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NXNE Day 2: the west is the best

Featuring reviews of The Icarus Line, Brant Bjork & The Bros, Mudhoney and X

BY STUART BERMAN   June 18, 2010 12:06

Those arriving early to last night's opening of North by Northeast's free Yonge-Dundas Square concert series could be forgiven for thinking that Saturday's Iggy & The Stooges Raw Power performance had been moved up two days early. We're greeted with the sight of Icarus Line singer Joe Cardamone striking an uncannily Iggy-esque figure with his bowl cut and skinny shirtless figure, while his band of L.A. scuzz-rockers churned out variations on the stoner-blues stomp of "I Need Somebody." The irony of the Icarus Line playing across from a Hard Rock Cafe was not lost on the night's emcee Damian Abraham — the band first gained notoriety in 2002 by trashing the Hard Rock's Austin outlet at South by Southwest — and while no such mayhem occurred on this night (the band favour a slowly intensifying rumble over the splatter-punk noise of their early days), The Icarus Line expertly demonstrated why they're least appropriate band for a free city-square performance in front of an audience of moms and strollers and tourists slurping ice cream cones. But that's not to say the Icarus Line's black magic didn't do its trick on certain segments of the crowd — while the two visibly dismayed teens next to me in Ed Hardy shirts made a hasty exit mere notes into the first song (as sure a sign as any that you're doing something right), by the end, The Icarus Line found its most fervent support from three random men in their sixties, one of whom vigorously waved his cane. Moral of the story? To hell with the kids.

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