspective weird avant-guarde shouted lyrics were really, uh, avant-guarde. On the other hand, there were a few moments where they transitioned very artfully between parts of the song where you don’t dance very hard to the part of the song where you dance very hard. That was done very well and got people dancing very hard.

NXNE Concert Review: Elephant Stone, Supermarket, June 18

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast | 1 Comment

Toronto – I went to see Elephant Stone based on the fact that Vik liked them and also because they were named after a Stone Roses tune. The band consists of Rishi Dhir (of the High Dials) and some guys that may or may not be from the Besnard Lakes. Considering their nomination for the Polaris Prize, there might have been all of 50 people in a crowd, which is a shame since they put on a great show. Coming across as a mix between Cornershop and Kula Shakur (according to Patricia), the band played an impressive 45 minute set of what I think sounded like britpop, with eastern influences. This is good drug taking music, I think. There was even a sitar! Anytime you have something like a sitar at a show, it takes it up a notch. The band was also super chilled which suited nicely with the music vibe. I highly recommend you checking them out.

NXNE Concert Review: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, El Mocambo, June 18th

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

Toronto – One of the more hyped bands to play at NXNE this year, Washington’s Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head rocked the semi packed El Mocambo last night with their take on happy synth pop party music. Having seen Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head a few months back at SXSW, I pretty got what I expected from these synth pop rockers – a really fun show. Say what you want, but after the preening done by Pirate Love, it was nice to see a band that genuinely seemed appreciative of the crowd and enthusiastic to be on stage. One of the greatest things about festivals is that each band really only has 40 minutes to win a crowd over. I would say they have 20 minutes to win the crowd over because if you suck during those first twenty minutes, people will move elsewhere. By the end of the show, NPSH had everyone in the front dancing, arms in the air and having a good time. That is a sign of a good show.

OH yea, about their music..NPSH is just hook filled synth party music. The band comprises of art school hipsters and sing and pseudo rap about topics like facial hair and other things. They dress up in bright colors, sweat bands and basically look like all the 90s fashion mistakes that happened. Kind of reminds me of Saved By The Bell. I don’t know why.

here’s a video

NXNE Concert Review: Pirate Love, June 18, El Mocambo

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, North By Northeast | 3 Comments

Toronto – Coming off as latter day Primal Scream wannabes, Norway’s Pirate Love played their blend of psychedelic punk rock to a decent crowd on Thursday. I guess they are promoting their album “Black Voudoun Space Blues”. Personally they didn’t do that much for me despite dressing up in costumes (or maybe ponchos and cowboy hates is typical garb for Norwegians). I found the lead singers voice to be too growly at times and he spent a lot of time with his back to the crowd. I do think he has the rock star attitude down, often looking disinterested, sock full of arrogance and having a bedazzled outfit. Having said all that the last two songs weren’t all that bad. I think if someone dressed up as Jack Sparrow, I would have enjoyed their show more.

Pirate Love will be at Neutral on June 20th at 2 Am.