June 13 2013 – Welcome to our review of NXNE 2013. One year between North By Northeast (NXNE) music festivals is a long wait, but when the event kicks off our insatiable quest for ROCK continues in full force. Not only are we excited to see our favorite bands one more time, we are thrilled to discover the new gems of the Toronto Indie scene. Although the festival caters to a wide range of musical tastes, we here at T-Mak World are pure rockers at heart and are children of the school of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, Black Sabbath, Rival Sons, etc. Our full NXNE coverage (including band interviews) is found here on this page so take a look around if you wish.
Tonight on the kick off night of NXNE 2013 we were able to catch 15 bands and below is what we saw as well as our picks for “Gig Of The Night”. The one thing we noticed this year is that the selection committee has put in many bands that consider themselves “punk” and very few bands that consider themselves “classic rock”. Not sure if that is the sign of the times or just the personal taste of the person(s) selecting bands to play. Proof? Check out the bands bio page here – punk shows up 123 times, classic rock 7. ;-)
For the record we would like to see more long haired guitar riff fueled bands in the venues such as two of our favorite bands Vancouver’s One Bad Son and Toronto’s TimeGiant who are both absent from this year’s festival.
Here is a video montage of most of the bands we saw tonight.
1990future (Velvet Underground @8 PM)
This was the first band to play at the dreaded opening slot where the crowds are very thin. However they managed to break a bass pedal on the first song of their set so they certainly rocked it with a bang. A very good nice hard sound clearly influenced by 80’s style rhythm with a rough edge to it. Kudos to 1990future for playing so well at such an awful time slot.
In My Coma (Hideout @ 9 PM)
Where to begin with In My Coma? We have covered them extensively on the site (both their gigs and their album) and they were named one of our Top 10 Indie Bands of 2012. In short this trio kicks ass and although they have two sides to them musically, their hard “rockers” are insanely good. Their set started off with a thin crowd but ended up with one of the biggest of the night. Excellent NXNE set by Jasper James, Mike Patterson and Laura Doll which earned them a “Gig Of The Night” honors (check bottom of article).
Bury The Hatchet (Velvet Underground @9 PM)
With all due respect this band does not play the type of music this site focuses on so we popped in for one song in the name of diversity. Their fans were clearly having a good time and musically they were impressive with their folky set. It wouldn’t be fair to provide commentary on a musical genre we are not well versed in so we will just say that they sounded really good.
Die By Remote (Cherry Cola’s @ 9 PM)
Very impressive vocals and heavy guitars were the exclamation point for Die By Remote. The clean brand of modern rock they played would be a nice match for the playlist at The Edge (Toronto radio station). Once again as all the previous bands they had to deal with very thin crowds due to the early time slot but we did notice them giving it their all which is very much appreciated. Good set Die By Remote.
Caiiro Foster (Hideout @10 PM)
The band describes themselves as having a punk sound but what we heard musically was almost more hard rock bordering on heavy metal, vocally they did definitely do the “punk” screaming thing. Either way they really laid it down and warmed up The Hideout really good. NXNE did take notice of Caiiro Foster.
Take With Audio (May @ 10 PM)
Their bio reads “Progressive retro rock from a five-piece all about big drums, big guitars, and big energy.” Not sure what retro rock is defined as but they totally rocked. We thoroughly enjoyed their set and would have loved to hear more of them. The dual guitars were impressive and they did get into some bluesy material. What seemed odd about this band is the lead singer who had a rapper pose while singing (or maybe it was the sideways baseball cap that threw me off) but whose sound was pure rock and roll. Great set Take With Audio we really loved what we heard!
Machinegun Suzie (Hard Luck @10 PM)
All female band from Quebec City played loud and heavy. They had a great hard rock/grunge sound and a more appropriate name for their heavy sound would be Bazooka Suzie! Joking aside Machinegun Suzie really rocked the Hard Luck Bar.
