Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 13–19 this year, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.
Logan Kroeber and Meric Long: the last two Dodos on Earth. Photo courtesy of Canvas Media.
Unlike the bird they’re named after, the San Francisco guitar/drums duo of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber, a.k.a. the Dodos, have learned how to evolve successfully. After self-producing their percussion-heavy debut album, Beware of the Maniacs, in 2006 (then as Dodo Bird), they signed with a label and added more layers for 2007′s follow-up, Visiter, as well as another touring bandmate to add more instruments to the mix, including a xylophone and a toy piano. Their next project, Time to Die, which featured another new addition, the electric vibraphone, was met with lukewarm reviews from critics.
Since then, they’ve significantly scaled back on the vibraphone and replaced it with the backup vocals of Neko Case. The result is No Colour, released this March, which Long and Kroeber are promoting with this tour, and it seems to be a winning survival-of-the-fittest formula. We’re excited to hear them return to their more stripped-down style of upbeat (heavy on the beat) indie/folk/pop, which is apparent not only in Kroeber’s drums (and the tambourine on his foot) but in Long’s finger plucking and vocals too.
Torontoist: Tell us why we should see you at NXNE, in 10 words or less.
Logan Kroeber: Because it’s the last show of our tour and we’re going to give it our all… I think that’s more than 10 words.
What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?
I don’t know if I have one yet; we’ve gone from one place to another so far. We haven’t played one spot twice yet. But there is a place that we saw a band at, a show we didn’t play. It had, like, a nautical theme—it looked like a boat.
That was probably the Boat.
Oh yeah, the Boat (laughs). I would like to play there sometime. I liked the décor, I liked the neighbourhood, how it’s a little bit off of the beaten Spadina path.
Does the Northeast beat the Southwest, and why?
Well, I’ve yet to experience North by Northeast, but we had a pretty epic South By Southwest, so it’s gonna have to come through pretty hard. But we’re expecting to have a pretty fantastic time. I have a cousin in Toronto, and our new guitarist has a lot of friends in Toronto because he’s Canadian. But SXSW was kind of like the beginning of our touring cycle this year. It was like a shining beacon in the night.
Who’s going to be the breakout act of NXNE this year?
I actually haven’t had a chance to see the lineup yet. I do know that Deerhoof is playing with us, which I’m pretty excited about. But they’re already pretty well-known—they’re not ready to “break out,” as you say. Oh, the Luyas are playing. According to your criteria, they’re my pick. That’s them.
What’s up next for the band?
After Toronto we play one more show in San Francisco with Neko Case, then we go on break for the summer. I’m really looking forward to that… I’ve got a bunch of family stuff, reunion-type things—a lot of barbecues and talking to people I haven’t seen in years. Then we’ve got another tour booked for the fall, playing all the places we didn’t play in America this year.
Any last words?
Don’t be like me. If you come to the show you’ll understand. If you want to see the freak, come to the show.
Or, I could just say, “Go Mavs.”
NXNE-goers can flock to see the Dodos, together with Deerhoof, at the Phoenix Concert Theatre (410 Sherbourne Street) on June 16 at 9 p.m. Click here for NXNE pass and wristband pricing options. Individual tickets are available for $22.60 from Soundscapes.