15
Jun
08

An eye for the swag

Sunday June 15, Toronto, Holiday Inn. Last night was the last night of North by Northeast, and this time I was determined not to stress about seeing certain bands. So naturally I stressed about seeing certain bands. However, the good news is that I saw most of what I wanted to see, although I missed Tel Aviv band Monotonics. More on that later, if I remember to get to it. 

Anyway, we started the afternoon at the Drake Hotel on the outdoor patio. For some reason Wingy things every party is a barbecue so he assured myself and Kim H. that there would be food at this party, which was being held by Vice Magazine. As you would expect from a party held by that hipster rag, the patio was populated with tattooed, bearded dudes and stylish ladies. We were there under the aegis of Carling A., who as much as I begged never did get me a beer. It wasn’t a barbecue and there was very little food, but Wingy and I circulated like the pros we are–talking to three Swedish sisters, the dude who heads up the Polaris Music Prize (a big deal in Canuckland music circles), and a few old pals from Vancouver. Despite Carling’s reluctance, we managed to keep scoring enough drink tickets to keep us buzzed. 

Fortunately, Rancho Relaxo was serving up some vittles upstairs, where we saw Tiger and Me, an Australian man-woman duo who performed pretty cool torch lounge pop ballads. Then Wingy’s eye was attracted to a bright blue Whole Foods bag everyone outside the El Mocambo seemed to be clutching so we went in to investigate and were immediately handed a bag o’ swag. This convinced us to stay for the band, a seven-piece Norwegian outfit whose name I can’t pronounce or quite remember, but which I will add later (yeah, right). They were jumpy, energetic and fun as hell, and reminded me a little of Little Creatures-era Talking Heads. Rebekah Higgs from Halifax rocked out at the Horseshoe, and 6 Day Riot, a folk pop group from the U.K., was excellent at the Cameron House. At the Bovine Sex Club we caught the tail-end of the set by Koogaphone, another U.K. group but with a harder, hard-rock/punk edge and fronted by Julie, the girl we shared a cab ride with the previous night. We hightailed it over to Sneaky Dee’s for one of the reputed highlights of the festival, the Monotonics, but it got so crowded and claustrophobic our party bailed one by one–first Wingy left to get pizza, then Kim went home, and finally I went outside. Wingy, a friend from Vancouver now living here and I made it to the Red Kross show at Lee’s Palace, though I’d said I wouldn’t return to that sweatbox. But I did! Then I got mad at Wingy for some reason but now we’re friends again, at least until he pays the hotel bill. 


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