Friday night @ NXNE

A few of us really wanted to catch Dum Dum Girls on Friday night, so me, Meghan and Kristen went to Lee’s Palace early. We got there just before doors, and there was barely a line; a few minutes and we were in and able to grab a seat. Yay!

I didn’t know the first two acts on the bill at all; if I haven’t heard a festival band that I’m slated to see, I’ll often just leave them as a surprise. Writer, from San Diego, started things off, and I really enjoyed them. The two band members played keys, drums and guitar between them; at one point the drummer was playing his kit and a small keyboard. Definitely a good start to the night. I’ll be looking these guys up online.

If the way Lee’s filled up before his set was any indication, Dirty Beaches has a lot of buzz right now. His music is probably the type that I’d say I think is cool, but it’s not my thing exactly. He worked a mix of fuzzy guitar, looped beats, and vocals that sounded a bit like Elvis with the reverb turned to 11. It was definitely an interesting sound, and at some times — mostly when he really rocked out with the guitar — I really dug it. At others, I wasn’t getting it, but if the description of what he does intrigues you, definitely check him out.

It was packed in the bar by the time Dum Dum Girls came up. Woo, Dum Dum Girls! They played a great set, with lots of energy and spot-on vocals. I was pretty happy to hear that they’ve got a new LP out in September; the new songs they played were really good. This set was definitely a festival highlight, for me.

I debated staying for Cults, but the bar was pretty thick with bros, and I was hungry. The line for Lee’s was all the way down to Ginger when we left. After a quick pit stop at Rancho, we went to Kensington and I ate more tacos than were necessary. They were delicious, but don’t think I didn’t notice that you raised your prices for the festival, Salsas!

I saw on Twitter that there wasn’t a line for the Dum Dum Girls surprise set at El Mocambo, so I popped over to see them again. The crowd at this set was more energetic (drunker?) and they played another great set of songs. Crocodiles joined them on stage for the last track; one of that band’s members berated an audience member for being an asshole, and the audience member gave him the finger in return. “You make Toronto look ugly, and Toronto is beautiful!” I’d like to know what that was all about.

I popped back to Rancho and caught the first few songs by the Black Void. They’d gamely helped fill a gap created by a scheduling error by playing a few White Stripes covers, and their own tunes were garagey and energetic. I left before the end of their set, thanks to exhaustion, but apparently the male lead got naked. No boobies on the Rancho stage in about four years, but two incidences of male nudity already in 2011. What’s up with that?

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