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NXNE Roundup: Damn you, parties, it’s all a blur now!

Another year, another NXNE and yet again, I was a victim to NXNE's most awesome parking lot and rooftop parties. What can I say, free booze, food and live music are the perfect tonic for good times with friends.

I kicked off my NXNE with probably one of my most favourite parties to date. Hosted by Exclaim!, Jagermeister and Sailor Jerry in a random parking lot at the corner of Spadina and College, the combination of Canada's music authority and everyone's favourite drinks was the perfect slur maker.

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Why yes, that is a silver Elvis: Tales from NXNE 2012

Greetings!

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…

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Features

You’re banned! Your night is over! NXNE serves up good (and interesting) times with music and BBQs

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to (yet again) participate in the NXNE music fest in Toronto, ON and check out some fresh musical talent to treat my ears to.

Unfortunately (and this is the key word in my blurb) I got distracted by BBQs and parties this year and didn’t really have the chance to hear many new sounds.

I only had two days for NXNE. Arriving on the Friday, I already knew what I had planned for that night. I know the guys from St. Joe’s Mission and saw on the schedule that they were playing Hard Luck that night, so I thought I’d surprise them. This hard rock/funk band is never a disappointment, always putting on a great show. I know their album by heart and was a bit disappointed with not hearing my favorite track, “The Reins,” live but meh, what can you do? They mostly performed some new tunes and it was really enjoyable.

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Rock News

The (international) music festivals are coming! First up: France’s Hellfest

Don’t you just love summer? Bars open up their patios, the weather is wonderful and, perhaps most excitingly, music festivals are in full force. We’ll of course be covering everything from NXNE to Vans Warped Tour, Osheaga and Heavy MTL, but I thought we’d kick off this pre-season with a spotlight on an international festival – HELLFEST.

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Features

Oh Indie Week, how I love your music and wrestling!

This was by far the most memorable and most fun Toronto music fest I’ve been to in a while. Going on my second Indie Week, I have to say that when you mix talent with great venues, plus an amazing party atmosphere and cheap booze thanks to sponsors – you’ve got yourself one hell of a shindig!

Kicking off my Indie Week was my own Blankfest Toronto, co-organized with Indie Week and Serving Charity. Blankfest is a charity show I first brought to Montreal two years ago that began in NYC in 1997. It was founded by Kenn Rowell of The Baghdaddios to help collect blankets for the homeless during the winter months.

This was an amazing event as bands from all across came out to support Toronto’s homeless and Indie Week. The lineup was just phenomenal and had a great mix of punk, hard rock and my personal favourite genre of balls-deep metal!

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Artists and Bands

Compared to everything from cereal to Pink Floyd, Final Flash prove why they are nothing but Final Flash

“Hey man the wild is calling / Together my friend out there for more.” Joey Chaperon Cyr, lead singer of Montreal-based rock quintet Final Flash, could not have illustrated the band’s music better. A mystifying mix of classic and psychedelic rock, their debut album, Homeless, immediately transports you from your living room couch to the middle of an enchanted redwood forest. Joey’s voice and lyrics call out to something beyond humanity, and the hypnotic sounds emanating from Andre Bendahan (bass), Alexandre Girard (guitar), Mathieu Bourret (keys), and Maxime Hébert (drums), take the listener there. Songs like, “When the Day Turns Black,” “The Black Flame in me is a Red Flame in You,” “Welcome to the House on Fire” and, my favourite, “We Leave the Forest,” leave you wanting more. I caught up with the band just before they opened for Juliette Lewis at Montreal’s Cabaret du Mile End.

Q: I’ve been following you guys for the past year and from the first time I saw you until now, the band has really come together. What is it that has allowed you to gel so quickly?

Andre: A lot of shows, more synergy being created between us. [As a new band] everyone was focused more on their own instruments and I think now everyone is able to hear what everyone else is doing … getting into that vibe where we are all uniform. We are able to push the songs more. We are getting better and better, but there is still a lot of room to grow.

