Saturday, June 19, 2010

NXNE: Day 3

I'm fading hard, and soon will have little remaining but a husk of a man.  Still, I'm so close to rock and roll nirvana that I can feel it shaking in my bones.  This festival pushes all the right limits, and knows just how to talk to me to make me feel some kind of special.

That and it's sure a lot more fun than studying for my final on Monday.

We started the night up at Rancho Relaxo.  I managed to catch a handful of songs by Ottawa's The Polymorphines.  They had a frantic, energetic sound, but it was early, and I was still waiting for that 2nd wind to blow into my sails and set me in motion.  Alas, I was set in motion, but it was out the door and towards the Hideout.

Shikasta was one of my favorite Toronto bands around 5 years ago.  I recall the emptiness in my heart when they decided to wind down.  The perfect offset of that feeling was experienced upon finding out that former Shikasta frontman, Russel Fernandes, had a new band named The Mercy Now.  Their live set was everything I could have hoped for; groovy, sexy, loud and proud.  Perhaps the best moment was when the power on the entire block went down and everybody, band and audience alike, just decided that we didn't need no stinkin power to keep rockin.  I assure you, there is nothing wrong with the video below.  The power blew mid-song and the entire block was pitch black.

Eventually, they got the juice going again and Mercy managed to finish grinding up against our souls. We then sat through a set which made me feel awkward and sympathetic. Some poor Aussie named Kirk Special flew half way around the world to have one of the most frustrating nights of his life. The preamble was pretty cool; he was a one man band who used his feet on a kick drum, played some mean blues guitar and screamed over top the whole thing like a swaggering drunk. Unfortunately, the amp he was using had other plans, and while the faulty amp wasn't a game ender for the sound, it was for his stage presence. For a guy who's energy and creativity on stage usually makes the show, being in a bad mood was a perfect way to reveal that in fact, the songs were quite repetitive and being in a one man band, if you're having a bad night, you've got no one else to fall back on.

Never fear, The Speaking Tongues saved the day.  Picking the dirty blues off the floor, an army of tongues followers cheered the powerful blues duo along as they mastered their way around the stage.  I'd been waiting a good long while to see this band live and as I learned, apparently so had everyone else.

To close off my night, I felt it was important to see a band which The Noble Rogues will be playing with in a few short weeks; You Handsome Devil.  Once again, I knew a lot of their tracks inside and out, but never had seen this shit show of a musical force live.  "Listen up or go to hell, either way, you're listening to You Handsome Devil."  - Damn  straight.  This satanic trio of rock n roll awesome is as much a pleasure to the eyes as they are to the ears.  Flying around the stage like possessed madmen, YH666 found a way to get the pole out of Toronto's ass.  I have never seen a crowd in Toronto that has enjoyed themselves as much as this set.
 Well played you little demons, well played.

-I don't need the devil to show me how to do you wrong.