#NXNE 2011 – Thursday Night at The Rivoli!

The Rivoli on Queen West – NXNE 2011

Last night I started my 2011 NXNE adventure with CBC Radio 2’s showcase at The Rivoli. I hadn’t paid enough attention to know that this was going to be a CBC sponsored show – but it was a nice bonus.

I walked into the back room at the bar and was waved through without getting my forearm Sharpie’d (maybe they thought I was in the band?) and took a seat near the bar. It didn’t take long for the room to start filling up.

The first act of the night comes from Montreal – and I dug them a bunch. If you have a chance check out Peter Alkas and the Alkas Band. The vocals and musicianship were fantastic. The whole band had stage presence with Mr. Alkas leading the way. His voice and music had a John Mayer kind of feel to it. But he seems to be about 75% less douchey. That of course is only an estimate because I don’t know the dude. In the end this is a band that I would love to see more of in the future.

As per North by Northeast tradition about a quarter of the room cleared out after the set and new people came in. @photojunkie sent me a text telling me that the venue was at capacity and he was waiting to get in. Luckily he did.

Up next on the stage, also from Montreal, was Bobby Bazini. He’s a tall, skinny, plaid shirt with 3 open buttons, 18 year old looking kid with an accent thicker than his waist line. But when the band starts playing the accent goes away and we get some folk/country/pop/rock tunes to listen to. His voice is raspy and lyrics make sense and given time I’m sure I would be singing along with him. A big part of me wishes he would just pick country music and go with it. His acoustic guitar sounds like it would love to play country songs and it would be cool to have a French Canadian in that scene.

The next act that CBC Radio 2 brought up on stage came from the white hot music scene of Winnipeg. Imaginary Cities stole the show for me last night. I had never heard of them coming into the show and they were great. Vocalist Marti Sarbit was full of energy and the tone of her voice was outstanding. I’m sure it helped that she was the only girl on stage for the show – but either way – she rocked it. An added bonus was the “aww shucks” attitude that the band gave off. They were generally touched by the fact that the crowd dug what they were doing. I loved to see some modesty on the stage.

The last act of my night was Toronto’s own Sweet Thing. This is the band that I was looking forward to. They had a hill to climb for redemption as the lead singer kinda forced his way into our personal space and stayed there most of the evening while the other bands were on stage. The room was noticeably less crowded for the Sweet Thing set – but still had energy. The stage theatrics may have been a little over the top for such a small stage and crowd. But I have to give the band some props for doing their thing regardless. The one thing I noticed right away was how close the live vocals sounded to the record. These guys aren’t a product of post-production magic. They get it done for real. The set closed with Change of Seasons which had me singing along. A good way to end my night.

Side note: K’naan (the Waving Flag guy) was about 10 feet way from us for the last hour and a half of the night. I wanted to be super ironic and ask him what it was like to work with Justin Bieber as a career highlight. But the girl told me it wouldn’t be as funny as I thought… so I didn’t.

All said and done The Rivoli hosted a good show last night. The Molson Stock Ale was cold and golden and music was hot.

I can’t wait to do it all again Friday and Saturday!

ps. thanks to PriceDodger.com for sponsoring my little music filled weekend.

creator of content, manager of community, writer, tweeter, coffee drinker. sports, comics, movies, food, music & pop culture geek. Proud MoBro.

2 comments on #NXNE 2011 – Thursday Night at The Rivoli!

  1. Haha, I was doing door. I might have thought you were in the band for some reason

  2. Joshua says:

    Hey, that’s cool – I’ll take it as a compliment to my shaggy hair and good looks!

Comments are closed.

#NXNE 2011 – Thursday Night at The Rivoli!

The Rivoli on Queen West – NXNE 2011

Last night I started my 2011 NXNE adventure with CBC Radio 2’s showcase at The Rivoli. I hadn’t paid enough attention to know that this was going to be a CBC sponsored show – but it was a nice bonus.

I walked into the back room at the bar and was waved through without getting my forearm Sharpie’d (maybe they thought I was in the band?) and took a seat near the bar. It didn’t take long for the room to start filling up.

The first act of the night comes from Montreal – and I dug them a bunch. If you have a chance check out Peter Alkas and the Alkas Band. The vocals and musicianship were fantastic. The whole band had stage presence with Mr. Alkas leading the way. His voice and music had a John Mayer kind of feel to it. But he seems to be about 75% less douchey. That of course is only an estimate because I don’t know the dude. In the end this is a band that I would love to see more of in the future.

As per North by Northeast tradition about a quarter of the room cleared out after the set and new people came in. @photojunkie sent me a text telling me that the venue was at capacity and he was waiting to get in. Luckily he did.

Up next on the stage, also from Montreal, was Bobby Bazini. He’s a tall, skinny, plaid shirt with 3 open buttons, 18 year old looking kid with an accent thicker than his waist line. But when the band starts playing the accent goes away and we get some folk/country/pop/rock tunes to listen to. His voice is raspy and lyrics make sense and given time I’m sure I would be singing along with him. A big part of me wishes he would just pick country music and go with it. His acoustic guitar sounds like it would love to play country songs and it would be cool to have a French Canadian in that scene.

The next act that CBC Radio 2 brought up on stage came from the white hot music scene of Winnipeg. Imaginary Cities stole the show for me last night. I had never heard of them coming into the show and they were great. Vocalist Marti Sarbit was full of energy and the tone of her voice was outstanding. I’m sure it helped that she was the only girl on stage for the show – but either way – she rocked it. An added bonus was the “aww shucks” attitude that the band gave off. They were generally touched by the fact that the crowd dug what they were doing. I loved to see some modesty on the stage.

The last act of my night was Toronto’s own Sweet Thing. This is the band that I was looking forward to. They had a hill to climb for redemption as the lead singer kinda forced his way into our personal space and stayed there most of the evening while the other bands were on stage. The room was noticeably less crowded for the Sweet Thing set – but still had energy. The stage theatrics may have been a little over the top for such a small stage and crowd. But I have to give the band some props for doing their thing regardless. The one thing I noticed right away was how close the live vocals sounded to the record. These guys aren’t a product of post-production magic. They get it done for real. The set closed with Change of Seasons which had me singing along. A good way to end my night.

Side note: K’naan (the Waving Flag guy) was about 10 feet way from us for the last hour and a half of the night. I wanted to be super ironic and ask him what it was like to work with Justin Bieber as a career highlight. But the girl told me it wouldn’t be as funny as I thought… so I didn’t.

All said and done The Rivoli hosted a good show last night. The Molson Stock Ale was cold and golden and music was hot.

I can’t wait to do it all again Friday and Saturday!

ps. thanks to PriceDodger.com for sponsoring my little music filled weekend.

Scroll to top