Peeling the sleeping mask off my eyes, I look out the window – the sun is blazing and my head is pounding. It’s sometime in the afternoon, I’m sure, and I haven’t got long until it’s time to head over to Yonge & Dundas Square to see Diamond Rings.
I slip on a tie dye body con dress, my trusty army jacket, some platforms and fix my face with makeup that’s somewhere between last night’s party and a fresh application. I’m good to go.
Diamond Rings is the one-man electro-glam-pop show performed by John O, a native of Toronto’s suburbs. I first heard of him while still living in London when my friend DJ Huggs sent me a link to one of his music videos. Since then, my obsession with Diamond Rings has grown almost as quickly as his career, and I feel a bit like a proud mum while standing in the crowd of the square, cheering him on.
As the Diamond Rings set comes to an end, I peer over my shoulder and find Richie perched in a corner of the beer garden. We’ve got an hour until the Stars hit the stage so we head off on a mission to find some good ol’ cheap chow. Once returned we watch their set from backstage, and the square is overflowing with people. Nights like this make me feel really proud to be from Toronto. We are so lucky to live in a city that provides so many incredible free events that are open to absolutely everyone. Better yet, Torontonians actually take advantage and provide impressive turnouts. Well done.
Stars are great. They sound amazing, white rose petals are being thrown into the night, the seizure-inducing lights of the square are sparkling and the crowd is loving it. Backstage, I run into my friend Juice, aka Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other so we chat and catch up before I tell him we’re heading off soon to see Slavedriver. Peering at me with a quizzical look, he bursts out laughing and says, “do you mean SWERVEDRIVER!?” I can feel the heat rise in my cheeks. Listen guys, this is what happens when you talk to a girl who is nearly twenty years younger than you, about a band that was cool when I could barely walk, ok?
Anyways, on to Swervedriver at The Great Hall. Pretty cool, but I’m more interested in catching Ty Segall’s set at Wrongbar as he topped almost all of the NOW critics guide list as their number one, 1am show. I’ve got fifteen minutes to run in heels from Dovercourt to Brock Street, I’m outta here.
Wrongbar is insanely rammed, I get in just as they go on, and all I can say is, from what I hear, I’m in love. Despite my platforms I still can’t see a thing so I push my way past people and climb onto the couch for a better view. This band is nuts, the crowd is going insane, my heart is pounding and I’m already writing out Dear Ty Segall love letters in my head. WOW, definitely my favourite show of NXNE 2011 thus far.
The next set that’s at the top of my list tonight is Jimmy Edgar at the Drake Underground. He’s on at 2am and it’s 1:45 – what to do? Not wanting to get stuck in a bad lineup/over capacity situation I decide to cut Ty Segall short and walk over. Bad decision, it’s empty – I’m hugely disappointed and kicking myself for leaving the last gig early. I decide to stroll over to Watusi to check out my friend DJ Fathom’s party and end my night with friends and a another vodka soda or two. What a whirlwind.