NXNE 2013: Authentic (Young Rival) + Moon King + Diana + Ell V Gore + No Joy

Joshua Kloke
Diana lead singer Carmen Elle. Photos: Adam Kesek

A large element of NXNE 2013 involves efforts to re-brand the City of Toronto as one of the great music cities of the world.

NXNE 2013

City: Toronto
Date: 2013-06-13

4479, a new initiative is “…being led by a growing coalition of music industry leaders, in conjunction with supporters who work in tourism, municipal government and business,” according to Amy Terrill, Vice President Public Affairs at Music Canada. 4479 is part of an ongoing study comparing Toronto to other great music cities, so with that in mind, there was an effort to check out a few local artists as part of Thursday’s festivities.

Hamilton-bred but now seemingly based in Toronto, Young Rival continue to assert themselves as one of Canada’s hardest working rock 'n’ roll acts, proliferating a tireless work ethic and an engaging, '60s-inspired sound. They’ve been largely ignored by mainstream media and tour without much financial backing; so compelling is their approach that filmmakers Brendan McCarney and Mike Gillespie decided to follow the band on their 2012 tour as they crossed Canada in a mini-van. Authentic premiered on Thursday night at the Bloor Cinema.

Interspersing footage of the three-piece performing spontaneously in stops along the way (Whiskey distilleries, abandoned houses, mouths of large dinosaurs) with insights into the harsh realities of touring Canada, Authentic pays homage to the DIY-roots of a band that deserves a much larger audience. While Authentic goes a little heavy on the live performances, the film does manage to capture the pioneering spirit that is necessary for bands to have to get in a van and leave the state of normalcy behind.

Toronto’s Moon King graced the legendary Horseshoe Tavern with a bombastic set, giving their fuzz-pop a somewhat uncharacteristic shot in the arm. Crowd surfing in tiny venues was again on display, though this time the band’s vocals were knocked out by the errant body. Regardless, the band has grown leaps and bounds since their previous recorded efforts, proving why they deserved the three shows they’ve been given at NXNE.

Diana, a synth-driven act was one of the more talked about bands leading up to NXNE, after recently being signed to two taste-making labels, Jagjaguwar and Paper Bag Records.

Lead by charismatic lead singer Carmen Elle, whose stage presence was as jovial as it was engaging, the band overcame equipment issues (Lack of a good midi cable) and produced a textured set. Joseph Shabason was a particular standout on saxophone.

The rain was now coming down heavily in Toronto, so it felt appropriate to descend into the underground at Blk Box, where Toronto industrial punkers Ell V Gore entranced a dazed crowd. Toronto has a bit of a rep for crowds, where crossed arms and bored looks seem to be the order of the day. Even the hippest of hipsters couldn’t resist Ell V Gore’s sonic onslaught. Loud and furious and led by the manic Elliott Jones, their set proved what many are already saying: this is a city that is deep and varied with talent.

Montreal-based shoegazers No Joy worked their way through a choppy and inconsistent set. On record, this four-piece has been garnering acclaim, most notably with Wait to Pleasure, their 2013 release. But were it not for drummer Garland Hastings, they would’ve been even more shambolic. He kept time with utmost enthusiasm and precision and ultimately, the four-piece finished strong. Though Hastings surely saved them from what could’ve been a disastrous evening.

With the weekend now upon us, Friday’s lineup is as big as it gets, with headliners The National playing their first show in Toronto since the release of Trouble Will Find Me.

Diana lead singer Carmen Elle

Ell V Gore lead singer Elliott Jones

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