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PopMatters Gauges the Heat at NXNE 2005

Introduction by Robert Wheaton.

PopMatters Gauges the Heat at NXNE

PART ONE


"We Just Came for the Wristband"
by David Marchese

David Marchese examines NXNE, the uneven blessings of talent and exposure, and the slippery notion of success.

>"Junior Pantherz look for all the world like three milk-fed, rosy-cheeked prairie innocents. They come from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and their NXNE show was part of the eastern leg of their current tour. It was the third show they would be playing in Toronto in six days. I was not expecting to be blown away. But within 30 minutes � after careening guitar solos, crashing drums, and spacious melodies � the alternately ferocious and gentle music would have me thinking the same thing being yelled by the young women at the back of the club: one more song!" ee milk-fed, rosy-cheeked prairie innocents. They come from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and their NXNE show was part of the eastern leg of their current tour. It was the third show they would be playing in Toronto in six days. I was not expecting to be blown away. But within 30 minutes � after careening guitar solos, crashing drums, and spacious melodies � the alternately ferocious and gentle music would have me thinking the same thing being yelled by the young women at the back of the club: one more song!"

[Read Essay]


"In Remembrance of Music Past"
by Robert Wheaton

NXNE's film festival showcases three attempts to document music at different stages and from wildly different backgrounds. But they all come from the same place.

>"Nostalgia is the dominant emotion in much filmmaking about music. The primary impulse of many biopics, musicals, and documentaries is to memorialize music or musicians who have had a significant impact on the filmmaker's life. Too often this has its own dangers: the rare biopic that does not sag with pacing problems suffers because it cannot establish any critical distance from its subject. But the mode can be uncannily beautiful � from the elegiac rhythms of, say, Clint Eastwood's Bird, or the smoke-filled purism of Robert Altman's Kansas City." aking about music. The primary impulse of many biopics, musicals, and documentaries is to memorialize music or musicians who have had a significant impact on the filmmaker's life. Too often this has its own dangers: the rare biopic that does not sag with pacing problems suffers because it cannot establish any critical distance from its subject. But the mode can be uncannily beautiful � from the elegiac rhythms of, say, Clint Eastwood's Bird, or the smoke-filled purism of Robert Altman's Kansas City."

[Read Essay]
PART TWO


"Giving Back, Giving Up"
by Robert Wheaton

Bands struggled with venues and venues struggled with bands, but the audiences dispersed amid the NXNE festival in Toronto never coalesced into the true listening public necessary to consecrate the next big thing.

>"Shortly after midnight the four men begin to play. They do not introduce themselves, nor do they announce their material. They are dressed anonymously and, until they begin to move shuddering volumes of brilliant and traumatized air, they easily passed as events staff. The four of them spend most of the next 40 minutes bent and hunkered over their equipment and their instruments. They are mostly hidden in darkness. They do not look at the crowd. This is Holy Fuck." ay. They do not introduce themselves, nor do they announce their material. They are dressed anonymously and, until they begin to move shuddering volumes of brilliant and traumatized air, they easily passed as events staff. The four of them spend most of the next 40 minutes bent and hunkered over their equipment and their instruments. They are mostly hidden in darkness. They do not look at the crowd. This is Holy Fuck."

[Read Essay]


"NeXT 2005: There's Something Happening Here"
by Liam Colle

On the verge of exploding, Dan Burke's NeXT showcase fuels Toronto's smouldering music scene.

>"Attending a music festival like NXNE is an inevitably alienating experience. As organizers try to rein in all the logistics, the music falls by the wayside. Anaemic shows are filled to capacity with apathetic gapes, industry vampires, and defeated expectations. The truth is that rock 'n' roll is an ugly beast that withers under the lights of a corporate agenda. NXNE tries to tame the animal and package it up for easy consumption, which usually ends up alienating both the bands and the fans." itably alienating experience. As organizers try to rein in all the logistics, the music falls by the wayside. Anaemic shows are filled to capacity with apathetic gapes, industry vampires, and defeated expectations. The truth is that rock 'n' roll is an ugly beast that withers under the lights of a corporate agenda. NXNE tries to tame the animal and package it up for easy consumption, which usually ends up alienating both the bands and the fans."

[Read Essay]


"Searching For Those 40 Minutes"
by Jason MacNeil

NXNE has now matured into an event with its own rhythms and habits. But there's still that craving to hear something fresh.

>"The junior counterpart to South By Southwest has grown quite a bit in recent years, and it is no longer just a replica of the Canadian Music Week held here in Toronto each March. In fact, the popularity of the festival has allowed several bands make a mark here. But for every band that succeeds, there are two or three dozen that have to live with the memory of a fleeting 40-minute set that didn't pan out as they had hoped." s grown quite a bit in recent years, and it is no longer just a replica of the Canadian Music Week held here in Toronto each March. In fact, the popularity of the festival has allowed several bands make a mark here. But for every band that succeeds, there are two or three dozen that have to live with the memory of a fleeting 40-minute set that didn't pan out as they had hoped."

[Read Essay]

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