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Artists and Bands

The Raveonettes’ Sharin Foo talks touring, nerves, being a duo, and opening for Iggy Pop

The Raveonettes are, by far, Denmark’s coolest export. The alt-rock duo is comprised of Sune Rose Wagner (who juggles guitar, vocals, and an array of other instruments, as needed) and Sharin Foo (who reigns over bass, guitar, and vocals.) October of 2009 saw the release of their fourth full-length album, In And Out Of Control, which was then followed by a string of live shows (and now, worldwide festival gigs). I caught up with Sharin in Toronto, during the NXNE festival, on the morning of The Raveonettes’ rocking gig, which saw them open up for Iggy and the Stooges in Yonge-Dundas Square.

Q: You’re scheduled to play a bunch of summer festivals all around the world, do you enjoy the traveling, or does it get tiring?

A: No, I like it actually. I actually do like playing only one, or two, or three shows; it’s really exciting. The traveling can be a little tiresome, jetlag and that kind of stuff, but I find touring can be a little harder sometimes because it’s so monotonous. You have to play five, six shows in a row and it’s harder to find that sort of excitement. So, actually, I do like doing the [dispersed] shows. It can be a little more terrifying because maybe it’s like a week or two since we played, and you’re like “oh, okay!,” but yeah, it’s fun.

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Artists and Bands

N x N + E = BBQs & Networking

Over the last few years I’ve been traveling down the 401, from Montreal to Toronto, to experience one of Canada’s biggest music industry conferences and festivals: NXNE. But this year’s NXNE really broke down into a clever, and almost mathematical, formula that I’ve discovered. When you take N x N + E, it equals something really special called, networking galore!

Arriving in Toronto on a Thursday, I wasn’t sure what my plans would be. This was the first year I told myself that I would play it by ear and word of mouth, and I sure am glad that I trusted my gut feeling because the rewards were just priceless. What I discovered at this year’s NXNE was tons of rooftop parties and backyard BBQs. All these were the right spots to be, whether you were an industry-type or a musician. The first rooftop party I ended up at was hosted by the XM Verge radio show. Arriving to the rooftop with industry friends from Liberty Music Traxx and BreakingTomorrow.com out of Montreal, we hit the party and it was crammed! Tons of people squashed like sardines, and super loud due to both people chattering and bands playing in the background. I met a few people that I knew there, but my rating on this bash was so-so, compared to the others I attended. I can’t do places where you can’t even talk to the person next to you because you can’t hear each other. But overall, just sitting on a rooftop in the sun and having fun with friends can never be a bad thing.

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Opportunities

NXNE FESTIVAL NOW ACCEPTING BAND SUBMISSIONS

North-by-Northeast is accepting Sonicbids submissions now through Jan. 31st. They are currently accepting submissions from the following genres; rock, hip-hop, punk, electronic, country, DJ, dance, singer-songwriter, experimental, folk and more. For more information, including where to submit your music, visit http://nxne.com.

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Features

Glasgow’s El Dog on On-Stage Nudity, Flute-Playing Sound Guys, Hostels and More

El Dog 2El Dog is an excellent four-piece band from Glasgow, Scotland, UK whose style is Alternative, Ambient Rock. They are gently arousing, yet soothing to the ears, and all while having the drive and power to exhilarate and entice.

Their new album, The Lamps of Terrahead, is justly getting great reviews from all over the UK, ranging from BBC Radio 1 to the national news press.

If your tastes include bands such as Muse, Led Zeppelin, Idlewild, Radiohead, Mogwai and Biffy Clyro, then El Dog should be in your collection. The Lamps of Terrahead is the band’s stunning debut and is sure to get them noticed and loved by all. It is out on October 19th, 2009 on Lo – Five Records and will be available through Itunes and all major download sites. I would recommend pre-ordering a copy to avoid disappointment.