More than half of Quebecers give me the stink eye when I tell em I love Toronto en tabarnak. It may reek of American but it’s laced with Canadian spirit. There are lots of Drake & Bieber wannabes, but polite punk hippie attitude. There’s also your typical douchebag cliques you just wanna throw hot dogs at, but that’s like everywhere else in North America. In general, the vibes in Toronto are chill & positive pretty much 24/7. Oh, and I heard the name Rob Ford only once.
In TO, most ladies strut their stuff with class and know how to make visitors feel homey. For example, I met a lovely paralegal whom made sure I got home safe & sage. I also had lunch and dinner with a model and an actress. Shit like this barely happens to me in L.A… Only in Toronto. Maybe it’s my new shoes.
ROCK ‘N’ RHYE
One of the best performances I saw at NXNE was Rhye at the swanky Massey Hall. Rhye is the lovechild of Robin Hannibal of Quadron & Toronto’s Milosh. The crowd was as mute as Rambo. The place was so quiet you could hear a pill drop. You might have heard their song “Open” — if you don’t think this track is the best song you’ve ever heard, please get a life.
If stars were nuts, I’d give Bruise Cruise 4 nuts cause this show was balls to the wall. The fourth annual Bruise Cruise was presented by M for Montreal & Panache. We cruised Lake Ontario for three hours while sippin’ drinks to live music. It also serves the purpose of tanning that pale Canadian skin. This 550-capacity sold-out cruise was hosted by none other than indie darling Mac DeMarco. Mac’s played Bruise before but this time around he performed with his other band, Walter TV. They got everyone surfing on a wave with no name. If you don’t know already, Walter TV pretty much features all of Mac DeMarco’s usual band members, but the mastermind behind this one is Mac’s bass player Pierce McGarry. Pierce does the most wack n’ roll videos i’ve ever seen. The dude is colourful, and if you look closely, you can see fields of dreams in his eyes.
The cruise also featured Montreal’s new juicey crew, the Posterz. I’m originally from Cali and I’ve never seen an MTL act with so much West Coast swagger — they’re like MTL’s answer to Odd Future. Get on it and turn that bass up & light it up, nah mean? Ya’ll better run cause these dudes are about to blow up any minute. Oh yeah, they’re the act that brought huge water guns to spray us cool on the hot cruise.
Calvin Love is Mac’s buddy from Edmonton. I’m pretty sure I wet myself during Calvin’s set due to excitement — either that or someone spilled a drink on me while I was dancing the pogo.
PS I Love You are releasing a new record soon and the gifted garagey duo gave us a savoury preview of what’s to come. PS has the dirtiest guitar tone and it gets louder every time I see ’em. They just keep blowing me…. far away.
PARTIES, POP & PRIDE
The Jacques Greene & Tommy Kruise party was bananas. I was so FUBAR’d that I became one of Tommy’s back-up dancers. I don’t know why but TK’s dirty South-influenced trap makes me lose control every time. After a TK gig in Sherbrooke, I woke up in a cop car. In Texas, I lost my rental car and woke up in a hostel with my arms tied behind my back with my own belt. Shit gets real when you go see Tommy. Give it a try.
I dropped in on the Pop Montreal showcase to catch Seoul. I didn’t stay long but I was told I grabbed every package in the house before getting escorted to a cab. I’m sad to have missed Heat, which I’m really into. Sounds like Pavement meets Dino Jr and that’s sex to my ears & feet. Their current drummer is MTL enigma, Karneef. Karn is related to Frank Zappa’s nephew’s neighbour’s housekeeper. Karn swears he was abducted by aliens in the Village back in 2004. He has since converted to Raëlism.
NXNE has really reached its peak, and become one of my favourites. This year reminded me of my first time ever watching The Wizard of Oz. Definitely some over the rainbow shit. [Ed.’s note: It was also Pride. Coincidence?] ■
See part 1 of Mikey’s NXNE report here.
See all of Mikey’s festival reports here.