NXNE 2012 Special: No Good Bands – Part 2

The sound guy at Supermarket was somehow put in charge of the 19 year old volunteer girls for NXNE and kept addressing them as some kind of team. I almost only wrote about that.

There’s always next year.


Time Giant look like if I drew a picture of a band. Long hair, mustaches, vests, sleeveless shirts, boots: it’s like they found a block of ice with five guys from the 1970’s frozen in it, thawed it, and the second they were free, they were like “LET’S ROCK!” In fact, off-mic, the bassist said “Let’s do this.” to his brother men.

Go figure, they sound exactly like a band from the 1970’s. Harmonized solos and all. Halfway into the first song, a guy in a Leafs cap and Wal-Mart shorts walked in, mouth open in astonishment. I think maybe the Black Crowes froze Time Giant in the block of ice so they could steal their whole vibe.

Do these guys know there aren’t quaaludes anymore? They probably don’t know there haven’t been LPs for a while either. I kind of want Time Giant to get really big, so when punks complain about popular rock bands they can really mean it again. A girl you like when you’re in college takes you to see this band and you kind of can’t believe she’s never heard of Mahogany Rush. You’ll never look at her music collection the same way.

When I saw the singer pull out a saxophone my heart rate went up. As a kid, I wanted to play sax in a band! It was 1987 and felt like a reasonable career plan.

Hat and shorts guy strides back in with a beer. He’s impressed and he means business. This sax solo means business. He keeps doing vibrato by shaking his entire body. Then the bass player announces him like he was a new band member only there to play a sax solo. Then he does a guitar solo: guy’s like a classic rock Prince. And then there was an audience singalong: “When I’m In My Own Head! When I’m In My Own LOUDAAAAAAAAAH!” It was around this point that the guitarist picked up a girl in the audience while playing guitar.

I kept putting my notebook away, and then something crazy would happen, like an EXTENNDED DRUM SOLO. In many ways, these guys are the best band I saw during the entire festival. They are also going to destroy all the hard work people who read books have done.


Oh man, if you missed dour 90’s bands, are these guys for you. By “for you”, I mean nobody. Because literally nobody misses dour 90’s bands. The singer sings like the guy from Staind but also has a CB radio to make his voice sound like static. In a song and a half, I saw him play CB and drums, but not guitar. He was holding a guitar. And he was rap dancing. You know exactly what I mean. Picture “rap dancing”. Like, with your imagination, or your memory. Oh wait, here’s a picture of him doing it.

I bet these guys love Filter. You probably can’t even remember Filter’s ONE hit song. That’s because sometimes democracy works.


Out comes a third microphone-thing, or second CB radio if you like (I didn’t like it), which also just made his voice sound like static. So, his ideal vocals are 2 kinds of static and the baritone of Jeff Martin.


How do “serious” bands feel when they leave practice? I mean, what do they feel that they prefer to joy? The third song was the “uplifting” song: the song they’d play in Urban Legend 4 when the final girl shows up at college to discover that her life is all about possibility. Possibility that is going to be obliterated by being witness to serial murder. And why do fat guys always wear 2 t-shirts? The singer was wearing 2 t-shirts. The audience was 1/3 jock guys, 1/3 women in their 30s who still love post-grunge like Sponge and Live, and then a row of guys in matching leather vests. I realize that isn’t the band’s fault. The vests. The jock guys and the women were 100% the band’s fault.

4 songs in, I had to look at what I wrote about the third song to remember what it was or if it was bad. The band is from New York City, so they tell us “Toronto is clean.” Jeez, have you guys been going to Toastmasters? Is that kind of scintillating observational wit making it into your lyrics? At this point, I wanted the singer to stop playing guitar and pick up a CB again. They launch into a slow song, and the half-full dance floor drops to 100% not-full. Way to kill your “momentum”, guys. Why does every guy who sings in a baritone sing “baby” the same way, like “BUAYB-AY”? The slow song had random yelling into a CB in it: why? I lost track of what was the verse and what was the chorus because both were so unmemorable. And is this a fast section of the same song or did they just bail out on not rocking?

The dancefloor filled back up, and I think they launched back into the slow song. This was after telling us there would be 2 more songs. 2 more songs at the same time? I hate it when actors, I mean singers act like they’re feeling it. Do they believe we think it’s like Purple Rain and they looked over at the rhythm section like, “OK, tonight we play that thing you’ve been fucking around with” and make up the lyrics on the spot? No. Everybody here knows you wrote this 17 months ago.

The singer kept spitting: that’s like horking in somebody else’s cubicle. That’s all that is. It isn’t a rock move. Some bands have camera poses locked down: you’re doing nothing onstage, but you slowly do a rock-out thing for 45 seconds so anyone with a camera ends up with 9 shots of you throwing your head back like you’re in the middle of something important.

Finally, and this has nothing to do with Black Wing Halo: I don’t understand why glam-punk guys always look so pissed off, like they don’t want to be out at the club. You’re wearing your Johnny Thunders costume TO BE OUT AT THE CLUB! Nobody forced you to wear  a leather jacket with no shirt and motorcycle boots in June. That was all you, buster.

About Matt Collins

Matt Collins is a musician (Ninja High School), cartoonist (Sexy), jock (Manhunt), and comedian (Matt Collins) in Toronto, Ontario. Please buy more Matt Collins. [Other Posts By Matt]