The Elwins, Dinosaur Bones, Magneta Lane, The Two Koreas, The Fabulous Yawn, Nixon
June 13, 2012
Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Pete Nema, Julie Lavelle
Last Frame Pictures and ElectriCITY Events threw a party that made it well worth skipping the big venues on NXNE Wednesday.
As you'd expect, the first night of NXNE 2012's music schedule boasted endless great acts swamping any space up for grabs in the downtown core. And yet, with bands from Canada and abroad offering up unforgettable performances at nearly every venue in the city, a pretty big fraction of Sticky's contributors skipped the bars and congregated in a backyard on Richmond Street.
Of course, we weren't there for a quiet affair; guided by the clinking of bottles and the smell of Caplansky's mobile menu, people showed up in droves. Friends, industry names, and those-in-the-know jammed themselves into that small backyard and spilled into the basement, drinking beer and buzzing about the real reason they were all together – to celebrate that day's official premiere of Ages and Stages: The Story of The Meligrove Band.
Booze and bodies weren't the only highlights of the evening, because the planners lined up plenty of entertainment to complement in the occasion. While the revellers took in the last rays of the day in the garden, things went wild underground as band after band took to an improvised basement stage. Nixon, The Fabulous Yawn, and The Two Koreas stunned the crowd in the home's low light while the sky was still bright above the other half of the party, while the setting sun brought killer sets from Magneta Lane, Dinosaur Bones, and surprise guests The Elwins.
As for this live show component, the evening stood awfully strong and had the kind of weight that certainly won't be seen in another basement for quite some time, since this line-up would serve to sell out plenty of Toronto's proper venues. But, while the entertainment was brilliant, the very thing that brought those acts to the event was what really brought most of us out that night; this was a party to ring in the success of a film that warrants attention.
At its official screening earlier in the day, even the extra seats brought into the cinema weren't enough to satisfy the demand, with some frowning fans ending up turned away at the door. That demand was for good reason, as viewers were surprise, touched and entertained by the story of The Meligrove Band and the obstacles they've faced, told with the aid of dozens of interviews with peers like Joel Plaskett, Sebastien Grainger, Tokyo Police Club, and countless other familiar faces.
The film is a positive study of a great group that probably deserves to be much bigger than they are, and it's a reflection of the struggles that too many Canadian acts face when they have a talent worth sharing. For many, its strong reception and its themes were well worth celebrating. So, instead of hitting The Horseshoe or riding the rocket to The Phoenix, a crowd swelled in that backyard, showing their support and love for our home's independent music and film scenes, for the people that struggle to share their work and tell our stories, and for the little film that's becoming something big.
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Video: Interview with The Meligrove Band and director Brendan McCarney