North By North East…..Where To Start?

Well, I’ll start by saying that, in a word, it was incredible. Absolutely. An absolute blast. Chunklet was put in a unique position to curate a stage at NXNE in Toronto, be flown up to enjoy it and then spoke on a panel. I mean, what’s the problem with that, right?

The first day I was there, I was interviewed for the Eye Weekly (read the embarassingly name-drop-heavy interview here) over a mountain of nachos (literally, not figuratively) and then swept up in record shopping (‘natch!) with comedian/Brutal Knight Nick Flanagan. It was all a blast! I went back to the hotel to clean up and then hopped over to the Chunklet showcase at the Bovine Sex Club, yes, that’s it’s name. Would you believe it might’ve also happened at Rancho Relaxo? Simpsons reference anybody? Hello? Anybody? Is this thing on

Chunklet showcase emcee Nick Flanagan with poster!

Sadly, I missed the So So Glos because I got lost on my way from the hotel to the venue, but was fortunate enough to see The Homosexuals who took over the slot of Prizzy Prizzy Please who were slated to play but had to cancel. And I gotta tell you, I was really impressed. I missed all their sets at this last year’s SXSW, and I’m glad I finally got a chance to witness their truly flighty, arty skronk. Really enjoyable.

Towards the end of their set, the Easy Action guys showed up and I drifted to the back room to visit with them during The Coathangers set who are from my hometown, so I’m sure they understand that I was pulled away from the action. Tyvek (who I’m surprised haven’t yet been sued by DuPont) were great and spazzy in the same way I’ve seen them in the past.

By this time, I had been talking with John Brannon about the Laughing Hyenas for the better part of an hour with Graham Williams helping in the nerd department. Amazingly, he told me that the only time people ask about the Hyenas is when he’s on the west cost which, I hate to say, I don’t believe. I mean, it’s the Laughing Hyenas we’re talking about here! I give it a few years when interest in hardcore will dwindle and people will discover late 80’s/early 90’s noise rock and the Hyenas will get their due. Mark my words.

Easy Action at the Bovine Sex Club

Easy Action were in terrific form and, after their technical difficulties during the first song, played a set heavy on new material. What new material? Well, tracks from the new single on Shake It for one. And….*cough*… tunes from the next Shake It single. Isn’t that right, Billy?

By the time EA were off stage, the Bovine was packed to the rafters with people vying for a good spot for Youth Brigade. At that point of the night, though, I wasn’t feeling like being crammed in that madhouse. It was just inhumane. After convincing a doorman who had turned about 50 punk rockers away, I went up and told him I wanted to close my tab and that I would be back outside momentarily. The 30-foot trip to the bar took ten minutes. Brutal.

My second day at NXNE was pure pleasure. I met up with Damian Abraham, his charming bride and their new bambini for breakfast hamburgers before jetting over to the hotel where the panels were. The panel was really fun as the moderator just let go of the reins to let us just go nuts. Buddies Sean Carlson (Fuck Yeah Fest) and Michelle from Panache Booking (along with myself) talked about the Phil Collins song "Against All Odds" for about an hour and then took questions. On my way out, Grant Lawrence (of the legendary Smugglers) interviewed Damian and me for Sirius radio which was awesome. In the lobby we also got this goofy Flight of the Conchords photo taken. Cute, ain’t it? And after that bit? Non-stop record shopping until sunset. I swear we walked 4 miles and I had my suspicions reaffirmed when I had a cab drive me back to my hotel which cost $17!

I think next year’s Chunklet showcase will be tempered by experience, but I gotta tell you, it was a blast. Thanks, NXNE! I’ll see you jokers next year!

Damian & yours truly let our hair down….