NXNE Friday: Monogold, Whale Tooth and more

My Friday started with a brief visit to Sneakydee’s. I was late for the 8pm time slot, because I was looking for my passport. Dee’s is one of those venues that is particular about ID. I started my evening off with a series of bands that were assigned to me by TWM. I have a confession to make. People keep asking me what new interesting, unheard of bands that I plan on seeing at NXNE. Truth is, I plan to see bands that I love and TWM assigns me interesting stuff to check out in between. I feel better now.

I caught a little bit of Dark Mean’s set at Dee’s. What I heard, I liked. It was mellow folk-rock, with banjo and trumpet. I hope that I get an opportunity to see a whole set sometime.

Monogold was next. This band out of Brooklyn had a bunch of the key elements of “it” bands these days: a pared down lineup (guitar, drums, bass), a droning wall of bass, whiny melodic vocals, and hand-claps. This band was loud, like, I-can-feel-parts-of-my-body-jiggling-LOUD. The Elmo was empty, so that probably contributed to the volume. I don’t really like the whole post-rock thing– what was interesting about Monogold was their ability to be a little post-rock, without falling into deconstructioni.

I moved on to the Rancho Relaxo where I caught a band out of Denmark called The Setting Sun. The played a nice brand of pop-rock. It was melodic with pretty vocals and harmonies, but to be honest, nothing really sticks with me about this band. Well, except for the girl’s red hair and the other singer’s shiny button-up shirt.

After Rancho, I headed south to the Rivoli to see Nightbox’s set. This band was from Ireland played dance music that really did make me want to dance. The band appeared to be very young to me, however, maybe that’s just because I am getting older these days.

The next band at the Rivoli was Toronto’s fabulous Whale Tooth. This is another example of TWM assigning me a band that I already love. I have watched Whale Tooth come into their own over the past couple of years. Their dance-pop music has tightened up and their new songs, while still maintaining their dance flavour, have a slightly harder rock edge. Whale Tooth really needs to put out a new album, because their new songs are great. No discussion of Whale Tooth could leave out a mention of Elise Legrow’s fantastic singing– when I was a kid and I imagined myself as a rock star, I could sing like Elise.

I finished up my evening at the Rancho. I am pretty sure that Dan booked the late night set just so that we could have a TWM party, because Schomberg Fair and The Cheap Speakers are two of TWM’s favourite bands.

It so good to have Schomberg back on the Rancho stage. These guys have done so much since they last played Rancho: put out a great album, toured Canada. Their unique punk-gospel blend was in fine form last night and the crowd had a really great time. My favourite part of their set was all of the fans who were singing along that I didn’t recognize.

The last band of the evening was the Cheap Speakers who are riding the wave of awesome that comes after you release an album that makes you proud. These guys should be proud: they’re one of the hardest working bands I know and they kicked ass full rock star style last night.

Tonight! What’s in store? I have no idea, but I know it will be great. This is my last big festival before I move to a new city and I plan to take advantage of it.

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