Half on a whim I bought a NXNE wristband Wednesday afternoon. I got laundry ready, then went to a show, chores neglected.
Young Doctors in Love break hearts. That shittiest slot, 8 PM on Wednesday, was lit by the window at the back of El Mo’s empty upstairs. Young Doctors update their MySpace and thanked their friends from Ryerson, but those friends wouldn’t move closer, because, cumaughn, it’s uncomfortable. They’re the same poppy indie rock (keyboard and tambourine included) I didn’t like when I was fifteen, now older and momsier, with the same songs. They’ve got hipless invincibility, so unconcerned, you can’t touch them.
We got burritos with crusties and the finest and a pristine kelly Dropkick Murphys tee, then slid into Supermarket for Army Girls. They talked up their two new albums and new EP (“yes, it’s really a cassette! that you can listen to!”) of once in a while noisy blues punk, and you can’t imagine even the EP isn’t mostly filler. Expect comments on all their personality, because Carmen makes faces. Throughout, the sound guy is diving into mental illness looking through red lenses, microadjusting dials to their right spot.
We walked past the hospital and a circle of acoustic guitars and took twenty seconds to abandon the Painted Lady. Animal Talk was the dadest plus cougars bland-rock bar garbage, and a girl in an ill-fitting, cheap-looking burlesque costume (sub-outfit), looking (the girl) unreal and tired lounged on the bar. The room was packed, so something was working. Pheromones?
Working for everyone except the guy complaining about his chocolate allergy: free ice cream truck, brand-name omitted.
The worst name we could find was We R Dying 2 Kill U, how could it lose? The Garrison was smirking with skronk, sax and clarinet and projectionist &c. As far as you pretend away the contrived for-art-school-credit seriousness, it was fun. The wrench was the homeless septuagenarian reading poetry, a real person with actual beliefs, at it decades too long.
Turned out it was Penny Rimbaud of Crass.
The 2006 short film Girlfriend in a Kimono used extensive makeup, lighting, and special effects to create the illusion that Penny Rimbaud does not sleep in a dumpster, with mixed results.
The Drake was the first hip crowd of NXNE. The hype and shirtless, lipsticked pictures, we expected drum machines and laptops. Instead, confused, Mac DeMarco is surrounded by baseball caps and I worked with the bass player at American Apparel. Their take on post-Black Lips smooth rock was silly and likeable and kept expectations non-existent. DeMarco can write songs, sing, he’s charismatic, and he stole his gap-toothed smile from Dave Foley 1991.
Look for Mac DeMarco in an upcoming issue!
We should’ve headed home, exhausted festival amateurs, working close-opens and doubles. We stopped at Parts and Labour for their post-punk showcase. Everything’d been clockwork so far, so Ultrathin running late was irritating. Then they started and I was watching myself fall on my face. All the Elvis Costello moves in white sneakers and feeble Alex Chilton hoots and stutters coming off dumb and forced instead of unhinged, all straight from my self-conscious anxieties. If I’d felt charitable, I’d’ve stayed, but bed was such a good idea.
Young Doctors in Love at El Mocambo, Army Girls at Supermarket, Animal Talk at the Painted Lady, We R Dying 2 Kill U with Penny Rimbaud at the Garrison, Mac DeMarco at the Drake, and Ultrathin at the Shop under Parts and Labour. NXNE, Wednesday June, 13, 20102