NXNE Top Ten
by Emma
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Rae Sremmurd - "No Flex Zone"

1. Not going to NXNE because something about the weird roaring corporate vacuum of it feels just, I don't know, kinda off? Like in a way you'd have a hard time justifying in a court of law but that still feels very real; maybe it's that the enterprise as a whole, when you think about it (or when you try to make a schedule on their truly terrible website) radiates that weird thing (which now that you think of it is very Toronto-ish, if nothing else) of aspiring to a particular brand of international soullessness but it's actually still at its core just a little bumbling, a little awkward on the follow-through, the seams showing, uncomfortably. Maybe the whole thing feels at once kinda cringe-y and kinda stressful and who needs that? Plus it's sunny and you don't need an expensive wristband to drink in your backyard.

2. But then also going to NXNE anyway because whatever, your friends are going to all these shows and they're gonna be texting you like "dude," etc., and anyway you like a lot of dumb bands and you want to be there for all the cool stuff. Like "be there for" as in both "be supportive" and "not miss everything," because missing out on fun things gives you the same light acidic stomach-roil that going out to go to fun things does. So whatever, it's a wash either way, right? And you like going out once you're out.

3. Plus, jesus christ, what are you going to do, be too cool for the music festival? Who are you, the fucking Fonz? Or just the most annoying person on earth? You're not too cool for the music festival. You're not too cool for anything. You're not cool. Be grateful for it.

4. That said, don't let anyone get away with calling it "North By." We all still need to maintain some shadow of something like dignity.

5. Maybe bike sometimes! Or don't, sometimes it's scary, they're your legs.

6. Be careful with that last call, please.

7. Friday:
- Inside Touch + Pat Jordache + James Irwin + How Sad at Handlebar (there are also some great people, including the inimitable Charlotte Cornfield, playing there earlier in the day)
- Moon + Moss Lime + Blonde Elvis + DAS RAD + Career Suicide at Soybomb
- Un Blonde + Chastity Belt + Old and Weird + Crosss + Foam + Homebody + Plasma Lab at Smiling Buddha

8. Saturday:
- Just go to Sonic Boom or DDL and hang out all day. (DDL is good on Sunday too.)
- Rae Sremmurd!

9. Sunday:
Get some tacos or whatever and go lie in the park. Think about the tattoos you and your best friend might get together someday. Or today! Maybe today is the day to do it; the world is long and you are young, things are good for you. Put your phone away for a few minutes. Take a nap if you need to. Call your mother when you wake up.

10. Toronto is full of a million cool babes and beautiful dogs in the summertime, and right now we are in the midst of peak season for making meaningful eye contact with, and then feeling far too shy to talk to, both. On your way to a show, try to really look at one or two very meaningful dogs. Once you get to the show, before you pull your phone out or whatever, take a minute or two to marvel at everyone's shirts. Don't make anyone feel weird about it, but pay attention. There are days when everyone in this stupid city looks like they walked straight out of the Cool Person catalogue and it's like, where are people getting all these shirts? So often, in this life, it is hard to do something as supposedly simple as locating and purchasing a shirt that doesn't make you look like a complete fucking chump, like a collapsing house, when you're in it. And then you go out and everyone is so beautiful and shining through their haircuts and it may seem like for all these other cool babes the shirt thing is effortless. But you know better than that. People put the work in, same as you. And now you're all here in this one place, together! It's a small thing but it's nice if you think about it - all of you gathered, watching a man with a beard tune his bass. Everyone really, really meaning it. Try not to take this stuff for granted.

[buy Sremmlife]

Posted by Emma at June 19, 2015 10:30 AM

Some of this is terrifyingly close to my own internal monologue, and I am guilty of eye contact with meaningful dogs... (P.S. Love the track!)

Posted by Michelle at June 19, 2015 12:31 PM

It has been a (startlingly) long time since I've been to a music fest, but this brings it right back. All the stress, all the deliberateness, all the immediacy and the glory of moments. So much purity and crassness, all blended up together. I hope it's a memorable weekend in all the best-possible ways!

Posted by Lindsey at June 21, 2015 5:50 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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