Day 1 of NXNE for me is always an “ease in” to the festival knowing that long days and nights are ahead.
We started off by grabbing a bite at The Dog and Bear (1100 Queen st West) for some nachos, fries and a few cocktails to get prepped for the NXNE launch party. I also got try some of Dine Alone Foods BBQ sauce that I have been hearing about.
It was then off to the launch party at the Edward Day Gallery (952 Queen St west) for the NXNE launch party where all the who’s who in the industry hang out. It’s a great way to run into people and consult each other on what bands are the one’s to watch this week and sometimes more importantly, what parties to go to. I ran into an old friend, Jessica mitchell who is playing Friday night 10pm at The Dakota Tavern.
After schmoozing for over an hour it was time to see some music. It was off to the Wrongbar to see Hands & Teeth (Underground Operations) and good friends, Dearly Beloved (check out my previous blog post about Dearly Beloved >>). There seemed to be some confusion at the door in whether there’s guest list or not – I’ve been hearing a few complaints about the festival in this regard – but alas no worry we were in easy enough.
Entering the venue we were greeted by promo girls for MIO water flavour who gave us free samples – a cool enough promo but found it odd in a bar as no one was buying drinks (how is the bar going to make money?). I enjoyed the free water!!
The crowd was surprisingly sparse for a band that is quite well known locally. They gave an energetic performance and by the end of their set it was good to see that the crowd and grown a bit for them. But you could see the band was working hard and feeling a little frustrated at times. Regardless the band is always consistent and delivered a good set.
Up next was Dearly Beloved.The crowd had grown at this point to a respectable size. There seemed to be a bit of push and pull from the band and the sound man as the band had set up and then went off stage asking the sound man to mic the guitar amp…. strange that they even had to ask. Once the mic was set the band started and I have to say, I’ve seen this band a number of times and they are great. The sound was terrible. The balance between the instruments was just awful and what I couldn’t believe was that Niva’s vocals were almost non existent. I was hanging with Andreas from The Rabid Whole who leaned over and said, “how do you miss putting a lead vocalist into the PA?” . The band still worked on delivering the best set they could under the circumstances. It’s a good thing they play again Friday (midnight at The Bovine Sex Club) because if this was their only performance during NXNE, I would be pissed if I was them.
After that it was time to head home as the week is going to be a long one and it’s about pacing…
So first day thoughts…. so far nothing spectacular, rumours of unorganization (which are common on the first day of any festival this size), complaints about guest lists and passes which are normally given out to industry, and big time problems with sound (at least at the one bar I went to).
Here’s hoping that Day 2 improves!