NXNE Review: TUNS, June 15, The Garrison

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


This year NXNE is a tiny shell of its former self and despite the lack of shows/bands, many were still pretty pumped to check out TUNS on a hot Toronto night at the packed Garrison. If you didn’t already know, this Canadian Indie “supergroup” is composed of Chris Murphy from Sloan, Mike O’Neill from The Inbreds, and Matt Murphy from The Super Friendz/The Flashing Lights. They popped up out of the blue last fall and created a bit of buzz with their first recorded song “Throw It All Away” and the more recently released “Mind Over Matter.”

As predicted, the trio split vocal duties which included several sung by Chris while hammering away on the drums. Their songs weren’t completely polished and came off almost as DIY punk – this is not meant to be a slight but rather a compliment to their songs, which combined unique offerings from three musical minds.

Between a mix of slower, more melodic songs were a few rockers that brought out Matt Murphy’s patented high kick. Their set lasted about 40 minutes and upon returning to the stage following their initial set, Matt let the energetic crowd know that this was “Our first encore.” They offered up two covers to end the night, The Beatles’ “There’s a Place” and Guided By Voices’ “Game of Pricks.”

Their debut album will be released at the end of August on Royal Mountain Records (Alvvays, Pup, Hollerado).

SXSW / NXNE Preview: San Fermin

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast, Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

San Fermin

We here at Panic Manual have been big fans of San Fermin for a long time. Their self titled debut album was one of my favorite albums back in 2013, back when I was a young lad. Since then, I have matured significantly and perhaps this too is reflected with the sound of the new album. Maybe it has not, I don’t know. I have not listened to their new record, which is entitled Jackrabbit. The album is out on April 21st but for those of us lucky enough to go to Austin, they will be playing a plethora of shows at SXSW this year.

The picture above was a party they played in Austin for SXSW. What’s not pictured? Free muther fuckin bbq’s! Sausages! Brisket! Ribs galore! This type of gastronomical satistfaction was reflected perfectly in the San Fermin live show – a little bit of everything, high peaks and deeply satisfying. I don’t know if this post makes any sense. Regardless, they are a band to check out and I mean that in the most honest, sincere way.

They are also playing NXNE for those who can’t make the journey to Texas.

NXNE Review: The Barr Brothers, Massey Hall; Danny Brown, Mod Club, June 20

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

Barr Bros

What the NXNE Press Guide said about Barr Brothers:

After touring North America through the 90s as part of improv-based rock trio The Slip, brothers Brad and Andrew Barr settled in Montreal and expanded to a quartet with the inclusion of harpist Sarah Page and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial. They’ve birthed a unique sound reliant on interwoven string arrangements, wide open spaces, and a multitude of musical traditions.

Using Massey Hall as a regular NXNE venue was a smart decision by the organizers. Being able to have one of the city’s top music halls available for acts that might not necessarily best fit on a stage in a bar is something I hope continues at future NXNE festivals. Despite it being one of the larger venues in the city, the audience feels a sense of intimacy here and this was used to The Barr Brothers advantage.

The Barr Brothers are singer/guitarist Brad Barr, drummer Andrew Barr, harpist Sarah Page, and bassist/keyboardist Andres Vial. The brothers were once part of indie rock band Slip but have since changed their sound to one that would be classified as Americana with their laid back, acoustic-driven ballads. Their soft echoing melodies engaged the crowd at Massey. They couldn’t have played a better venue to match their sound.

Danny Brown YDS

What NXNE Press Guide said about Danny Brown:

In an era of industry-obsessed MCs, interchangeable hashtag raps, and “viral” everything, it has become increasingly difficult to find a true original in the rap game, an artist able to ignite a buzz without calculatedly chasing it down. Yet ask anyone who’s been paying attention and they’ll tell you: Danny Brown is that dude.

I was fortunate enough to catch Danny Brown twice during the festival. The first show was at a packed Yonge-Dundas Square. Let me say that there’s nothing like a couple thousand fans of various ages yelling lines like “sniffing cocaine” and “with her hands on the floor and her feet on the wall she popped that pussy like she ain’t afraid to fall”. This first show had more of a corporate event feel with various sponsors splashed everywhere.

