Friday, June 08, 2007

NXNE: Meeting SGT Solo

Day one of NXNE got off to a pretty late start for me. Headed down to the Holiday Inn to pick up my pass, the place was covered in abandoned swag as if people had just grabbed festival goodie bags and tipped them head over, dumping the reams of glossy crap all over the lobby and making off with the bag.

One interesting thing within was the lime green menace Sgt Solo, a small visual fuck of the classic children's army man toy. Instead of clutching a machine gun, the guy grips a guitar and the blurb at the bottom of the container goes;

"Plug in your weapon, turn up the power and fire away. Your limo is a Humvee and your ride is a Blackhawk. For over 50 years American stars have earned their stripes by performing for our country's greatest audience. Find out if you have what it takes to tour the world entertaining the troops with Armed Forces Entertainment."

You can insert your own anti-militarist rant in where ever you want, but I was left slightly in awe of this little fragment of the massive internal world of the US armed service. With recommendations running low I didn't have much energy to run around all over the place on the chance of finding something decent so remained in one venue for most of the night, that being Harlem where it was hip hop all night. With very small crowds performing that terrible circle in front of the stage, there were more free passes than not in sight with many people attending on their own for whatever reason.

Atherton were on first, something like a ska punk backing band hooked up to a hip hop MC, they're from Ottawa. Coming on heavy with the sardonic lyrical flow they nag about discovering empty bank accounts through that last ATM withdrawal, break ups and more. The energy they manage to drag up live really doesn't come across in their hollow sounding uploaded tracks on Myspace.

Wordburglar's a damn competent performer with enough panache to add movement to his words, and one of a whole army of Halifax hip hop artists in Toronto for the weekend. Unfortunately too much of his wit falls back on base homophobic innuendo that extracted the "ohhhhhhs" from a crowd mocked by this supposed daring. Don't even get me started on the price of beers in Harlem.

Photo nicked from the Wordburglar's Myspace.

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