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NXNE 2008: Pete's Friday
21-Jun-2008 05:57 pm
Contributed by: pete
I've become what I like to call concert-friends with the guys in illScarlett, their friends, and some of their fans. So when illScarlett is playing in Toronto, you'll often find me lurking around the stage and working on some photos, like I was for their NXNE Extra show at the Sound Academy. Getting out to see them also meant getting to see both Down With Webster and Daniel Wesley. And when the show at the Sound Academy was over, I headed up to College St. to catch a few independent acts.
Down With Webster
This progressive hip-hop band is full of colour and energy, and is always hilariously fun to watch. It's a visual feast of reds, blues, yellows, and underpants (if drummer Andrew Martino happens to be in your field of view). There's eight of them on stage, not including the horns section that hide off to the side covered in black clothing and ski masks. There's something so catchy about the song The Grind, and they do a great job delivering it on stage. This time around there were at least two other songs that stuck with me... Miracle Mile and Big Time. When crowd surfing starts during the first act of the evening, you know the audience is getting into it. Next opportunity to test your colour vision is at Tattoo Rock Parlour on June 26th.
Info: Down With Webster | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Daniel Wesley Band
With the bass player wearing simply a pair of board shorts, Daniel Wesley (guitar, vocals) and his band exude the surf lifestyle, in both music and presence. With reggae influences and smooth vocals with a touch of rasp, this was an easy-going warm-up for illScarlett. For me, it was the appropriately named song Ooo Ohh that clued me into why I had heard his name before.
Info: Daniel Wesley | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
illScarlett knows how to put on a great show, but for me it's more than that. It's about the whole thing... the people I know in the audience, being a part of the backstage warm-up, and working on getting wicked shots of the band, whether down on the floor or using the freedom I'm given to shoot from stage. It's also amazing just getting to watch this band grow over time. It certainly wouldn't be fair to call illScarlett independent anymore, but don't forget that it wasn't that long ago they were playing out of their van in a parking lot. They lived the independent band lifestyle, done the time, are some of the hardest working musicians I work with, and know when to party (they're also pretty talented a that). As a result, they continue to make fans. They are now working incredibly hard to capture audiences in other regions and the rest of the world. They were recently in Europe, but now they're back in Canada heading out West on yet another tour.
Info: illScarlett | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
The Golden Hands Before God
The basic thing that makes The Golden Hands Before God such a great act is their clear passion to play the music. It's like a musical party on stage, and everyone in the room is partying vicariously through their psychedelic-rock euphoria. But then, as the band gets deeper into the set list, the line between spectator and performer blurs until everyone in the room is singing along and it ends with everyone being a part of it all. I can't guarantee that every show will be like this, but the next opportunity to see if it happens to you will be August 9th at The Silver Dollar Room (with The Schomberg Fair and The Speaking Tongues). Maybe I'll see you there.
Info & Connect: The Golden Hands Before God on MySpace
For the trip between the Savannah Room and Sneaky Dee's, Toronto was hit with a small flood from the sky. We're talking sheets of rain that turned the streets into mini rivers. It was short lived, but was timed exactly for my trek between the two venues. Hot Springs was already on stage when I got there, and seemed to be well warmed up. There's sort of an insane vivacity surrounding Giselle Webber (vocals, guitar) in the way she attacks both her guitar and microphone that instills both desire and fear in me.
Info: Hot Springs | Connect: MySpace
We Are Wolves
Info: We Are Wolves | Connect: MySpace, Facebook