Who's Playing NXNE: Bent By Elephants
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Who’s Playing NXNE: Bent By Elephants

Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 13–19 this year, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.

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Bent By Elephants, once a six-piece, is now a band of seven. Hopefully the newest member brought a functional umbrella. Photo by Camille McOuat.


With the elephants at the Toronto Zoo moving out, a new crop is taking their place just in the nick of time. And, lucky for us, we like their trumpeting even more. Bent By Elephants formed, and are mostly based, in Montreal, but with their trombonist here, Toronto has become a second home for the seven-piece pop/jazz/folk ensemble.


With an applauded self-titled EP released in 2009 and an equally praised debut LP, This Is Water, in 2010, critics and fans alike are dumbfounded that they’re still flying more or less under the radar. Torontoist—being cultural clairvoyants and all—is predicting this won’t last for much longer.
Torontoist: Tell us why we should see you at NXNE, in 10 words or less.
Chesley Walsh (vocals/guitar): Amazing band and rhubarb strawberry pie. I’m making pie and giving it to people who come. I’m pretty well-known for my pie crust. Its really nice to have a piece of pie at a concert, I find.
What’s your favourite Toronto venue, and why?
It sounds a little cliché, but I really like playing at Sneaky Dee’s because they have great nachos. But, in general, there are a lot of great venues.
Does the Northeast beat the Southwest, and why?
Can I say that they’re tied? Is that okay? I guess I like the Northeast because I know the music scene and the community, and we’re a part of it. The Southwest I’m sure is pretty awesome, but I’m not a part of it, so I can’t really say. We’ve made our base up here. I prefer humid air to desert air, myself… I grew up in the desert, so I came to a place where I can get more moisture in the air.
Who’s going to be the breakout act of NXNE this year?
I’ve been hearing a lot of really good things about the Elwins—and this isn’t a plug—who are performing with us. I’ve only heard their stuff and never seen them live, but I’m really excited to. I’m hearing that they’re really fantastic.
What’s up next for the band?
We’re gonna be touring a bunch this summer, and in the fall quite a lot. We’re heading out west and then down to the States. And we’re doing a lot of sustainable agro events in August—like we’re playing the Montforte Dairy Farm in Stratford, Ontario, various things for The Stop, and larger cooperatives that are doing good stuff in terms of local growers and sustainable initiatives. Then, if all goes to plan, we’ll be releasing a new album in the winter.
Any last words?
I hope I get to see Deerhoof. And people should come have some pie!
Catch the band on June 18 at midnight at Bread and Circus (299 Augusta). Click here for NXNE pass and wristband pricing options.

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