MANcub (May @ 11 PM)
Great garage style band from Calgary that made everyone in the May bounce to their infectious beats. Wicked set from MANcub who had a very thunderous sound from their petite female bassist.
Yips (Hard Luck @11 PM)
Really good head bouncing rock that almost got as heavy as AC/DC at times. The Hard Luck Bar patrons truly enjoyed this energetic set for this hard working band. The Yips really threw it down and delivered.
Shotgun Cure (Bovine @ 11 PM)
Thrash metal really isn’t our thing but the crowd at the Bovine was loving Shotgun Cure.
Goodnight Sunrise (Velvet Underground @ 11 PM)
Hard to describe this band’s sound as it changed song after song. They brought a major party atmosphere to their set and really had everyone in the audience enjoying themselves. They have captured the good vibe of rock and released it from the bottle during their set. We had a great time watching them and they have a very good “clean” sound to their brand of genre mashing rock. Goodnight, Sunrise the party is in full effect.
VA (Hideout @12 AM)
VA was a “Gig Of The Night” winner for one of our editors (check below for info). This is what he had to say “If Fishbone had 2 front women kick’n jam heavy lyrics then the band VA would be it. Their concert ready sound and freestyling persona on stage connected with the Hideout faithful. VA is definitely a band going places.”
The Damn Truth (Horseshoe @ 1 AM)
WOW this band is
good AMAZING. The Montreal rockers really demolished The Horseshoe with their classic rock fueled set that was big on heavy guitar sounds and mind blowing vocals from Lee-La Baum (the best vocalist we heard all night). All our editors were instantly converted to big fans of the band after one song. Words cant describe how incredible this Montreal band is so next time they are in Toronto do NOT miss them. The Damn Truth are a “Gig Of The Night” winner tonight at NXNE (read below for more info).
Crawl (Bovine @ 1 AM)
Crawl was rocking the Bovine when we popped in on the way to Cherry Cola’s. The Bovine was packed for this band. Looking forward to seeing this band again soon.
The Standstills (Cherry Cola’s @ 1 AM)
WICKED. We could end there but this duo with a female drummer and male guitarist and vocalist do it harder and edgier than The Black Keys could ever dream of. Definitely a band we love and endorse, The Standstills win a Gig Of The Night from one of our editors (see below). Note to band – next time a fan/journalist/random drunk gets up on stage with you to do video recording of you playing please kick them off – it’s distracting and you lose crowd attention.
VERDICT: An excellent way to kick off NXNE 2013 with many great performances. Here is what to see the rest of the festival.As we always do our four editors select their “Gig Of The Night” which is a reflection of personal taste and the overall band’s performance (both musically and stylistically).
Here is what we liked tonight:
John Dash (Movie Critic) – If Fishbone had 2 front women kick’n jam heavy lyrics then the band VA would be it. Their concert ready sound and freestyling persona on stage connected with the Hideout faithful. VA is definitely a band going places and my Gig Of The Night.
Michael Litt (Music Editor) – The Standstills blew the roof off of Cherry Cola’s and the 1 am set was delivered with pure enthusiasm and killer sounds. This duo gets my mention for Gig Of The Night.
Steve Mallinson (Sr Editor and Photographer) – Incredible vocals, great bluesy guitar and great songs. Not the first time The Damn Truth have been my Gig Of The Night.
Terry Makedon (President, CEO, Head of State, and Chief Beverage Provider of T-Mak World) – In My Coma was one of our Top 10 Indie Bands of 2012 and that’s because they are incredible musicians that ooze with on stage charisma. This band is arena ready and tonight’s performance reminded me yet again of how good they are and thus are my Gig Of The Night.
Article – Terry Makedon | Photos – Steve Mallinson | Video – Michael Litt T-Mak World: Toronto’s Site for Music, Movies and Culture www.tmakworld.com | Twitter | Facebook Get the T-Mak World Toolbar below to get all the info you need