NXNE 2012: On A Rooftop Above Kensington With Hands & Teeth, Modernboys Moderngirls and Little Foot Long Foot

SATURDAY - "This is the highest stage we've ever played on." That, of course, was pretty easily to believe. Jeff Pinto and the rest of Hands & Teeth were getting ready for their set high above the backyards of Kensington Market, drums and speakers and keyboards balanced on a rooftop. Above them, there was nothing but sky: the blazing sun and an occasional seagull or tiny, distant plane. Below them, on the rooftop patio, was the Slapback Media party: a growing crowd of people realizing that they were at one of the festival's craziest unofficial events.

Honheehonhee and Shellshag had kicked things off earlier in the afternoon, and then it was Hands & Teeth's turn to climb the ladder up onto the roof. Their warm harmonies and summertime melodies give the band an easy transition from sweaty clubs to sweaty rooftops. Songs off this year's Hunting Season record floated down to the happy crowd. They even – in a nod to the venue – covered The Beatles' "Dig A Pony" and "With A Little Help From My Friends".

It was Modernboys Moderngirls frontman Akira Alemany who had convinced his roommates to let him host a party on their roof. And his band were up the ladder next. They'd had a similar idea to Hands & Teeth's, but went with "Back In The USSR" instead – kind of a perfect fit for a retro-ish garage rock outfit playing on a roof while passenger planes leave thin jet trails across the sky. The four-piece roared through a set filled not just with songs from what's already a great back catalogue of tunes, but new tracks off the MBMG record that drops later this month, including the raw and catchy first single, "How Am I Gonna Get It?"

And then came Little Foot Long Foot. They immediately became one of our favourite discoveries of the festival. Armed with big-brimmed summer hats and a fear of heights made a bit worse by the breaking news of Radiohead's stage collapse, guitarist Joan Smith and organist Caitlin Dacey – backed by the thump of Isaac Klein's drums – ripped through a set of classic rock that must get them compared to The White Stripes all the freaking time. But their take on stripped down, country- and blues-flavoured rock 'n' roll is a thing of its own – made especially powerful by the wailing organ. On record, it makes a lot of sense that they've been produced by Ian Blurton, the godfather of Toronto's hard rock.

Finally, as the sun began to arch low over the rooftops, it was back down three or four flights of stairs, through an alley, and out into Kensington. The market was a Saturday afternoon swirl of people and colour; bubbles floating by from a nearby vintage shop. Back on solid ground. And time to find the next show.

MP3: "Sell Out While You Can" by Little Foot Long Foot
MP3: "My Baby Says Boy, Don't You Ever Leave Me" by Modernboys Moderngirls
MP3: "On The Line" by Modernboys Moderngirls
MP3: "Hunting Season" by Hands And Teeth 

Hands & Teeth

Modernboys Moderngirls

Little Foot Long Foot

Text and photos by Adam Bunch, except for the photo of the crowd taken from the rooftop stage, by Modernboys Moderngirls' Milan Schramek.

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.


Post a Comment