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19-Jun-2007 12:56 am
Contributed by: pete
I was looking forward to Saturday of NXNE because I was invited to photograph Ill Scarlett at The Opera House, who were playing along with The Pinker Tones and Marianas Trench. The show was sold out, but there were 400 spots left open for NXNE badge/wristband holders. My plan was to photograph the whole Ill Scarlett show, but then head over to the Queen & Spadina area to catch the Neverending White Lights at the Rivoli, and then Two Hours Traffic at The Horseshoe. Unbelievably, it all went according to plan. I even completely lucked out for a parking space on Queen St. right in front of the Rivoli.
9:15 PM - The Pinker Tones @ The Opera House
Setup with tables of electronic equipment, The Pinker Tones produced a fairly reasonable set. I'll admit I'm biased toward bands that play actual instruments, but even though I didn't completely get into the music, they put on a good show and were reasonably fun to watch. The crowd that had started to form seemed to enjoy them well enough.
Info: The Pinker Tones | Connect: MySpace
10:00 PM - Marianas Trench @ The Opera House
I had never heard of Marianas Trench, and I had a lot of trouble remembering their name, even after having seen them play. Just goes to show you what I know about geography. Based out of Vancouver, this band went on stage with full force; the lead singer, Josh Ramsay, sporting a Flying V guitar and performing high scissor kick jumps. His vocals have that accessible combination of smooth and harsh, while the other band members add very decent backup harmonies. Their high-energy music is definitely radio-friendly, and even though some of it sounds a little too familiar, there's just enough uniqueness. And surprisingly good songs. Based on the screams from the audience, they are well liked by young women, so it almost felt like a guilty pleasure for me to enjoy their set. But they were really quite good, so just I'll just have to accept the fact that sometimes I have the same taste in music as a teenage girl.
Info: Marianas Trench | Connect: MySpace
10:45 PM - Ill Scarlett @ The Opera House
I saw Ill Scarlett for the first time last year at The Mod Club along with Hostage Life and was surprised how they sounded heavier than what I had heard on the radio. And I liked it that way - their on-stage sound leans a little more toward metal, still with the reggae base, but harder. The next time I met up with this band was during the taping of their Live @ The Orange Lounge session, photos that I should be able to publish soon. So, it's only been a couple of photo sessions, but I've learned more of their music, the timing in the way they play, and about the way the band members just are - always surrounded by friends, and truly enjoying what they do. Which means I enjoy being there and photographing them.
There was something new this time... the band was joined on stage by three backup singers, an addition that added some depth. They also showcased some new material, as well as played many of the fan favourites. They opened with the popular One-A, included their new single Nothing Special in the middle of the set (that sounded excellent), and ended the set with Heaters. For their encore they played Not A Prophecy, and for the last song they finally played exactly what the crowd was screaming for, Mary Jane. I like the way this band works together... have a look at the full photo set for some bonus shots.
Info and Connect: MySpace
1:00 AM - Neverending White Lights @ Rivoli
I'm no stranger to Daniel Victor and his band, Neverending White Lights, this being the fourth time I've photographed them. (Wow, that many? One, Two, and Three. Yup, this is the fourth). However, this was only the second time I've seen a full set. And I'm glad I made it in time because this was unlike any past sets - Daniel showcased a number of new songs, and even on the first listen they sounded strong. The honest truth is that although I really like quite a few Neverending White Lights' songs, there are some that are just a little too bland for me. But the new songs sounded like they were going down the right path, and based on the audience's response, I don't think they would be in disagreement. I should also mention that Daniel always has a guest, and so Marco DiFelice (previously of Supergarage) was up on stage again. Marco is an amazing vocal talent, and Daniel and Marco seem to get along so well, both on and off stage. A highlight of the set was watching Daniel and Marco unplug and wander into the crowd to sing together among the fans. It was very well received.
Info: Neverending White Lights | Connect: MySpace
2:00 AM - Two Hours Traffic @ The Horseshoe
So now it's 2 AM and I head over to The Horseshoe where everyone has an advantage over me: they've been drinking for hours, and I've somehow managed to stay sober. Two Hours Traffic is on stage, and they're doing what they do, all Canadian-indie sound, and playing a decent set. I'm up at the stage taking a few photos and to my left is a good-looking woman, clearly enjoying the music. "Why isn't anyone else dancing?" she asks me. I ask back "Do you know this band?" and she responds "No, but they sound good and we should all be having a good time". A philosophy I completely agree with. I saw Two Hours Traffic open for The Golden Dogs, and it sounded good, but for me the connection wasn't strong. At The Horseshoe, I was one level up from that. In other words, listen to their music twice. The other thing you need to know is that the guitarist, Alec O'Hanley, is willing to arm wrestle women... such as Lexi from Magneta Lane. Who won? I'm not telling.
Info: Two Hours Traffic | Connect: MySpace