Category Archives: Music

NXNE Music Industry Panels

Now that I’ve had a few days to reflect upon my near week in Toronto, I have to say, I took a lot of good stuff away from the people I met and the info I took in.  My two favourite panels were: Women in Music and the Future of the Music Industry.

The panel about women in music was hosted by Melissa Auf der Maur.  Her panel was an interesting mix of younger women who she has been paying attention to musically – No Joy from Montreal (with Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd) and Alaska B from Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, formerly from Montreal and now in Toronto. And, along with a man who had been doing music reviews in Toronto for longer than not: Ben Rayner.  Their perspective was realistic and refreshing. These women don’t take shit from anyone, they make the music they love, and they aren’t letting anyone dictate the fate of their careers. I went to see No Joy later that same night at The Black Box and they also deliver on sound and musicality. Auf der Maur has opened a music/event hall in upper state New York and will have them perform there later in the fall. Don’t miss them if you have a chance to see them.

The Future of the Music Industry Panel was also really interesting.  The panel included: Alan Cross, Jake Gold, and Richard Thomas.  The moderator was Medina Abdelkader.

A few things that I took away from that panel were:

1) There is a great divide between consumers of music and collectors of music. People still want to own a “thing” – CD – and CD and vinyl sales are still doing okay despite the download and consumer culture where everyone expects artists to give away their work for free.

2) A live show is sex on stage. If you don’t deliver at least that, you aren’t doing your job right.  As a follow up to giving away your work for free, people are willing to pay for the experience of the live show since that’s when they connect with you as a musician and wholeheartedly to music.  It’s the intimacy on stage and that connection that people crave.  Give them what they want, and look like you’re having an awesome time doing it, and you will have fans that will buy into you.

3) Be awesome.  Be your artistic self and don’t write for the audience.  Write for yourself and let the fans find you.  Jake Gold couldn’t stress that enough.

4) It’s all about the song, the song, the song.  Alan Cross knows a thing or two about music, and I don’t disagree.

5) Musicians never really ever made money off of music sales, they make it off of touring and merch and etc.  It’s hard to believe that someone isn’t making money somewhere…  but there you have it.

All in all, two great panels.

I’ll have more on the state of the film and TV industry panels early next week.

Have a great weekend folks.  If you’re in Ottawa – be sure to go see The Matinée at Dragon Boat Festival.  They played NXNE, and have done two shows in Ottawa in the recent past. They are awesome, in every sense of that word.



NXNE End point…

Strange…  I thought this came through on Monday…  Guess not, so here’s the update.

See the last post for NXNE Days 1-3; on to…

Day 4 – a lazy morning, then a stroll up Yonge Street to see Old Stock, a sweet little Canadian film at the Carlton Theatre; lunch of bad Japanese food, then YDS for Big Black Delta (loved this band…two drummers and one was a lady!), Teenage Kicks, Millencolin (wow… alls to say there); then off to the Bovine Sex Club to meet up with my crazy friend Kid Rock… (apparently at one point, two people were having non-bovine sex in the women’s bathroom, dunno, didn’t see it…) and then came Dearly Beloved, Diemonds, and last but not least, Monster Voodoo Machine, which rocked it as their original lineup, with one of the guys coming all the way from Regina to play…A treat!

Day 5 – more low key…Checked out Laugh Sabbath, a short comedy film festival, which was fun; then Sunday Night Live at Comedy Bar; then hit one last show at The Garrison, a young band called Iceage, who keep their audience in the dark by playing in the dark…they were good, loud, and an appropriate end to an eventful week.

I’ll probably be writing up more indepth stuff as topics on anything I found interesting.

The highlight for me was attending the panels and once again seeing as much music and films as I could manage. There’s just so much going on, but I tried not to overlap with stuff I knew was coming through Ottawa (The Balconies, for example).

The vast majority of panels were very high quality and fun. Well worth the money of admission.

Great programming, I thought. The free booze Kobo party was pretty decent too. I wouldn’t hesitate to go again.

NXNE Midway Point…

Day 1 – Wednesday: Music at Cherry Cola’s – The Normals, The Standstills.

Day 2 – Thursday: Panels – From Thinking Like A Startup to Being One, Government Money for Projects: Fact or Fiction, Film Interactive, Women in Music: More Than Ever Before (w/ Auf der Maur who is an amazing lady); KOBO Party (with an open bar…) with Brendan Canning (DJ), Red Mass; Music at BLK BOX – Cellphone, Ell V Gore, No Joy.

Day 3: Friday: Panels – Sex Sells: Lessons from the digital underground, Re-imaging Work Reclaiming Your Life, Day Jobs That Don’t Suck, The Future of the Music Industry; Music at Yonge & Dundas Square – The National ; Music at Supermarket – Northcote, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, The Matinee…

And the night is still young…

I managed to sneak in one more show at Cherry Cola’s before I called it a night and strolled home… I went to see The Rabid Whole. What’s interesting about going to see shows at Cherry’s is the diversity of people who show up. The Rabid Whole isn’t what I would call “easy listening”, more like “make-your-brain-vibrate-and-bleed hard listening”. Really great show… and so was sitting beside the woman with the Taylor Swift shirt on.

Fun times.

