NXNE: Staff Picks

June 12, 2012 Written by Melody Lau No comments
NXNE: Staff Picks


NXNE is probably The Singing Lamb’s favourite music festival. The free shows, the sunny weather, heck, this year NXNE is even offering free yoga classes to wristband holders, musicians and volunteers! Exercise and rock ‘n’ roll — these guys know how to take care of us.

If you’re still planning out your week, here’s a quick list of the top five bands we’re looking forward to seeing and what our favourite part of NXNE is!

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From Orchestra to Auto-Tune: The Sound and Meaning of Popular Music in 2012

June 11, 2012 Written by Guest Contributor No comments

When looking back at the last 60+ years of popular music, it becomes apparent that the trends, techniques, and genres that defined each decade were largely dependent upon the technology available at the time. From the electric guitar to the invention and re-appropriation of auto-tune, technology has always been a defining feature of how popular music is made and what music becomes popular.

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Overheard at Shows

June 5, 2012 Written by Melody Lau No comments

One Direction @ Molson Amphitheatre

Girl 1: “I’d never go to her concert.”
Girl 2: “Would you see her if she opened for Justin Bieber?”
Girl 1: “I’d go late so I can hear that one song. That’s it.”
(Two girls discussing Carly Rae Jepsen)

Guy from One Direction: “We were at Niagara Falls yesterday!”

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Tips: How to Navigate NXNE

May 31, 2012 Written by Melody Lau No comments
Tips: How to Navigate NXNE

Festivals are always a challenge. There are many things to keep in mind like how to successfully venue hop or remembering to eat but we here at The Singing Lamb have collected a solid list of tips from our years of covering North By Northeast. This is a re-post of an old post we had on the previous site but with a few changes. Hopefully you can learn from our mistakes; see you out and about in a few weeks!

Heatstrokes and sunburns aren’t so cute when trying to attract the indie boys and girls.
Yonge-Dundas Square is undoubtedly one of the hot spots during NXNE…literally. Having spent my entire day there a few years ago, I began to sweat uncontrollably 10 minutes into the first band’s set. For fear of sunburns, heatstrokes or god forbid, a cute boy I liked seeing me drenched in not-so-sexy sweat, ducking into the Eaton Centre or Toronto Life Centre became an hourly pit stop for cooling off, smoothies and a general escape from the madness. Oh, and that cute boy? I don’t think he noticed the sweat…

Bring your phone charger with you.
Waiting to hear from ‘sources’ about the secret guest at the El Mocambo or Bovine Sex Club? Oh, don’t worry he/she will text me the guests in a few min…NO, MY PHONE! THE BATTERY’S DEAD! AH! Bring your charger. It’s an extra item to pack but it’s probably going to be one of the most valuable. Find an outlet to charge even if it’s a couple of minutes during a coffee break or quick dinner with friends. You need your phone for everything from checking Twitter and Facebook to finding friends in crowds, or even in my case offering up free fries in the middle of the night to hungry NXNE-ers. (Someone actually did run over immediately after receiving that text so yes, that actually works)

Zero dollars, handfuls of beer and burgers.
Although I missed out on all the daytime BBQ action last year, many others I knew fully took advantage of these sunny get-togethers at various rooftops and other locations for some free music and more importantly free food. I am staring at my paid food in disgust right now and every time I take out a bill for a beer, a little part of me dies.

Comfortable shoes.
A given. But also, sandals aren’t smart. Unless you like your feet covered in beer or being stomped over countless times. In which case, why didn’t you just go barefoot?

Travel in groups.
Saves you on the cab fare. And they’re especially a great ally if you suck with directions and/or are not from Toronto.

Travel alone.
You don’t have to constantly worry about another person and how slow they walk. You need to get to that show, damnit – stop window shopping! No, we don’t have time for street meat! No, that’s not a little lost puppy about to get hit by a car! Let’s go!! That puppy will survive!!!

Beware of the MMVAs.
Want to get to a venue on Queen Street on a Saturday night? Good luck. Every year, a good chunk of the street gets blocked off just for all the Justin Bieber fans waiting to get a glimpse of his swaggy-ness. Plan back-up routes or prepare to take a cab to avoid the madness.

Keep an open mind.
Some of my favourite shows this year ended up being ones I didn’t expect to like/care about. This just teaches you to approach festivals with an open mind. You never know when you’ll see your new favourite band!

The Raw Material of the Music Industry

May 24, 2012 Written by Guest Contributor No comments

“The single” has existed as long as popular music and in many ways, has defined how popular music is listened to, distributed and… popularized. It’s the entity that all aspects of popular music are based. The success of touring, merchandising, and album sales are all dependent on the single, the raw material of the music industry. Even after the maiming the music industry has undergone in the past decade, the promotion of popular music still heavily relies on the traditional ‘single’ format.

So why have we held onto this odd custom when downloading, leaking, social media-ing and viral marketing seem to have ousted former methods of “getting your music out there”? What is the significance of the single in 2012? Is it effective? Is it a burden? Is it ironic? Will the single evolve, or is it simply just the best way for a band to make a first impression?

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Overheard at Shows

May 23, 2012 Written by Melody Lau No comments

Smith Westerns @ Horseshoe:

(A guy, on the phone with a friend, discussing what we can only assume is drugs)
“If I have enough of these, will I turn into a crouton?”

(Referring to the band)
Girl: “I hope they buy us drinks.”

(Waiting in line)
Girl: “Ughh, I’m getting tired and sober!”

Gotye @ Kool Haus

(Referring to the opening act, Kimbra)
“Whoa, she’s hot! She’s hot! And she’s old, too!”

Girl: “Do you know how long it took me to figure out what boots to wear tonight?”

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