Out and About
NXNE – M-Style
Every year, M for Montreal puts together two of the most unique musical offerings at Toronto’s NXNE festival, spotlighting primarily bands from Montreal and Quebec region. One is the Bruise Cruise held on Lake Ontario aboard The Mariposa boat, and featuring three or four bands and DJ’s.
The other is M for Manning event is basically a house party thrown at the home of Tim McCready, with programming curated by himself and Justin Peroff, with the help of record label Hand Drawn Dracula this year. Yes he lives here, and he has opened his doors and backyard to music lovers for six years now, and the line up is as diverse as one could find over the course of the 12-hour day! There’s psych/prog rock, rap and hip hop, twang and edm. The perfect place to discover new music.
The first “stage” area is as soon as you enter the front doors, where a PA is set up in the “living room”, just off of the “book shelf” room, which provides great sight lines for the acts. I caught the melodic sounds of Pat Jordache as I entered, before venturing off to explore further. The “book shelf” room, as I refer to it as, had all four walls packed with a variety of books, which I noticed several titles that I also have in my collection (Andy Warhol’s Diaries, John Belushi’s “Wired” biography, and more…including at least one complete encyclopedia set (which I don’t own).
Next stop, “the backyard”where the sun was shining and DJ spinning between sets. I caught the hip-hop duo Clairmont The Second, as well as BART, a multi-member rock collective that seemed more like background music to the growing crowd. It should be noted that there were several distractions to detract from paying attention to the bands, such as free veggie grilled veggie burgers and Panago pizza slices. Well, free with a NXNE wristband or $20 admission. There was a hefty size Kronenbourg 1664 beer bar set up there as well, and although the event was noted as BYOB, the bar was doing a brisk business at a rather reason $6.00 a tin.
I still had the “basement” to check out, and what a pleasant surprise to catch Clara Venice performing. In fact, she was performing multiple sets throughout the day and night, alternating between the upstairs “living room” acts. I had first caught Clara several years back, and it was great to see she’s continuing and expanding her unique multimedia performances, where her vocals are accompanied by her “playing” The (mini) Theremin, an instrument that is controlled without any physical contact. She also used a selection of pre-recorded backing tracks, and introduced her video montage of self-images, as Clara and the Clones.
Back upstairs, the “living room” entertainment was about to begin again, this time with Montreal’s Dead Obies, a five piece bilingual hip hop group hailing from Montreal. The one thing that was obvious about this group, was the lack of any profanities or degrading remarks to any gender or sexuality. Their single Montreal Sud has hit potential, especially with the Grandmaster Flash sampling of The Message.
Other acts on the bill included Serf Kanata, Chastity, Beauts, Sasha Chapin, Birds of Paradise, Marvelous Mark / Bad Zeppelin, Jr Mintz, Vallens, Heaters, The Muscadettes, Fat As Fuck, with DJ sets by Joel French, ZForbes, Paul Chin and Happy Boy Tona.
All in all, a great party vibe happening and kudos to the organizers for putting on one of the best showcases of NXNE. My only regret was that I didn’t get there earlier, and stay later. I had to venture out and switch festivals to take in Luminato’s Unsound Toronto at the abandoned Hearn Generating Station.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.