So for those of you that know who I am, great! For those of you who do not, I am Cecil, host of CJLO's Burnt Offerings, a metal show here in Montreal. On June 15, I went to Toronto for my first ever NXNE experience. It was new and definitely exciting, to say the least. Here goes…
Friday morning I grouped up with Barbara Pavone and Jon Asher and we began our journey. Underwhelming trip aside, we managed to get to Toronto in one piece, check into our hotel and collect our media passes before setting off to explore the sights and sensations Toronto and the weekend had to offer. Having not been to Toronto in almost 12 years, I had nearly forgotten what it felt like to go anywhere as an anglophone and be understood by everybody and be answered when making an off-the-cuff comment about somebody within earshot.
We first met up with a couple of locals in the scene and made our way to the official Jagermeister and Exclaim! BBQ where we got stamped, took a preliminary photo and were left to our own devices to explore. The first things to notice, aside from the Jagerettes, were the vintage hotrods that were parked at the entrance, followed by the silver-painted, robotic-looking Elvis impersonator posing beside and atop of them, which illuminated the roller derby theme they had set up for the event. The BBQ food was exactly what we wanted and the drinks were cold and refreshing. Of everything there, I especially enjoyed the Sailor Jerry setup where they offered free haircuts and tattoos, but the line was a bit too long to get in on the ink. However, I managed to get an impressive free cut from the gentleman from Crow's Nest Barbershop who referred to himself only as "Big Mac".
After our BBQ refresher, we met up with other members of The Rabid Whole, as well as other people who were immersed in the NXNE experience, and we decided to check out some local talent. Without going into too much detail, the night had a lot to offer, ranging from excellent performances from talent across Canada, as well as other acts that could hardly be considered as such. Suffice it to say, after ample bar hopping, we decided to call it a night and refresh ourselves for a full Saturday of exciting possibilities!
On Saturday, it all started with breakfast. I'll never forget the Java House with their greasy spoon-styled instant breakfast pancakes, their hot coffee and welcoming smiles as well as my constant confusion and slight unease while crossing any of the busy streets in downtown Toronto. So, after busying ourselves for a little while after breakfast with sight-seeing, reading various posters and checking out the setup for the MMVAs, then regrouped with Asher and Andreas and made our way through Little Italy (got some churros along the way!) to the Mod Club where I can honestly say I had my first real surprise of the night for the Lithium Radio launch.
I had never been to a club before where I was granted access to the VIP section upstairs and this was quite a treat for me! Lithium mag was hosting the party, which was catered with free drinks. I got to meet a few more awesome people, shook a few hands, made a few jokes and got to see a few bands that were quite impressive.
Once we had had our fill, we left Mod Club to take in a few more scenes, finally finishing up at the Hard Luck to catch a rather impressive rockabilly show that included The Matadors. Unfortunately, I do not have a whole lot to say about it other than the bands were all very good as I was fairly drained from the weekend's events.
Sunday morning was where we said our goodbyes to Toronto and had a hearty breakfast before setting off back to Montreal. What can I say about my first NXNE? There was a lot, a LOT of good! I never experienced anything like it and I came back with so much, I cannot wait for the next excuse to get back there and do it all over again!
Check out Burnt Offerings at www.cjlo.com/on-air/
For more on NXNE: www.nxne.com