Registration and checking in today was fun. Compared with last year, when I was a neophyte, I knew what to look for in the exhibits of the Interactive strand of this tri-partite conference and festival. There were game designers, graphic artists, music tech people, inventors, and everyone’s extremely friendly.
Other than encountering some problems with my cellular service here in Toronto–owing to the fact that incredibly, Verizon in NYC had failed to properly set me up, even though I dealt with half a dozen over the past several weeks, things are going great.
I’m at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, with good wifi, where the Tracks on Tracks showcase is happening. It’s between sets right now. The evening features all the bands that just traveled across Canada from Vancouver and headed east to Toronto over the past five days. Shred Kelly, named in honr of the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, were fantastic. They’re a five-piece, driven by a terrific rhythm section–Jordan on bass, who I met after their set, and a barefooted drummer, who kicked the hell out of his bass drum–a female keyboard player named Sage; a rhythm guitarist; and a fellow who played banjo and mandolin. They played foot-stompers, including the showstopper, “I Hate Work,” but also some more pop-sounding tunes. A great blended sound.
I’m here with many CBC Radio 3 pals, as we’re enjoying a reunion, since many of us met here last year.
I’ll get photos from their set up on the blog later. For now, I’m going to take a break from live-blogging and get ready to listen to the next bands.
Late Update: Following Shred Kelly, the highlights for me were the bands Portage&Main and then The Matinee,” a lively five-piece with a great lead guitarist and dynamic lead singer. On the walk back to my hotel, through lively blocks filled with locals and tourists I took photos of many interestingly designed storefronts, photos I will post later. Near the end of my stroll, I stopped at another music venue listed in the NXNE guide, Cameron House, and discovered a great four-piece called Dodge Fiasco. They had a sort of NRBQ-feel, and also reminded me of the great Canadian all-instrumental group, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, famous for providing the theme music to the classic TV show, “Kids in the Hall.” I also a female singer-songwriter, Erika Werry, friend of the band, who told me she’s recording new songs of hers tomorrow, and is hoping to hear Andre Williams and the Sadies on Friday night. It’s always fun to make one more musical discovery before the night is over.