NXNE Review: Omegas, June 15, The Shop @ Parts And Labour

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

What NXNE says: “Omegas are a Montreal based hardcore-punk band featuring an ex-member of Justice and, apparently, ‘are the lords of slam-skank.'”

What PM says: Holy shit! If the uptight yuppies and hipsters that dine upstairs knew what was happening in the basement they’d have called in the Mounties. Not knowing these guys in advance but being intrigued with their bio and it being on my walk home, I decided to check them out. Playing upwards of a dozen songs in about twenty-five minutes at a furious pace can kick the snot out of anyone, especially the dozen or more slamming at the front of the stage. Singer Hoagie frantically paced back and forth and asked more than once between songs, “Where are you turkeys from anyway?” He was surprised at their intensity as much as I was.

For the most part, they played in the dark while the string of lights above were pulled down and more than a few times I took a step back so as not to end up part of the fray. At one point he tossed his beer off the ceiling in front of me. I’m pretty sure it bounced off the face of one of the two poor suckers standing at the bar next to me and gave me a soaked team England jersey. Par for the course I guess. After all was done, I talked to a couple of the show’s casualties at the convenience store next door after the show and they let me know that “Omegas are the best Canadian hardcore band”. I apologize again for the picture but you understand why I chose not to get closer.

NXNE Review: The Disraelis, June 15, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Everything, North By Northeast | 2 Comments

It’s 3am on a Friday night. I’m on very little sleep. My feet are starting to hurt. So why the hell am I still up, beer in hand, watching yet another band, yet alone one I’ve seen before? Well, for one thing, because it’s not really a music festival if I don’t punish my body with too little sleep and too much of everything else. For another, because the band I was here to see is a pretty good one.

The Disraelis are no newcomers to the Toronto scene. They’ve been around for a good while, playing their brand of ’80s style postpunk with a dash of shoegaze around town at bars like The Silver Dollar and they do it well. Since the last time I had seen them, the band had undergone a bit of a lineup change, with two former members of The Hoa Hoa’s joining singer/bassist Cameron Ingles for this new iteration of the band (some former members have gone on to form the similarly ’80s-inspired band The Holiday Crowd). Anchored by Ingles’ killer basslines, the band laid down a solid, at times hypnotic groove that held the attention of the packed house at The Silver Dollar. On a final note, I’d like to make mention of the fact that Ingles was wearing what appeared to be a turtleneck t-shirt. I wasn’t really aware that such an item even existed.

NXNE Review: METZ, June 15, Wrongbar

Posted on by Brent in Everything | Leave a comment

Wrongbar is probably my least favourite venue in the city besides Opera House (but that’s only because taking transit to the east end is as painful as watching an episode of Dr. Phil). Wrongbar has a low stage so unless you’re on the elevated sides, you can’t see the band from the main floor which makes it next to impossible to take a decent picture (see above for proof). As well, the stage lighting is minimal, it’s sound is awful, it’s narrow and poorly designed for getting out of there with a wooden table built in the middle by the front bar, and when it’s a packed show, like it was on this night, it’s hot and stanky.

Beyond my whining and complaining, some people like a hot and stanky rock show and on this occasion, local favourites METZ were the providers. METZ were recently signed to Sub Pop and played songs from their forthcoming debut album to be released in October.They play speedy noise punk with crunchy distorted bass provided by Chris Slorach who could easily be mistaken for John Hamm (re: the poorstage lighting), thrashing drumming from Hayden Menzies, and a high energy stage presence from guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins. At one point Alex lost his glasses mid-song and responded after with “Anyone see my fucking lens? I need that shit and I need it fuckin’ bad.” There were also also lots of “dancers” down front which had him reminding everyone to “be nice to each other. If you knock someone over, then pick them up.” I’m quite sure I also heard him say that someone was bleeding up there too, confirmed by a trip I took to the washroom at the end of their set. A hot, stanky, bloody rock show.

NXNE Review: Mac DeMarco, June 14, The Garrison

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

What NXNE says: “Montreal-based Mac DeMarco – it seems – has the magic touch. His previous group Makeout Videotape – which played an epoch-defining 3am set at the Garrison last NXNE – had built up a solid reputation as fantastically sloppy live and sloppily fantastic on record before breaking up late last year. His new project, which was quickly signed to NYC’s tastemaking Captured Tracks label, is the real dangerously good deal.You could say there’s a unique beauty in the faux-rock star posing or the quasi-ironic lyrics – cf. “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans,” “One More Tear To Cry,” and “Rock and Roll Night Club” – but really it’s all just about his incredible songs. Caught up somewhere between Girls’ 60s influenced cry-for-help-indie, Ariel Pink’s weirdo-stoner-pop and the street level, glammed-up singer-songwriter tradition of Jonathan Richman and David Bowie, DeMarco’s tracks are svelte and sexy rock ‘n’ roll tinged with weight-of-the-Western-world-on-his-shoulders melancholy.”

 What PM says:  Playing an earlier set than their previous night’s much praised show at the Drake Underground, I figured this would be a better opportunity to beat the crowds and catch one of the festival’s more hyped bands. There was a smaller audience earlier in the evening but after being asked politely to “come closer,” the crowd moved forward and started to get into their unique form of lazy lo-fi blues rock. This doesn’t come across as well when you listen to their recorded material, but seeing them live they are much more loose, fun and way less dark. Stage antics abound: at one point Mac ended up on the ground noodling with his bassist and when the song was finished he commented that “I think I bit his penis tip too hard.” They remind me of what Thrush Hermit might have been like had they become frat boys and turned to drugs way back when. Of all the bands I’ve seen so far it was nice to see a band that didn’t take themselves so seriously. No gimmicks and no posing. Just play the music and have a good time doing it.