No Good Bands NXNE 2013 – Part 1

WILD HEARSES

Half of how I pick which bands to see is based on their band name. And oy, what a name. “Wild Hearses”? Oy. Oh, and what a band uniform: golf shirts. NICE. There was a sizeable jock crowd at this show, and the jocks really seemed to love the band. The jocks were all doing that jock air-drums and waist bend dance and they had more presence than the band. Now that jocks have figured out how to dance to undanceable angular guitar rock, what’s left?

jock dancing

The band played what amounted to nu-metal but the guitars were treble-ey and there was no rapping. The bassist said, “We’re the new grunge.” They certainly were. Their second song was basically the first song again, but on shuffle. The jocks continued dancing. At one point, a girl played air guitar, and her friend took what seemed like 5 minutes to take a photo of her, and then she acted surprised. You were posing the entire time!

They veered into mid-90’s pop-punk (think Lit) on the third song, and I know pop-punk is going to come back, but sweet lord, I don’t want it to come back. This is the point when I feel like they’ve been onstage for an eternity and realize only TEN FUCKING MINUTES HAVE PASSED.

wild hearses

For a band with a uniform, these guys sure lack a concept beyond “Franz Ferdinand are big, right?” Their sound is Franz Ferdinand with the vocal stylings of a Collective Soul or The Flys. That’s what’s wrong with Canadian music: what was big 5 years ago plus what was big 10 years ago and hey, repetition works for Saturday Night Live skits, right? Are audiences just like “OH! A band! I can’t do that”?

flanger

They ended their set with a raging flanger solo, by which I mean the guitarist turned on a flanger pedal, which is the effect Lenny Kravitz uses in Are You Gonna Go My Way that makes his guitar sort of sound like a plane.

SUMO CYCO

These guys look like a punk band in an ’80s movie that John Candy has to reason with or they’ll beat him up. Punk has come full circle from “joke in an ’80s movie” to “lifestyle based on a joke in an ’80s movie”.

sumo cyco

Why are so many bands trying to make “sex metal” a thing despite the obvious lack of popular sex metal bands? Why was the sexy nurse lead singer doing Ashley MacIsaac dancing? Why does the bar Cherry Cola, in Toronto in 2013, HAVE A GO GO DANCER? I’m all for women making art and embracing their sexuality and I don’t want to be a sexist guy who tells women what to do, but why is “I’ll also be a stripper” an instinct for singers? Wait, is the singer for this band Skye Sweetnam?!? I was literally harming myself stifling facial expressions.

skye sweetnam

Saying this makes me feel like an utter misogynist, but literally, it’s like Skye Sweetnam was torn between being a stripper or being Gwen Stefani as career options and then one day thought, “Oh, I’ll just do BOTH.” Also, the bass player looks just like Shifty from Crazy Town, but circa Celebrity Rehab. Aim high, brother!

Their formula for choruses: Skye Sweetnam sings a line, the guitarist quasi-raps it. Anyone who likes this music is wrong to like it. And even though this band is metalcore, my comments about punk still stand. I bet this band has arguments about feminism where nobody, even Skye Sweetnam, defends feminism, at least once per practice. Again, I’m not going to tell women what to do, but I can discourage men from enjoying things that make us misogynists.

misogynist

They kept almost rapping: is almost rapping how rap metal dealt with the backlash? The crowd loved it, and if this band gets popular, the suburbs are going to get so much worse. Is this what divorce does to kids? Sidenote: dudes, wallets don’t go in the front pocket of your jeans. I’ll do a special column about that later.

Sweetnam’s moves were crazy choreographed, and I felt cheated: who is she fooling? Oh, right, dumb teenagers. Sorry, teenagers. She’s up on stage, yelling “Open your eyes”, but fifteen feet away from the stage is a GO GO DANCER, IN TORONTO, IN THE YEAR 2013.

Do people know what the word “authority” means? Or are they just against it? Is there a special Toronto sexism that results in go go dancers and the Bovine Sex Club?

When a band is too slick, I wonder what their day to day life looks like. No wonder they think life is a boring prison! They’re just playing instruments all day! They aren’t living! They don’t know that knowing the staff at your local grocery store makes everybody feel like a human being.

iphone

Even though this band was garbage, PUT YOUR IPHONES DOWN, ANIMALS.

EPIC RAIN

My first thought was, “There is a guy dressed as a mime here. Is he in the band? This could get very weird.” And then I thought, “You know, it’s got to be tough being the guy who plays laptop.” But it was the worst rapping I’ve ever heard that snapped me back to reality. I wasn’t sure if it was the Icelandic accent, which, let’s be fair, does not lend itself to rapping, but bad rapping is just bad rapping. Think the phrase “Icelandic hip hop” and then disappoint yourself a little, and there you have it.

epic rain

The crowd clapped for “We are from Reykjavik, Iceland” and then they rapped about being from Reykjavik. That was it: that’s where all of Iceland’s stupid money is going. For the record, the mime did not mime his flows, and he was the worse of the 2 rappers in the group. An aging Mod started to free dance and in my notebook I wrote, “black people must hate white people.” And so much whispering! Whispering isn’t a chorus, guys! Is the mime supposed to be the ODB of the group? Because he was immobile. Lethargic, even. The main rapper’s hand had more moves.

The mime did have moves: he handed out bubbles to the crowd. They clapped for the bubbles. What were they getting out of this? Being into Iceland, I suppose.

I heard the phrase “breaking laws” and the neutrality of that phrase alone tells me there’s no crime in Iceland, because they couldn’t name one of the laws they were going to break. Do you think that they plan a crime spree by looking up laws in Iceland? Probably. Meanwhile, the crowd had started clapping to what I can only describe as a non-beat. Why? I can tell you this: Icelandic hip hop is the soundtrack to not sweating. This music sounds like plain yogurt. Like stretching but not exercising. This music is for taking a bunch of Alprazolam and lying down. I didn’t think boring could be this boring, and I’ve listened to Mezzanine by Massive Attack.

mezzanine

Here’s some advice for any performer: berating the soundguy in the middle of your set is the worst thing you can do. Why would you do that? So the audience knows you’re a prickjob? Then the frontman pulled out a pair of binoculars, but it didn’t matter. I had no idea what he was saying and I didn’t care. The mime handed out umbrellas, but his energy and conviction had yet to go higher than maybe 2 out of 10. The crowd was basically in a deep standing coma because they hadn’t clapped in 7 minutes and that’s all they had: clapping to this band. Icelanders are rich, right? I don’t feel bad that these bozos paid airfare to be clapped to by 16 people.

The laptop guy seemed like he’d rather be doing something else. Like playing laptop in a boring Icelandic version of the Prodigy. Wait, that’s Bjork! You’re out of luck, laptop guy. And why were so many of their choruses just whispering? If you’re an aspiring bad rapper, here’s your one shot at making it: no whisper choruses. Also, steer clear of waltz time.

waltz

Here’s the thing about the mime: if you’re going to hire a hype man, they should have energy. Not a costume that reminds people of being annoyed. That’s like admitting to people that you’re trying to distract them. And I was already distracted by the bad rapping: “I vanted something string so I could kill my thirst/The drugs go sidevays and the highvay is cursed/blah blah DUST/blah blah RUST/blah blah blah blah blah blah LUST”- I could have forgiven rapping in Icelandic!

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]