Thursday, June 18, 2009

NXNE 2009 - Arts and Crafts Showcase - Night 1

From The National Post:

Celebration hung thick in the air last night at Arts & Craft records first night of North by Northeast. When Leslie Feist popped out to play with Broken Social Scene it felt very much like we were watching the very best band in the world. That most of the group had been onstage already -- the Happiness Project, Apostle of Hustle and Jason Collett had already played sets -- gave the whole thing a reunion-type raise your glass vibe. It was especially fun watching it with the kids in Still Life Still, Arts & Crafts newest signees, who threw down the Jaigermeister like Motley Crue...

Read More HERE

Ummm... Apparently Post reporter Ben Kaplan was slightly more coherent than I was last night, so you'd be better served reading his revue of the show than anything I'd be able to tell you at this point. Because it's 6:30 pm, and I'm still savagely hungover.
If nothing else, that's an indication of the type of party it was.

Despite the boozy haze that is currently serving in the place of memory from last night, what I can tell you is this: The guys at Arts and Crafts put on an absolutely stellar showcase at The Courthouse.

My buddy Browner is kind of a big deal in the record industry, so he was able to get me on the guest list for this exclusive gig. I'm telling you, you know you're catching an impressive NXNE lineup when Jason Collett is on in the 8 o'clock slot. I have been digging Collett's straight ahead rock and roll for quite some time, and his new material did not disappoint. His set was phenomenal, as always.

The Years / Happiness Project set was totally cool. For those unfamiliar with The Happiness Project, Charles Spearin interviewed some of his neighbours about the topic of, you guessed it: happiness. He then set their words to music. The result is something magical, and to see it live was part beautiful, part touching, and entirely impressive.

It was at about this point that things began to get a little fuzzy for me. Browner and I were throwing back the beverages like it was nobody's business, and when we ventured upstairs into the quasi-VIP area (I say "quasi-VIP" because obviously any area that grants me access can't be solely reserved for very important people. I'm thinking that "Moderately Important" would be a more appropriate description), things escalated rapidly. The fact that we were amongst nothing but record executives and rock stars really only added to the binge drinking festivities. I'm pretty sure Feist was hitting on me, but she probably doesn't remember. I generally have that effect on award-winning female indie rock artists.

The Apostle of Hustle set was out of this world, but the truth is, I was way too drunk to really appreciate it. They have the kind of latin-rock sound that I totally dig, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again at a time when I'm not expending so much energy simply trying to see straight.

By the time Broken Social Scene took the stage, I; like many others in attendance; was having a hard time standing up. 7/4 Shoreline is probably one of the 10 greatest Canadian rock songs ever recorded, and it absolutely blew the roof off the place. The new material absolutely kicked ass, the horn section was utterly destroying, and if I had been capable of motor function, I would have been shaking my money maker into the small hours of tomorrow... But I couldn't give you a song title if my life depended on it. Maybe these will help:

In all, it was an unbelievable show. I hope the rest of the world is ready for what hits them when the new BSS record emerges.

The second part of the showcase goes down tonight, with Zeus, The Most Serene Republic, Timber Timbre (their new album is out of this world), and Still Life Still. I have to say, I have seen the way the guys from Still Life Still party on a number of occassions, and I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to see them on stage. Oh yeah, and there is also an unannounced special guest slotted in for the midnight set.

Looking forward to a repeat performance tonight. Now, if I can only manage to mix in some bottles of water with the countless bottles of beer I will invariably be tossing back, I might actually be able to provide some semblance of a coherent review for you tomorrow...

Don't hold your breath.

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