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NXNE '09 Thursday Night - Pete's Adventures (Photos and Reviews)

27-Jun-2009 12:00 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews

Although I posted Pete's NXNE '09 Picks, I didn't intend that to be my schedule. But for Thursday, I ended up following my picks list fairly closely, with some help from another photographer Sara Collaton who offered to meet up with me at Zeus and provide transportation to the other shows. And so with Sara, the two of us traveled between The Courthouse, the Rivoli, Rancho Relaxo, The Drake, and Clinton's, where she dropped me off and went on her way. But that wasn't the end of the night for me.

Zeus

Back to the start of the night: I arrived at The Courthouse a few minutes late and so Zeus had already started into their set. The venue wasn't quite at capacity yet, but clearly it was only a few people away. Back in February, shortly after I saw Zeus play the Dakota Tavern, Arts & Crafts announced that they had signed the band. Four months have passed since then, and the band is tighter and way more awesome. They still expose a wide variety of influences through their music, but it seemed less disparate than back in February, and definitely more polished. They played a cover of That's All by Genesis, and I don't mind admitting I liked it better than the original, before they closed with an amazing Deep Purple-inspired tune. A pretty great start to what was going to turn out to be a long and amazing evening.

Zeus  Zeus 

Zeus 

Info & Connect: Zeus on MySpace
Media: Something Awesome (zip), I Know (zip)

Mardeen

I caught Mardeen for the first time at Virgin Festival 2008, and liked their East coast pop-rock sound. Plus, who is that guy on the drums? I recognize him from somewhere. Wait, I know, that's Jason Burns who is also the manager for Hey Rosetta!... meaning there's some good associations going on with this band. Their music is clean, melodic, and sometimes reminds me of early Joel Plaskett (a comparison I also made last time I saw them, and one they're probably getting tired of hearing). They may also share influences with Two Hours Traffic. Worth seeing again sometime.

Mardeen  Mardeen  Mardeen

Mardeen  Mardeen

Info & Connect: Mardeen on MySpace, Facebook

The Details

The real reason I was at the Rivoli was for the band that I centered my entire night around: The Details, based out of Winnipeg. I am a massive fan of their 2007 album, Draw A Distance. Draw A Border., and although I was happy to get to see them perform for the first time in April during the Manitoba Music showcase, they only played new material for that show. It sounded great, and I was happy just to see them perform at all, but as a fan I was really hoping to hear some of the older songs that have been a prevalent part of my playlists for the past year. The good news was that, as I walked into the Rivoli, I ran into Keli Martin (bass) who told me they had decided to include a few older songs in the set. They played through a bunch of the new material again, some of which sounded even better the second time around, and closed the show with A National Anthem, which is easily my favorite song of theirs. Great set, amazing band. I'm really looking forward to hearing the new material in recorded format.

The Details  The Details  The Details

The Details  The Details

The Details  The Details  The Details

Info: The Details | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Underground (mp3)

Rah Rah

I thought seeing The Details was going to be the highlight of my night, and it was certainly one highlight, but what I didn't realize was how Rah Rah was going to impact me. I like their song Tentacles, but didn't expect to be blown away by their performance. They play folk-inspired rock and with six members on stage (three male, three female) there was plenty of instrumentation, including violin, keyboards, and the occasional accordion. I really wasn't prepared for how much I was going to like this band - they were incredible. They looked like they were having fun on stage and the fans were definitely having fun on the floor.

Rah Rah  Rah Rah

Rah Rah  Rah Rah

All this the put me in a great mood and I wanted to keep it going, so although my initial plan was to see The King Khan & BBQ Show at The Horseshoe after Rah Rah, I decided that I wanted to go see a known quantity, something I could count on, and that meant Amos The Transparent at The Drake instead.

Info & Connect: Rah Rah MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Tentacles (mp3)

Amos The Transparent

This was my tenth time going to see Amos The Transparent, and they've been so consistently brilliant recently that I pretty much knew what to expect. They were already on stage when I arrived, but even so they all made me feel welcome. It was like putting on my current favorite album and singing along, but getting to sing along with the actual band instead. For one song, they brought up the members of The Balconies to sing along, as well as a few other friends. Amos The Transparent was the third band in a three band streak of amazingness. I could've called it quits at this point, but instead thought it was the right time of night to take a chance.

Amos The Transparent  Amos The Transparent  Amos The Transparent

Amos The Transparent  Amos The Transparent  Amos The Transparent

Info: Amos The Transparent | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Lemons (mp3), (Here's To) New Beginnings (mp3)

Grand Theft Bus

I knew nothing about Grand Theft Bus except for hearing about 30 seconds of one of their songs earlier in the week while I was searching for a pick for the 1:00 AM time slot. Turns out they used to be known as a serious jam band, but have more recently tightened up their compositions. I can't say there was much going on visually, but they sounded decent enough for me to stick around until the end of the set.

Grand Theft Bus 

As I started to pack my camera gear away, I ran into Jackie Skinner (vocals, guitar) from the band Skinner. I had done some press shots for Skinner back in 2007, but hadn't seen them since. We chatted for a bit and I discovered they had used a number of my photos for the artwork on their 2008 self-titled album. Jackie gave me a copy of the CD and even though it was out of her way, she offered to give me a lift to Bathurst and College which provided me with some better options to TTC home.

Info: Grand Theft Bus | Connect: MySpace

Modernboys Moderngirls

After I got out of the car, I realized that I only had $1.50 on me, so I crossed the road to hit a bank machine. That solved the money problem, but left me armed only with 20 dollar bills; I still needed to break a bill to get bus fare. With Sneaky Dee's right there, the best choice seemed to drop in for a quick beer and get some change. After I grabbed my beer, I ran into Akira Alemany (vocals, guitar) of Modernboys Moderngirls who was on his way to the stage to setup for a set, which just seemed like perfect timing. This turned out to be the third show of Modernboys Moderngirls for me, and also the third line-up. Akira and Brett Millius (drums) are the constant, but the band around them changes (or sometimes disappears altogether). This time, they had a new bass player and a guy on the keytar. They played a bunch of songs from their recently released album I May As Well Break It. It was a cool set.

Modernboys Moderngirls  Modernboys Moderngirls  Modernboys Moderngirls

Modernboys Moderngirls  Modernboys Moderngirls

Info: Modernboys Moderngirls | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: My Baby Says Boy, Don't You Ever Go (mp3)

We Are The Take

As I went to leave Sneaky Dee's, I ran into Andrew Hobbs (bass) from We Are The Take and discovered that Erik Alcock (vocals, guitar, piano) and Craig Stickland (guitar, vocals) were also there. We talked for a while upstairs, and then Erik convinced me to join them for a late night beer downstairs. They had played earlier that night at Koolhaus, making me realize that it's been too long since I've seen one of their concerts. They are still one of my favorite local bands, and I see and hear so much potential in them and their music. We had a good time chatting together, along with a few other people sitting nearby, and as 4am started to roll around I said goodnight and made my way home.

We Are The Take  We Are The Take

Info & Connect: We Are The Take on MySpace, Facebook
Media: Dreams (mp3)

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