NXNE review: Bernice @The Piston, June 12

Bernice played The Piston for NXNE 2013's first night of music. (Photo: Tom Beedham)

Bernice played The Piston for NXNE 2013’s first night of music. (Photo: Tom Beedham)

“So you guys gonna check out lots of shows? We’re probably holding you up. It’s okay if you have to go.”

Held up from playing while drummer Phil Mélanson tended to an issue with a midi cable, Bernice singer Robin Dann treated the crowd to her casually awkward brand of stage banter. And although the music portion of NXNE had only just begun a couple of hours earlier, she was right; there were already plenty of bands playing sets across the city. But those that stuck around were compensated for their patience.

Although they filled out the The Piston’s tiny backroom stage just in their numbers and instruments – and the space was further crowded by the fact that guitarist Colin Fisher (notthewindnottheflag, Caribou) was confined to a seated performance (he’d hobbled into the venue on crutches, but still demonstrated his shoegaze savvy as he systematically switched through his fairly extensive pedal board) – as they felt out the space the band even added a sizeable amp to the stage mid-set.

While the combined lack of organization and clumsy candor might just sound like a recipe for disaster, it sort of just fit the output of Bernice’s soothingly emotive RnB-infused indie rock.

At least it literally had the crowd singing, “Ooh and I need it” along with the band at the end of their set.

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About Tom Beedham

Tom Beedham is a Canadian writer and photographer whose work focuses on independent culture, experimental art, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream. He has reported on a spectrum of creatives ranging from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has contributed features to Exclaim!, NOW, A.Side (formerly AUX), Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, and has appeared as a correspondent on Daily VICE. Tom is also a co-organizer and curator of the inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he has overseen the publication of an online blog and print newspaper-style community publication, and, in collaboration with Lucy Satzewich, implemented harm reduction strategies for safer event spaces. From 2006-2012, he was Editor-in-Chief of Halton, ON -based youth magazine The Undercroft and served as an outreach worker for parent organization Peer Outreach Support Services and Education (POSSE) Project. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, ON in the mid-2000s.

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