Oh, NXNE, how we love to hate you. In half a week you turn this town into shitstorm of rock ‘n’ roll energy, with your blackouts and long line-ups and armies of kids drunkenly biking from set-to-set. Sure, your tricky schedule makes it impossible to see everything good (especially when you stack Iggy and Stooges up against those genial slack-rockers Pavement playing separate of NXNE just across the Harbour), but it’s the run-around that makes you so darn charming. That and the way you open your lavishly tattooed arms to welcome scads of alternative press types, photobloggers, and scenester royalty. Oh, and your impressive lineup.
Really, it’s the little things that make NXNE such a treat. Stuff like bringing Exene Cervenka to town so we can spot her shopping for used vinyl. Stuff like seeing Fred Penner kicking around NXNE headquarters on King Street (the Word Bird, however, was missing in action). It’s the way your hordes of easily-identifiable volunteers try really hard, even though sometimes it’s obvious they have no idea what they’re doing.
It’s the way rumours of secret shows spread around town like wildfire, and the way every venue being massively, fire code–breakingly overcrowded somehow makes it seem more intimate. It’s the way you add insightful conferences and an under-attended film festival to the mix, just for variety.
Oh and it’s the way you keep bars open ‘til 4 a.m., thanks a lot for that. (Protip: to nip an NXNE-sized hangover in the bud, try gin Caesars. It’s like a Caesar, except with gin. The heat of the Tabasco and celery salt takes the edge off the liquor entirely, and you can drink them all day, until you’re ready and rarin’ to go. Plus, Clamato is full of essential sodium and clam by-products. And gin is full of essential, uh, rosehips and orris root.) So yes, let’s all raise an extra spicy double gin Caesar to NXNE: it’s logistically nightmarish, it’s not as good as SXSW, but darn it, it’s ours.
See ya next year, fella. Maybe by then people outside of Tranna will give a damn about you.