NXNE 2011: Rusty @ The El Mocambo by Laurie McGregor

FRIDAY - If you were a fan of Rusty in the mid-late nineties and you were not at Saturday night’s reunion show at The El Mocambo, you should be kicking yourself for missing out on one of the best shows of this years NXNE festival. It was everything you could ask for to transport you back to your early years, when you were young and carefree and going to shows was one of the most important things in your life. When you still had the kind of abandon to completely lose your shit at a show, and turn into a screaming, crazy fool. It was packed to the tits. It was incredibly hot and sweaty. There was stagediving and moshing and set-list scheming and some sweet pairs of Converse One Stars.

Rusty’s lead singer Ken MacNeil may have gotten rid of his (really amazing) dreads from back in the day, but nothing much else seems to have changed in the 11 years since they called it quits. They sounded just as fantastic as I remembered them from the countless shows I went to throughout high school. Joking that they were about to start a set entirely of new material, the band launched into one of their biggest hits, "Groovy Dead", and continued to play just about every song any fan would want to hear. The four guys were so enthusiastic and appreciative of the totally insane crowd that was screaming along to absolutely every word of every single song. It was so loud from the audience that at times I couldn’t even hear what MacNeil was singing – but that didn’t matter, since we all knew the words to all of our old favourite songs anyway.

I left the show drenched in sweat and covered in other people’s thrown beer and absolutely bursting with excitement. Its three days later now, and I’m still having a hard time articulating how amazing this show was without busting into: “OMG THAT WAS THE BEST SHOW EVER AND IT WAS SO SWEATY AND AMAZING AND KEN TALKED TO ME AND TOUCHED ME AND I STOLE THE SET LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It’s rare that a concert these days can even get me close to the front of the stage, but Rusty’s show reminded me what it’s like to completely lose yourself in an experience and not give a fuck what anyone else thinks. It’s fun. And I’m going to do it more often from now on.

(Oh, and Ken? If you’re reading this – thank you. And I’m sorry for nicking your set list in the middle of the show. I wanted to wait until the end, but the guy beside me was getting really, really grabby and I didn’t want him to get his dirty paws on it. Thanks for being so awesome about it, and remembering your promise to give it back after the show. You made my night.)

Photos by Laurie McGregor

More of our coverage of NXNE 2011 here.

Laurie McGregor is a Toronto-based dilettante. She is the co-founder of The Holy Oak Book Club, a sort-of monthly reading series in Toronto, and seating engineer and curator for Trampoline Hall, a very excellent monthly lecture series. She likes books, soft things, baking, unicorns, robots and has an unnatural love of vending machines. You can find her posts here and email her at laurie@littleredumbrella.com.


Rebekah said...

If I'm really really good, will you let me look at (I won't touch it, I swear!) the setlist, maybe? Just once?

Laurie said...

But of course! It's now a bit tattered and torn and has the imprint from Ken's shoe on it. Which makes it so-so much better!

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