El Mocambo in Toronto, ON
June 14, 2012
Review by: Chad Huthings
Photos by: Michael Fil
A couple of great Canadian acts step up to cap off NXNE Thursday on Spadina.
The Ascot Royals
With the risks of NXNE being what they are, Thursday held far too much activity to fit into one day. But with some clever juggling and at the cost of half-sets and becoming a sweaty mess, a couple of late performances at El Mocambo were squeezed in to top off one crazy evening.
Arriving on the stifling second floor of the El Mo, I found a small crowd gathered to see The Ascot Royals pounding things out mid-set with a heady cover of BTO's “You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet”. But, while a few tunes were featured before the arrival, I had the fortune of finding a band in the throes of their performance and a crowd warmed up and ready to dance.
As active as some of the audience was, though, they weren't nearly as wild as the act they were watching. The Ascot Royals are known to put on a strong show, and this night was a testament, with frontman Jimmy Chauveau playing his role and heading the sweaty chaos with the kind of energy that just might've been what made the space so damned hot in the first place. From standing on a speaker leading a sing-along of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes", to playing the proper rockstar and tossing his body around on stage, Chaveau was a firecracker, leading his band through a high-energy set spent blasting out their sunny summer dance rock.
Staying up past bedtime and getting sticky in a sweaty audience continued to be well worth the trouble for the next act on stage, Fast Romantics. Relocated from Calgary, the band made their way east to introduce their brand of inoffensive rock to a new audience – an audience that seemed awfully glad to be seeing them on stage that night, with a healthy contingent singing and dancing in proper groupie style as the act played familiar tunes from their earlier works.
Of course, with a new album soon to hit the shelves, the group did the upcoming effort justice and played a chunk clever new tracks that were more than well received. New and old alike, Fast Romantics' songs are catchy and sincere – a high-energy, highly listenable spin on the classic rock sound – and they've garnered attention from many a movie maker keen on using the band's work on the small and big screens. The life in their music isn't limited to their completed recordings, however; Fast Romantics' first set of NXNE 2012 was a spirited show that proved they don't need the help of a screenplay to have an audience moved by their tunes.