Less about this show and more about his headlining set at the Mod Club. The dominant demographic here were sweaty mid-20’s fans. They were half-frat, half-hipster all white kids that knew every lyric from every song. They copied his frantic ’80’s exercise move with his arm, they stuck out their tongues, and they lit up joints when Danny asked them to. Of course one was then passed on stage to himself and his DJ and let everyone know that “now it smells like a Danny Brown show” which was then followed by his unique laugh/cackle. This may then explain the following quote between songs: “I get hassled at the border every fucking time. I just wanna roll some shit up, light some shit up and smoke.”

Despite him only being given a 40-minute set, this was the perfect amount of time to get the crowd going without making it repetitive or having anyone look at their watch.

NXNE Review: Human Human, Teen Violence and Naked People, June 15

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


I thought I had a packed schedule this night, but it turns out I had only chosen bands to see at 11pm, since I was tired from traveling all day to farmland, I figured that was okay since I was starting super early.

We got caught in massive traffic coming back to the city and I was cutting it really close to Human Human’s 8pm start time at Supermarket.

I raced in the house, did the ‘key area’ shower,  you all know what I mean there, and hopped on my bike and raced up Lansdowne to College Street, only to discover that traffic was closed off due to the festival happening in Little Italy I forgot about, CURSES! I quickly re-routed to Dundas and by the time I showed up at Supermarket it was 8:05pm and I was  a disgusting sweat-ball. Luckily for me they hadn’t started the set yet!

Human Human

Human Human: Not new on the music making scene, they started together in 2005 under the name Girl, but have now reformed as Human Human. These guys only have a 4 song EP currently out, and if you’re like me, you’ll have listened to those four songs about 50 times each. These guys are a perfect mix of Echo and the Bunnymen, Pulp and Psychedelic Furs all put together. Their sound could fit perfectly into any John Hughes films right in those key moments where the guy gets the girl, or Judd Nelson pumps his fist in the air. A four piece, all clad in white jeans and military-esque white button up jackets, they emerged on stage to play to a crowd of maybe 10 people. I was very happy to be one of those ten. I wondered to myself how much these guys practiced because their shit was TIGHT.

The marching band drums, the synth perfectly placed to accent the excellent guitar and bass work, the songs are larger than life, and were definitely way too large for that small venue and amount of people. When Human Human play, you can picture them on stage at an outdoor music festival playing to 10,000 people and, imagining that in a room with just 10 people there, you know they’re destined for success.

Their build-ups infect you, and you can get lost in their music, just completely unaware of what’s going on as they hypnotize you with their addicting pop sounds and hooks. I cannot stress enough checking these guys out before it costs a cheap arm and a leg to see them.

After Human Human it was clear I wouldn’t enjoy anything half as much as that. I wanted to stick around at that showcase but my friends were headed to the Painted Lady and I was tired of going it solo so…

Teen Violence

Teen Violence: First off, excellent band name. Teen Violence was already on Painted Lady’s very small stage when I arrived.  They were a throwback to the California surf-punk days of the 90’s mixed with heavy 60’s influence. Their songs were short, to the point and a lot of fun. Had it been a bigger space with a bigger crowd with some bigger drinks in me, it would’ve made for a good dance party.

After Teen Violence, the night became sort of a bust. We headed down to the A&C pop up to see Majical Cloudz, but he had cancelled due to voice problems and wanting to do his set at BLK Box as best he could. We all parted ways and I decided to see what was happening at Great Hall/BLK Box.

I managed to catch the last two songs by Chad Valley, which were parfait, and sensual. Headed upstairs to catch a bit of a solo act, caught a really odd but hilarious naked dance party, I would post the photos of that here, but.. I’ll save you the trauma.

Planned on heading to the Garrison after, but NXNE tweeted how big the line was and I ended up passing out to Star Wars at home.

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