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Home » Festivals, The Scene

The Balconies get classical at Cameron House for NXNE

Submitted by on June 14, 2012 – 11:27 amNo Comment

The Corner of Queen West and Spadina in Toronto was packed with smokers and rockers taking in a double dose of beers and sets.

The Cameron House was the first venue to be ventured by Martyr on the opening night of North By Northeast’s vast musical line-up, where there was a choice of two bands to be taken in from the front or the back of the rock tavern.

A siren sample of Audio Blood Media’s finest artists from Toronto and Montreal draped the back room on a sombre yet classy darkened stage, where onlookers peered both seated and standing in the packed hall.

The set opened with Gavin Slate, the hopeless romantic folk singer from Toronto, with the eyes of a child and the soul of Nashville, warmed the crowd up quite nicely.

Then the set was stoked with Revelstoke, AKA Andrew Seale who takes an independent hand at a full-piece band with his Boss Loop-Station and his series of stringed delights from mandolin, to guitar and banjo.

The prize set was a chance on both sides at a first for the audience and Toronto’s own Balconies, who switched up their tune with a classical set of strings, with Liam on acoustic, Jacquie on violin, and Steve and the stand-up for their first time ever playing the Cameron House.“It is chaotic and exciting in here tonight, pure awesome,” said Jacquie Neville, lead of the Balconies.

“This is our first time ever playing in the Cameron House. I love this bar so much and have seen so many amazing shows here.”

Neither Neville or the Balconies are strangers to the NXNE festival though, as they’ve been coming back for more for the past handful of years. Neville explains that this year they decided to give the audience a rendition in classic form of traditional Balconies tunes.“We decided to strip our set list down to the core and give them a taste of our songs classically rendered, and show our variation in instrumentation.”

This was an interesting side of the group to see, considering it showed their classically trained hand all received from the University of Ottawa before they brought their talented fingers here to Toronto for our listening pleasure.

The front of the House was rocked by the musical rock sound waves of Dodge Fiasco, which never fails to get a crowd of ladies swaying their hips and gentlemen spilling beers over themselves with upbeat tunes and peircing vocals that resonated accross Queen Street. The night ended on a darker side, with three members of Toronto’s Hands & Teeth divided to perform a little bit of their own material, showing where the plethora of musical inspiration comes in diversely in the group.

Jeff Pinto went on just after Midnight, closer to 1 a.m., showing his multi-talented musical endeavour and vocal appeal, with a deeper, more eclectic side of his writing style.

This was followed up by the duality of Kevin Black and Derek Monson, using their vocal harmonies and synchronized sonic sounds. Monson says that to them, NXNE is a chance to not only platform great music, but to spend time with the rest of the industry family.

“The beauty of NXNE is being able to spend some quality time with some of your friends in the industry,” said Monson.

“We’ve got a busy week ahead of us, but couldn’t be more excited to be playing with so many great bands in so many unique locations.”

Stay tuned as Martyr will be gallivanting across the city through Sunday to capture a cluster of class-acts permeating the Toronto scene for NXNE this year. It’s tough with 780 bands playing and about 25 venues scattered about. But hey, we do our best.

Story and photos by Devin Size

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