Hands up @ Bruise Cruise

Mikey B Trippin: NXNE part 2

M for Mikey wraps NXNE with a second report on Toronto’s mega music festival, wherein he witnesses the second coming, feeds poutine to rappers, checks some buzz bands, spills uncomfortable secrets and gets followed home by a lady with a craving for candy.

Like I mentioned in my first NXNE report, Toronto’s bars and venues stay open till 4 a.m. during festival time, so this means I’m in bed by 6 a.m. & up by noon for free daytime parties with free booze & food. Like most festivals, the drinking never stops and Toronto’s energy is set on high — resting/napping isn’t an issue or an option.

I attended the Audioblood & Manning Street day parties. The Manning street party hosted a new band called Joseph and the Mercurials: Diamond Rings meets Elvis Presley. The lusty, musclebound frontman looked and sounded like Elvis, from the future, and the band had it all: guitar, violin, keys and that old-school ’50s microphone.


M for Montreal showcase

After numerous dranks and little food, I headed to work hosting an M for Montreal showcase at Sneaky Dee’s and of course kicked things off with a free poutine party with rap pioneer Webster and Mauves from QC. They were followed by Montreal two-chick duo UN: two drinks into it, I was blown away. Solid drumming, techno with a cold wave shadow over top. Whenever I’m in the presence of UN’s drummer Jen, I reveal my naked self to her, openly confessing dark secrets about my past, like the time my scoutmaster tried to make a move on me.

Julian Lynch is from New Jersey but goes to school in Wisconsin. He smokes lots of cigarettes and is currently on tour with Montreal’s the Luyas, who also play as his back-up band. There’s something satisfyingly sad about his music — I’m in love with this brilliant lad. His spacey, dreamy bedroom-gaze tunes will keep you company late at night and make you believe you’re seeing shooting stars. Eat your fart out, Boner Oberst.

Brooklyn’s Brazos (via Austin) just put out a record on Dead Oceans. They make ’90s-style fuzz-pop that reminds me of Beck meets Grant Lee Buffalo. I wish I’d brought my hacky sack.

The second coming

Our secret special guests Majical Cloudz performed at 2 a.m. but made it feel more like M for Midnight Mass as the holy spirits hit me hard — as in triple vodka tonics. Frontman Devon studied religion at McGill and maybe this is why I feel blessed or born again every time I see ’em. Pure as the driven snow, super minimal synths and a hint of Morrissey on vocals, but I’d rather compare Devon to Sinéad O’Connor getting nailed by Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat. A touch of witchcore with punk attitude. They’ve recently signed to my other-hometown label (Matador Records, home of Pavement) and this only means every music blog from N.Y. to Europe will have found their second coming. So happy MC belongs to Montreal, y’all have no idea how lucky we are. Thank you Jesus, Devon, Matt & Jesse, for making Montreal cozier.


Bruise Cruise

I ended my NXNE adventure on our third annual Bruise Cruise presented by Panache Booking & M for Montreal. I’m not lying when I say this was one of the best parties at NXNE. As we set sail for Lake Ontario, smart-ass Houston rapper Fat Tony kicked things off. He’s got all that swag hard-ass rappers have and repeats the words “bitch” and “muthahfucka” at least a dozen times per song. That’s one way to keep it real.

Next was Montreal’s We Are Wolves. I’ve been watching and booking this band since 2006. Right when I thought I’d seen enough of them, I was wrong. They delivered one of the most solid sets @ NXNE. These guys had stayed up late and looked very pale but they certainly made many new fans and friends on this cruise, including the next band, Odonis Odonis. OO have been blowing people away in Toronto for years but I can’t wait for them to shred the rest of the world. They already got some decent buzz going on, but putting product on Fat Cat Records can only mean OO is legit.

Crowd-surfing on the Bruise Cruise

Lastly, the Buzz Band of the festival, San Francisco’s Mikal Cronin. This was Mikal’s first time playing Canada and that made me feel almost famous. Mikal played bass for fellow SF boner-boy Ty Segall (who played our first Bruise Cruise) and we were also graced by Ty’s drummer backing up Mikal this time around. Mikal’s new record is one of my favourites of the year — these songs will stay with me forever. Mikal’s sound is a blend of garage, pop and some oldies influence. I wanna take him home & tie him up in my basement and keep him for myself. He’s destined to be the soundtrack to the next Urban Outfitters generation.

That’s it. I couldn’t really function after the Bruise Cruise. The ground wouldn’t stay still and the walls were attacking me. I did attend shows but ended up hugging more toilets than watching bands. Last thing I remember is that awful 46-year-old mother of two who followed me home and stole my Reese’s Pieces. Thank you Tore on Toe. ■



Hooker Harveys

Moon King

Saving Gigi Coffee Shop

Taxi drivers

Single Mothers (the band)

8 1/2




Hooker Harveys

Taxi fares

Taste of Italy douchebags



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