NXNE 2017: Day One Recap13 July 2017 / by Nicole Di Donato (author)
North by Northeast Port Lands music festival returned for its second year, from June 23 to 25, with an eclectic lineup comprised of both local and international talent.
After receiving complaints in 2016, the organizers added free water stations and more shaded areas throughout the festival grounds. Although the festival has improved a lot since last year, the attendance was still very low.
Day one of NXNE Port Lands had a slow start - which was more or less to be expected with the unpredictable and rainy weather earlier in the day.
Toronto-based rock band Ferraro kicked off the festival at the Skyline stage. The band is made up of three brothers: Cosmo Ferraro (guitar and vocals), Tally Ferraro (bass and vocals) and Gianni Ferraro (drums and vocals). Ferraro had high energy and played catchy tunes off their debut album Losing Sleep.
Next up was Jalen Santoy who came all the way from the U.S. to perform at NXNE. Before the Charlotte rapper's set, his DJ urged the thin crowd to make their way to the stage. Santoy got festival-goers moving with tracks off his 2016 EP Charlie Eastern. His sound vibes well with Toronto hip-hop fans as he uses the same musical techniques and style as local rap artists.
LA-based garage pop/punk band The Regrettes were next to take the stage. The four-piece group, comprised of Lydia Night (vocals and guitar), Genessa Mariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums), had a super angsty, yet relatable feel to their set. With high energy, the band played most songs off their debut album Feel Your Feelings Fool!. After their performance, The Regrettes were hanging out, watching other acts play - including their former tourmates Sleigh Bells.
Toronto singer-songwriter Cold Specks came out dressed in a "boujee" pink dress that her mom made for her. She performed tracks off her last two albums as well as her first single in three years "Wild Card." During her set, she showed pride for her hometown Etobicoke saying, "shout-out East Mall."
Following Cold Specks was Toronto hip-hop/R&B group EMP. Their name is an acronym made up of the group's members: Eestbound, Milly Manson and Pree. To start off their show, Eestbound, who is the producer, instrumentalist and singer in the group, appeared on stage and played a Jimi Hendrix song on the guitar. Soon after, Milly and Pree joined him on stage and they began playing their songs "Rebellion" and "Perfect Timing." Kardinal Offishall was DJing and they brought out a special guest: Scarborough rapper Sean Leon. Overall the group put on a hype show and had everyone dancing.
One of the highly anticipated acts of the night was Chicago-based indie rock band Twin Peaks. They played their new singles "Under the Pines" and "Tossing Tears." Twin Peaks were super quirky, but in a fun and charming way. They attracted a large crowd and got great recognition from attendees.
Transitioning from rock to noise pop, Sleigh Bells hit the stage next. The Brooklyn duo is comprised of vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller. Their performance was filled with high energy, anger and passion, which enabled the audience to feel a variety of emotions. Krauss danced around the stage while Miller hung back and skillfully played guitar. Sleigh Bells performed their classic songs as well as tunes off their latest album Jessica Rabbit.
Slowing things down was Detroit rapper Amir Obè. He has collaborated with notable artists such as Drake so there was a lot of hype surrounding his performance. Wearing Gucci from head to toe, Obè gave a chill show that left people excited for the next act: Post Malone.
Finally, it came time for American rapper, singer-songwriter and producer Post Malone to perform. To no one's surprise, Post Malone was a crowd favourite - many people came to the show knowing all or most of the songs off his debut album Stoney. He came on half an hour late, but apologized to the audience and got right into the show. Ready to turn up, Post Malone had a beer in hand and would chug it between songs. He also "poured one out" for his friends that have passed away. Although the venue remained mostly empty, the hip-hop artist attracted a large crowd. Some people came specifically to NXNE Port Lands to see Post Malone. To end off his set, he performed his hit singles "White Iverson" and "Congratulations."
Aside from the poor turnout, day one of Port Lands was a success as there was a good variety of artists to see as well as many food options and rides for people to enjoy. It was cool how NXNE featured a mix of up-and-coming artists and well-known acts as it offered something for everyone. With day one complete, many festival-goers were excited to see what was in store for day two.
To see photos from NXNE Port Lands day one, take a look at the photo gallery to the right →