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NXNE 2010 in pics – part 1 (Free Energy, Young Galaxy, more)

Damian Abraham & child @ NXNE – 6/17/2010
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After working all day in a hotel room on Thursday, I headed out into for my first-ever taste of both NXNE and Toronto music clubs. I’ve been to the city once before, but that was a very long time ago.

Things were kicking off at 6pm on the outdoor stage set up at Young Dundas Square. Locals will tell you that its Toronto’s Times Square, but after being there I’d say its more like Union Square (in shape and size anyway). That said, I don’t know what it normally looks like there, but for NXNE they turned the whole paved center of the square into a festival site complete with sponsored booths (free sample of flavored water anyone? Would you like to learn more about Sirius XM radio?) and a huge stage that anyone is free to check out (Iggy Pop plays there on Saturday).

Entry to any other NXNE venue will cost you. A festival badge, which you could purchase in Young Dudas Square, costs $50 and gets you into everything capacity permitting (though we never had a problem once). It’s like CMJ and SXSW – there are NXNE shows in all the Toronto clubs.

We got to Young Dudas in time for Free Energy‘s set, and for the speeches that came before them. The first was by the man himself, Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham from Fucked Up, aka the mayor of Toronto (he was the first of three Fucked Up members I spotted over the course of the evening). He, and a lady friend whose name I didn’t catch, introduced the band and Michael Chan, the Minister of Tourism & Culture, who gave a nice little speech before the bands began.

More pictures and commentary below…

Damian & friend MC’d
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Michael Chan, the Minister of Tourism & Culture
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Free Energy played a rockin’ set (their first of two last night) in the sun to a mix of festival-goers and random passerbys…

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Damian reminds us to buy a festival badge and stick around for the Icacus Line…
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A woman got arrested. I’m not sure why…

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The Icarus Line were up next. Instead we took off and headed down College St, past Toronto University, to a hipper, less Times-Square-like portion of town where there’s a higher concentration of music venues, record stores and good restaurants. We passed Soundscapes record store which had this sick Phosphorescent cut-out in the window…

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The Broken Social Scene movie was playing as part of the fest…

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We didn’t have a set plan. And then we reached the Mod Club. It took a full hour to walk there. Arts & Crafts band Young Galaxy were starting as we got there….

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Young Galaxy were great and The Besnard Lakes were going on next, but we didn’t stick around…

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At this point I was planning on seeing Mudhoney and X back at Young Dundas Square, but it took an hour to get to this part of town so there was so there was no way I was going all the way back there (and both Mudhoney and X are/were playing again Friday night). Instead we headed over to Sneaky Dee’s (just a few blocks through Little Italy away), where in addition to enjoying some vegan nachos, we caught the wonderful Zola Jesus

Zola Jesus

More about that show, with more Zola Jesus pictures, HERE. The rest of the day to be continued….

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