Friday started off with a film, Journey of a Dream, at the Toronto Underground Cinema. I wanted to check out a movie, first of all, to see what the theater looked like, and second, wanted to rest my weary feet (which has been walking for miles and miles). I do like attending these films at festivals because often time, the director and/or movie makers involved, does a Q&A after the show (if you listen to Cristina and I talk about movies, you'll remember hearing me talking about all these directors that I've had the pleasure of seeing at these special screenings).
Just so you know, the director Shenpenn Khymsar was in attendance for this screening. He answered a few questions, and mentioned that there was also a second evening showing, which was sold-out (he seems really happy about that). Between you and me, I would rather attend the less crowded showing, which meant a more intimate one-on-one with the director.
The film had trouble focusing on its subject. Was it trying to be a vanity/personal story about Khysmar ? Was it trying to be a political "Free Tibet" film? Was it trying to document the Darjeeling music scene? Was it about his band, Avatara? There was even some point that had Lamb of God? What were they even doing in the film ?
Personally, I would've liked the film to be about Darjeeling music, I'm fascinated about before the internet and their interpretation of foreign (American) music. They can even parallel it to the Beatles and Rolling Stones, who took American rock music and turned it into their own version. Despite my complaints, it was a decent directorial debut.
Shenpenn Khymsar (right) with film editor Eliot Piltz (left)
We had some time to kill, so instead of taking the very late street car down College, we decided to just walk the way. Glad to have made that choice because we ended up walking through "A Taste of Italy". The name is misleading, there are a wide variety of food and music (not just Italian). The whole street was blocked off, so it was a nice walk. Loads of people came out. Before I knew it, we were already standing at the edge of The Mod Club.
Since I've already mentioned Art Brut's show, which was heaps of fun, I will talk about The Most Serene Republic, who played before Art Brut. They are from Milton, Ontario, and I was rather impressed with their nine-band members on stage! Complete with a horns section.
Although I've never heard of them, they seem to be well-loved by the locals. I suppose it's no surprise because they are signed to Arts & Crafts Records (who also signed my beloved Stars band).
They also seem to have been around a while, someone in the audience requested a song "from 2006", only to have them respond by saying they have a song "from 2003".
Wish I had more to say about them, see their setlist for more details on what songs were played.
The Most Serene Republic at Mod Club Theatre, Toronto (06/17/11)
Went over to Yonge/Dundas after Art Brut, only to discover that there was a billion people in the area to see Stars. You could not even see the stage! I had to watch them on a screen, and was really disappointed for not able to have caught them. They ended their set with "Calendar Girl".
So instead, we went over to Dum Dum Girls, another disappointment as it was completely packed and sold out. I'm gutted that they covered the Smiths' "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" at the show. Considering that they are from the States, and I'll catch them next time.
So we left early and ended up on the East side of town at C'est What to see Jo Williamson. I should mention that the last few days, I've been running into Jo. No, I'm not stalking her... although, I will confess, she does have that certain Louise Wener look to her.
The venue was deceivingly larger than it looks on the outside. At first you think it's just a little cafe, but there are hidden lower levels. It was still the smallest venue I've been to at NXNE, but it was nice and quiet.
Jo had some trouble with the mic loops (the stage right mic was the recording one), but she eventually got it going for "Zeus". When it was done correctly, it sounded pretty interesting, I don't know how she gets the loops to sync up, but it does.
Jo's album, Be the Man, is out now. Purchasing details and listening option available at bandcamp.com (free download of title track too!).
Jo Williamson at C'est What, Toronto (06/17/11)