. : : June 16th, 2012 : : .
We decided after the Kathleen Edwards set to head back to my apartment for a quick cat nap and a pot of Kraft Dinner. It was on the way back that my Twitter feed lit up with news of the Downsview Park tragedy that had struck before the Radiohead show set to take place only hours later.
We were surrounded by forlorn concert-goers, many of whom were finding out about the events through looped pre-recorded messages playing over the PA system in all TTC Subway Stations. Our plans remained steadfast, however: we were going to be catching the Limblifter reunion at the El Mocambo.
There seemed to be a fair amount of buzz for the show; a record release show (errr…re-release show?) for the first vinyl printing of the band’s 1994 self-titled album. With dozens of thousands of Radiohead fans now finding themselves with nothing to do on a Saturday night, I was sure our competition had grown exponentially.
I’d barely gotten a moment’s rest before it was time to rush back downtown to the El Mo, where a line-up of opening bands played music. Unfortunately, that’s about the nicest thing I can say about any of the bands: they played music.
The strange and wonderful thing about NXNE is that, due to the crazy amount of venue hopping required for the best experience, venues often don’t fill up until moments before the marquee or buzz band is set to take the stage. Although I was expecting a sold out crowd, I was expecting them much earlier than they arrived. Where it was less-than pleasant to be standing through a series of unimpressive acts while suffering from heat exhaustion, I was able to linger by an open window at the back and enjoy a cool breeze and a cold soda before casually moving up and securing a great spot for the Limblifter set that gave me a great viewing angle, and a perfect recording position. By the time the band took the stage, there was a line-up forming outside the venue.
The band itself? Well, if you didn’t know better, you’d never guess this was the second of two-only shows set for the reunion. They sounded phenomenal as they blasted through a career’s worth of hits and alt-rock gems. All the songs you’d expect to hear were played — and even a couple of surprises, too! — and although they took their hour long set to it’s outer limits, the ordeal still felt painfully short.
It was appropriate that Limblifter would be the band to cap off my NXNE experience for 2012. It opened with Matthew Good, a bit of a Canadian alt-rock nostalgia act, and it ended with Limblifter, another bit of Canadian alt-rock nostalgia act. Furthermore, I was introduced to Limblifter rather late into their career by Matthew Good, who brought the band around on a tour for the White Light Rock and Roll Revue series of shows. It was a nice bookend; university-era me would have been super pleased.
So, onto the recording. The recording would probably be a gem in the collection of any Limblifter or Ryan Dahle fan, but… in a brief Twitter exchange a couple of days before the show, I was asked not to tape it.
I did it anyway, of course, but out of respect for the band, who felt they were “not quite ready for prime time” (although all evidence eventually pointed to the contrary!), I’m going to keep this one under my hat.
Pardon me for saying so, but it sounds great. It’s a shame few people will ever hear this tape, but it will be a further shame still if the band doesn’t continue the reunion with a full-on reformation. Limblifter fans coast to coast deserve to share in the experience that closed out NXNE for another year.
Now…I wonder what next year’s NXNE will bring?
03. Count to 9
06. Chop Chop
07. Wake Up To The Sun
08. Fiercely Co-Dependent
11. [new song]
12. On The Moon
13. Perfect Day To Disappear
15. Screwed Up
16. I Wonder If…
17. Ariel vs. Lotus