Despite the massive + hellish St. Laurent street sale that would typically enslave me to serving yuppie tourists frozen yogurt from June 16-19, I managed to book off work to slink on over to Toronto for North by North East. While I didn't find this year's line-up super exciting, I was very much looking forward to seeing Crocodiles, a band I had been listening to compulsively for the past year or so. I figured it would also be the only time I would see the Dum Dum Girls, because a huge part of me is completely reluctant to pay to see them perform for one reason or another. Free wristband=open mind.
My boyfriend and I started off our festival experience by attending a film screening of The Last Pogo, a documentation of the last big punk show of the 70s at the Horseshoe Tavern featuring Teenage Head, the Mods and the Viletones among other local acts of the period. We also caught the beginning of About a Son, a ridiculously dull documentary about Kurt Cobain using various interview sound clips over images of Aberdeen. We left after 10 minutes.
The most enjoyable acts we saw at the festival were Ty Segall, who always puts on a crazy show, on Thursday night at 11. The most pleasant surprise of the festival, Taiwanese band My Skin Against your Skin (sounding very much like early Yeah Yeah Yeahs with a stage presence to match), played the same venue later in the evening thought very few people stuck around after Segall's set. We also saw Crocodiles on both Friday and Saturday night, the former briefly featuring the Dum Dum Girls on backup dancer duty while the latter performance left us all beer-soaked and bruised. Good times. While I've seen Toronto's Teenanger a number of times, their set at the Silver Dollar (opening for Crocodiles) on Saturday night was probably the best show I've ever seen them put on. My guess is they'll just keep getting better.
I was rather disappointed by Devo, which might have been caused in part by my post-free beer Red Bull party comedown/insta-hangover but was probably mostly due to the fact they kicked off their set with oddly lacklustre new material. We left before they touched upon material from their glory days. Montreal band Uncle Bad Touch also rubbed me the wrong way (HAHAHA!) by name dropping their band name in more than one of the songs they performed. I just don't find that at all kosher (unless you are not men and you are Devo).