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 based in Toronto, Ontario. His work focuses on independent culture, DIY communities, and their relationship to the mainstream, reporting on a spectrum of creatives that has ranged from emerging acts to the definitive voices of cultural movements. In addition to contributing regular features to AUX, Chart Attack, and VICE publications Noisey and THUMP, he has appeared on Daily VICE, and frequently reviews concerts, festivals, and new album releases for Canadian arts and culture monthly Exclaim!. He is also a co-organizer and curator of the seasonal inter-arts series Long Winter, for which he oversees an online blog and print newspaper-style publication, printed for distribution at each instalment of the event. He was also a DIY concert organizer in his hometown Georgetown, Ontario in the mid-2000s.

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