NXNE 2012: Mozart's Sister In A Backyard Near Parkdale

SATURDAY - "Who ARE you?!" It was a particularly forward woman near the front who actually asked the question out loud, but it was hanging in the air. In the stunned silence after the first song. This was at one of the festival's unofficial underground events: a daytime BBQ in the small backyard of a house near Dundas & Dufferin. 218 Brock. From North By Northeast's sweltering Saturday afternoon well into the humid evening, a lonnnnnng list of artists played super-short sets, one quick on the heels of the other. Army Girls blazed through a few of their raucous rock songs. Blood Rexdale & The Walls Are Blonde sang their sweet, reverb-drenched melodies. Doldrums droned away with distortion. Carnivores delivered southern indie swamp rock. Then, as the sun began to set and the world was bathed in golden light, there came a woman with blonde hair and a dress slit up to her waist, balancing a small mixer on an ironing board. She twisted a few knobs, pressed a few buttons, and conjured glitchy dance beats from the machinery. She began to sing, and the audience — which had hummed with conversation during the previous sets — went quiet. Her voice, soaring and strong, soaked in effects and then not and then barely recognizable as a voice at all,  echoed out over the backyards. Eccentric, confident, bizarre, charming and sexy and poppy. Something like a lo-fi solo Allie Hughes.

I'm not sure I've ever seen an audience so awed.

"Seriously, though. Who ARE you?!" It was someone else who called out the second time. After the set had ended. This time, she gave a straight answer.

"I'm Mozart's Sister."

MP3: "Chained Together" by Mozart's Sister

Army Girls

Blood Rexdale & The Walls Are Blonde


Text and photos by Adam Bunch.

You'll find all of our NXNE coverage here.

Adam Bunch is the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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