I must admit, I’m not as big into NXNE as I used to be. I just don’t have the stamina anymore to stay up till 3 am 3-4 nights in a row, running from venue to venue in search of heavy music. These days, I only do NXNE when there’s someone I really wanna see…and this year, that band got denied at the border. OK, so I figured that Pentagram gig was doomed from the start, but OM turned out to be a pretty decent consolation prize. Even in less-than-ideal sound conditions (The Opera House makes me a sad panda), the duo of Al Cisneros and Emil Amos still sounds pretty tight, with added flourishes contributed by semi-official third member Robert Lowe…no, not that one.
Meanwhile, the Melvins show Monday at Danforth Music Hall showed what happens when you take a band out of the Opera House. The past couple times they’ve played Toronto were at the east-end eyesore, but this time ’round, the clear, crisp sound of the Greektown theatre only served to accentuate a solid set by the veteran sludge stalwarts. Bonus points for the art prints dissing Dave Grohl and that Kurt Cobain doc–I couldn’t imagine putting them up on my wall, but they were good for a chuckle or two.
Speaking of sludge stalwarts…Crowbar was just here in October of last year, but I certainly didn’t mind them making a return visit. The band that made short-wearing group shots cool tends to keep it simple on stage, letting the riffs do the mourning. And while I could hardly make out a word Kirk was saying–even when he was talking to the crowd–the man still brings it behind the mic. You can almost taste his pain, washed down with a whole buncha Budweiser.