I found myself anxiously waiting for Royal Wood's (who has this super sexy Don Draper look going on... rowr!) turn to come around. His songs definitely grab me. I was thrilled to hear the set end with his new single, On Top Of Your Love (check out the video linked. It's beautiful).
Amelia Curran was okay. She admitted to being a little bit nervous, due to only having a few rehearsals with the boys, and I think it came across a little. Still, I did enjoy her songs, and I would like to go see her in a solo show of her own.
Andy Maize, I'm sure, is the most popular among the rest of the crowd, as he is the singer of The Skydiggers... but somehow, they were a band that kind of flew under the radar for me, and I never really got into them. I did enjoy him though - especially the song "Where's My Baby Tonight" (which, I apologize, I don't know if it's a solo song, or a Skydiggers song). Beautiful song.
The next set was probably the most anticipated set amongst the crowd - Jim Cuddy, Hawksley Workman and Colleen Brown. So anticipated, in fact, that I ended up smushed right up against the front of the stage, so I didn't really have the best angle for photos during this set. I had never really heard of Colleen Brown before, but she was great.
I used to be a big Hawksley fan, but I think I somehow fell out of touch with his music after the release of Lover/Fighter in 2003... but I really love everything that he played! Especially his most recent single - "Warhol's Portrait Of Gretzky" ... but I think I liked that the most, because I got to hear Jim Cuddy sing the words "Pretty F***ing Sexy" ... which was pretty sexy in itself! Jim Cuddy is probably one of my favourite musicians ever, and he's got such a squeaky clean image and such romantic lyrics... it definitely made me smile to hear him sing this song with Hawksley.
This set is probably tied with the Danny Michel set as my favourites of the evening.
The midnight set was brought to us by Dakota Tavern favourites, The Beauties. Always a highly entertaining band to see live, they brought it out in full form for NXNE yet again. Some hilarious mishaps with a broken bass drum petal brought some fun improvisational and sing-along moments with the crowd... but my absolute favourite part of this set was when the ONE person who I thought was missing from this lineup came out to join on a song.
Serena Ryder snuck out from the wings of the Lee's Palace stage to sing backup on my favourite song by The Beauties - Hearts Are Down. It totally made my night to see her up there, and she looked like she was having so much fun, too!
Finally, the end of the evening in the 1am timeslot, brought out my friend Joel Stewart and his band, The Future Hall Of Famers (who seemingly have no web presence whatsoever to link to...). I worked with Joel back on the CCMA's in 2007 - and at that time, I got to see him perform live at one of many parties we attended, and thought he was brilliant. Also, at that same time, he introduced me to what would soon become one of my favourite bands - The Hold Steady. So it was pretty awesome for me when he closed the set, joined by Andy Maize and Shawn Creamer of the Beauties, singing an AMAZING rendition of Almost Killed Me. It was the perfect end to an all around perfect night of music! A night that I won't forget for a very long time, for sure.
Lots more pictures are right this way... and if you're interested in hearing/reading more about this night, check out THIS blog entry by a newfound friend! It's pretty awesome!