Concerts Concerts NXNE 2011: There's A First Time For Everything

NXNE 2011: There's A First Time For Everything

The Love Machine at Sneaky Dee\'s
NXNE 2011
Young Contrarians, Broken Bricks, The Love Machine, Axis of Conversation
Toronto, ON
June 15-17, 2011

Review by: Natalia Buia
Photos by: Amanda Fotes

Given the amount of bands playing at the festival, there was a ton that both Amanda and I hadn't heard of. We thought it would be a great opportunity to finally give these up-and-coming bands our undivided attention.

Young Contrarians

Young Contrarians travelled a long way to play the NXNE Festival Wednesday night. Singer and guitarist C. Garrison Browne told the crowd the members range from a variety of different places including California. Browne was joined on stage by Kingston, Ontario native Megan Hamilton, who at 8 months pregnant looked glowing and beautiful. In between synth pop melodies, Hamilton exclaimed how she met the father of her baby at the Rancho years ago. Browne may not be doing much with Young Contrarians these days but after such a subtle yet sunny performance at NXNE, they may reunite before summer’s over.

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Broken Bricks

I stuck around after Young Countrarians for the Broken Bricks set because they defined their music as modern Brit-pop, which I love. Being a fan of bands like Pulp and the Kinks, I wanted to see if they were as much action as they were talk. The Toronto quartet nearly filled the venue to capacity with all their friends and family. Best friends since high school, Marlon Chaplin (vocals, guitar) and Luke Kuplowsky (vocals, keys), along with the rest of the band, dressed in their finest retro frocks while playing songs off their new EP Little Fugitives. Just when I thought they were a one trick pony with the whole Brit-pop thing, Kuplowsky pulls out a harmonica and the band goes on to play a distinctive country tune. It seems that they’re trying to take a bite out of every genre from the musical buffet table.

The Love Machine

In my humble opinion, it's impossible to hate The Love Machine. With their catchy hooky and kooky stage presence, the four young indie-rockers managed to get the crowd fist-pumping, as if it were an episode of Jersey Shore. Sean Prescott (vocals, guitar) went for the nerdy chic look on stage, dawning thick-rimmed glasses and suspenders. The look really matched the tone of the band: fun, quirky but extremely impressive. For the past five years, the guys have built quite the fan base in their hometown of Ottawa. Now, with the debut of their rambunctious full-length album, Sweater Weather, they're casting spells on everyone in the city.

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Axis of Conversation

Flying all the way from Calgary to play at the Bread and Circus on Saturday night, Axis of Conversation shared their medley of fuzzy guitars, strings and samples with the crowd. To get a taste of what the band sounds like, imagine Thom Yorke engulfed in an abundance of string arrangements. To call the band multi-talented is an understatement. Led by Chris dela Torre, the 6-piece band showcased an array of their best songs, including a couple from their 7 inch All We Make Is Enemies. Cheryl Bergen proved to be a remarkable cello player, adding a beautiful touch to the eclectic band. To paraphrase Rivers Cuomo, she turned me into jello. After such a noteworthy performance at Bread and Circus, I look forward to their return to the NXNE festival next year. The band is currently working on their second full length album.

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