by Nash Bussieres

On the Friday of NXNE I parked myself at the Exclaim! showcase at Lee’s Palace for the entirely of the night. Having previously actually heard of three of the five bands playing, this was one of the only showcases where I thought I knew what I would be getting myself into. This was only half right.

Army Girls always impresses me. There’s a lot more going on in their music than casual observation would reveal. The guitar runs and progressions are surprisingly intricate at times. While they’re never shred heavy or anything like that the musical nuances don’t go unappreciated. Lee’s was already fairly full nearly an hour before they even started, which is impressive for any opener at NXNE, even moreso when that band is local and has the same timeslot as St. Vincent. Their lucid rock jams did an excellent job of starting the eclectic night off.

Zorch is possibly the MOST experimental band. They played under a large umbrella strung up with lights and multi coloured, neon string hanging everywhere. I was really excited to see them because I was curious as to how their drum and synth (and reverb) sound would play live. I was completely transfixed by the wall of sound and everyone else seemed to be as well. They did a medley of extremely loose Beatles covers (I think? They never explicitly mentioned who they were doing a medley of but I swear I heard Sgt. Pepper’s) that was completely bewildering.

I expected nothing less.

Golden Teacher kept the freak train rolling with their infectious old school dance and tribal beats. I had never heard of them prior and I wasn’t sure what to expect. People were going NUTS for them though. An excellent performance in the sense that it gave the people who wanted to dance ample opportunity to do so and those of us running on empty a powerful sonic experience to just get lost in.

Goat was the other band along with Golden Teacher that I had no previous knowledge of. They came out donning a set of mismatched costumes. Not entirely my cup of tea to be honest. It devolved into a sort of hard rock jam band thing by the end of their set and the repetition became a bit tiresome. That said the vocalists were absolutely insane. All the band members were actually really great musicians from what I could tell, I just wasn’t feeling it that night.

Pissed Jeans was the band I was most excited to see that night. I  really got into them and other chaotic bands like them when I was starting college and it’s definitely grown into one of my favourite genres. I’ve never had a chance to see them live and shows of this nature are few and far between so I was chomping at the bit all night for them to come on. It took about 15 seconds into their first spastic, noise anthem for the frontman to strip down to his skivvies, and the energy only got more intense from there on in. A respectable mosh pit ensued and I’m pretty sure whoever kneed me in the face gave me a legit concussion. I had to leave the venue early so I missed the end of the show but it was a hell of a ride while it lasted.