Thursday, June 24th, 2010

NXNE Day Four

De La Soul, Kid Sister, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo when this run of NXNE reports began earlier this week, I dismissed last Wednesday’s claim of being “day one” of the festival for its general lack of options in programming. So what made Sunday, the final day of the fest and also with only a smattering of options on offer, worthy of being called “day four”? Well, the fact that I went. I never promised anyone consistency.

It was a one-stop evening, though, with only the Yonge-Dundas mainstage on the agenda. After the rock-heavy, anarchy-inducing antics of the previous night’s Stooges show, the focus for the last day turned to more urban sounds and a hip-hop heavy lineup. It had run throughout the day but I only got there in time to see Big Freedia, who was visiting from New Orleans preaching the gospel of something called “New Orleans Sissy Bounce”, which as far as I could tell mainly consisted of soundtracking the impressive ass-shaking of Freedia’s two backup dancers. This was not the sort of N’awlins culture I saw on Treme. Apparently the scheduling of so… graphic an act in the late afternoon offended at least a few people and yeah – it was probably horribly inappropriate, but maybe that’s why it was so great. Well, great for the first little bit. Then it got old and I went for dinner.

Photos: Big Freedia @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
MP3: Big Freedia – “Gin In My System”
MySpace: Big Freedia

Foodstuffs were obtained in time to make it back for New York’s Phenomenal Handclap Band. I’d seen them at SxSW 2009 and mainly recall them practically falling off the tiny Peckerheads stage whilst trying get a disco vibe going on, only somewhat successfully. Since then, however, they’ve released their self-titled debut and graduated to bigger stages such as this one while honing their sound even further. From their opening instrumental jam, it was clear they were bringing the deep groove and dancing was not going to be negotiable. The disco influence was still omni-present, but the presence of funk, soul and classic rock moves kept them from being so easily categorized. With super-tight harmonies and musicianship, the Phenomenal Handclap Band brought the funk it was nigh impossible not to enjoy it, unless you hated the funk. And if that was the case, what the hell were you doing there?

Photos: The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “15 to 20”
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “You’ll Disappear”
Video: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “Baby”
Video: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “15 to 20”

We had boked Kanye protege Kid Sister for our Eastbound & Found show at SxSW this year, and while I didn’t catch her set properly, I did see some of it from afar and it was, to put it mildly, a party. A terrific rapper and, as she ably demonstrated a few times, a good singer as well, she came out with loads of energy and never let it flag, delivering one jam after another just keeping the party going strong. She would play again later that night at the festival wrap party at Wrongbar and made a pretty compelling argument for folks to head over there after the show to see her do her thing again.

Photos: Kid Sister @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
Video: Kid Sister – “Daydreaming”
Video: Kid Sister – “Right Hand Hi”
Video: Kid Sister – “Pro Nails”
MySpace: Kid Sister

But there would be no leaving before the night’s headliners. Legendary Long Island hip-hop trio De La Soul have been at it so long that even I remember hearing them way back in high school, and folks? That was a while ago. And appropriately, they were the very definition of “old school” – with just three mics, some turntables and a load of classic songs like “Me Myself & I” and “Saturday” (okay, those were the two that I knew best), shout-outs and banter, they were a reminder of an era of hip hop that was all about dropping rhymes and having a good time. Almost as much time was spent egging on the crowd with remarks like, “where’s the hip hop?” and “where’s the party?” and jokes about their age and the amount they were cursing. Some might complain about the amount of time spent talking, but it was evident that the reparte was as integral a part of their show as the rapping. They weren’t just there as performers, but as the masters of ceremony for the closing party for what had turned out to be a terrific festival and the best NXNE that I can recall. Congratulations to everyone involved, and see you next year. Exclaim and Spinner also have reviews of the show.

Photos: De La Soul @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
Video: De La Soul – “Baby Phat”
Video: De La Soul – “Oooh!”
Video: De La Soul – “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”
Video: De La Soul – “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’”
Video: De La Soul – “Me Myself & I”
Video: De La Soul – “Buddy”
Video: De La Soul & Teenage Fanclub – “Fallin'”

Blurt interviews Teenage Fanclub about their new album Shadows. They’ve got two nights at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

Frightened Rabbit have released a new video from The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and with a lot of open space around a just-announced late October date at Terminal 5 (!) in New York City, may be putting together some more North American touring plans.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Living in Colour”

Spinner chats with The Joy Formidable.

The National Post and Spinner have interviews with Kele, who just released his solo debut in The Boxer and will be at the Mod Club on July 27.

By : Frank Yang at 8:37 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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