Thursday, 17 June 2010

NXNE Day 1: Karen Elson

Firstly, I feel like I should apologize for my lack of entries lately! Life has been crazy... and I'm planning on doing a redesign, so blogging wasn't really the first thing on my mind. Sorry 'bout that!

So, yesterday was the first day of the North by North East music festival here in Toronto. I decided not to get a wristband this year, but there's still a few shows that I wanted to check out. My friend Chrisy is in town from Ottawa for the week, and she happened to have an extra ticket to last night's show, Karen Elson at the El Mocambo. First thing to note... it was my first time taking my new Canon point-and-shoot camera for a spin on the concert scene - and it was returned today, if that's any indication on how it performed. I'm not at all pleased with these shots.

Anyway, back to Karen Elson. Before being invited to the show, I hadn't heard of her at all. However, she is well known as an internationally renowned supermodel, and as wife of Jack White, of the White Stripes. Thankfully, I had listened to a couple of her songs before I knew all of that information, because though I realize it may be a draw for some, for me, it would actually be a bit of a downer for me. I'm not a fan of piggybacking on other work.

But as it turns out, she is actually a really talented singer-songwriter. It came across in her recorded tracks that I had listened to, as well as in last night's show. She has a beautiful voice. She is stunning and captivating to watch. And her band is made up of incredibly talented musicians as well.

That being said, you can tell that it is a very polished act. Not like a typical singer-songwriter who is releasing her debut cd. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just something I was aware of. The band was all dressed really nice (3-piece suits, dresses). They were all playing super expensive gear. They had a roadie who was also dressed in a 3-piece suit! Hah. Maybe it's just me, but I think there's something to be said to get to that level of success.

In any case, she was very sweet and gracious. She didn't expect the applause after every song, and seemed very genuinely grateful. I definitely appreciate that. Also, at the end of the show, when we were walking back to the car, even though she was in a rush, she paused to take a photo with my friend Chrisy. Bonus points for her.

Also worth mentioning is the opening band, San Sebastian. The sound was COMPLETELY different to Karen's alt-country vibe. They were more straight ahead rock with a bit of pop infused... and very catchy hooks. I enjoyed it!

A couple more photos, including the bizarre note that was left on my car, over at my flickr page.

Tonight - the show I have been looking forward to most. It is my dream show, with some of my favourite musicians. The Outlaws & Gunslingers show at Lee's Palace. Featuring: Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo), Danny Michel, Andy Kim (you guys know how many times I've blogged about all three of these guys! Honestly... I'm dying here!!) and other talented performers: Hawksley Workman, Joel Stewart (who I've actually worked with in the past!), The Beauties, Justin Rutledge, Royal Wood, Oh Susanna, Amelia Curran, and more! I can't wait.
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