CMW: The Wrap

So, it’s been a little over a week since my Canadian Music Week Adventure started in Toronto…  I almost didn’t make it there, with the shit weather on the 401 and me facing two oncoming transport trucks.  Not a good time, but the rest of the week made up for it…  in spades.

Here’s the lineup I caught on stage…

Day 1: Steven Branchaud (Brantford), The Pistolwhips (Saskatoon), 20 Amp Soundchild (Pickering), Riding Shotgun (Toronto), Short of Able (Edmonton), Wildheart (Toronto), and London Swagger (Oshawa).

Day 2: Tim Chaisson (PEI), Rob Moir (Toronto), The White Buffalo (LA), Hunter Valentine (Toronto), The Suppliers (Calgary), The Ins & Outs (Montreal), and The Mercury Now (Toronto).

Day 3: Day Off

Day 4: Strangers (Sydney, AUS), Static In The Stars (Vancouver), Dearly Beloved (Toronto), Bend Sinister (Vancouver), Holy Toledo! (Toronto) and Thee Attacks (Copenhagen).

Day 5: Strangers (Sydney) and Dirty Water (Toronto)

Day 6: Blackie Jackett Jr. (Toronto), Scott Kempner and Glen Matlock.

5 Days: 25 shows. I could have seen a million more bands, big shows, more popular people…  Next year is all out.

During those 6 days, I was also a PA on two movie sets, all-day shoots, and attended a panel about the state of the Canadian Film Industry…  And I watched a whole lot of TRASH TV in my hotel – Vanderplump Rules, Real Housewives of Vancouver, an entire Bar Rescue Marathon, and the pilot episode of Bates Motel (which was alright!).

CMW Day 6 – Small venues/Big shows

My last night in town, and I finally made it to Rivoli. Had a chat with the bar manager as I waited for the venue to open up. He’s been doing the Queen Street thing for 23 years. Working in different bars, as security and staff. Neat guy. Had many stories to tell. He was lamenting the fact that the young folks didn’t know who some of the old time musicians were… It was a funny conversation.

I saw Blackie Jackett Jr, Scott Kempner and Glen Matlock. There’s just something spectacular about seeing these musicians in small venues, on a stage with mostly their acoustic instruments. I was thoroughly impressed…

Had a chat with Jimmy, from Blackie Jackett Jr., and his wife about music and movies and such. I thought they should come and play in Ottawa, for sure. They’re the kind of band who would totally fit on the Bluesfest River Stage and probably draw a significant crowd. They have this contemporary rockabilly sound with some catchy lyrics that made you want to sing along.

About movies, Jimmy said he’s been kicking around some short film ideas, and I was telling him about Digi60 180 and that they were looking for filmmakers from other cities. He wanted to see some of the stuff I’d been working on, so I’m going to send him my work. Could be fun to do a collaboration with him.

Then I finished out the week meeting up with Ian again at Bovine. Interesting lad. He was making some broad assumptions about why I had chosen to come to CMW and he thought that I would have more interest in NXNE. That may be true… But the way I see it, I’m a fan of music, and I would much rather see musicians in small venues sometimes… There’s less BS and I can actually see them and maybe even talk to them after. Going to a huge concert is fun too, but I’ve always enjoyed smaller shows. Makes it more real and interactive.

I’ll probably do one more entry about CMW as a wrap up about this incredible experience. Stay tuned.

CMW Day 5 – When I was too sore to walk

Live blog about last night from Rivoli…

On Saturday, I had a Charlie horse so bad that I could barely walk at one point… I still went out last night but it was pretty quiet in comparison to other nights. I checked out Strangers, from the land down under, again at The Hideout and then went to Cherry for Dirty Water, a band from Toronto.

A young gentleman bought me a shot of whiskey. Irish. Then I was introduced to Dropkick… A huge monster of a guy…

As I started to walk back, I was in so much pain. Next year… Better shoes.

Now, another night in a small venue with really great musicians…

The first band is about to go on… Blackie Jackett Jr.

I honestly was thinking that I should have moved to Toronto about 20 years ago… Who knows where my life would have been. But… I’m here now… And that’s what matters.

I’ll be back next year…. For surzeez.

CMW Day 4 – Many Convergent Things

As I watch Seven on TV, I’m going to reflect on the things that happened today…

14 hours on a film set working with a talented team was pretty cool. I didn’t make it to Sandra Bernhard, despite being in the building, but I did end up seeing her in the performers entrance where we were shooting today. It’s odd seeing celebrities in the wild because they’re people first and foremost, doing a job… Same with the principle actor on set. He’s just a total pro.

Then I took a small breather and went to Cherry Colas for Strangers and Static In The Stars where I ran into friends Lisa and Ben, from Ottawa, of all people, in all places.

Then Ian from the Rawk and I went to Bovine Sex Club for Dearly Beloved and The Hideout for Bend Sinister and then back to Cherry’s for Holy Toledo and Thee Attacks.

Then we got talking with the Australian band, Strangers, they’re loving Canada. Just coming off SXSW, and heading to New York City on Monday. Totally cool guys. And they spend time in Melbourne as a regular gig. So I told them about Mary Mae. They were totally impressed that a movie I wrote was playing over there and that they were playing over here. Thought it was a pretty small world.

So far this week has been fairly excellent!