Brace yourself for shouting matches at NXNE panels
Contrary to a popular misconception, the conference component of the NXNE fest isn't actually a massive industry-centric yawn. Sure, a good portion of the panels cater to the suits with signing power, but there are also tons of discussions geared toward the people who make the music - and some that are interesting for those of us who couldn't give a rat's ass about the business.
If you don't learn everything you ever wanted to know about Wayne Kramer from reading this week's NOW cover story, Thursday's open-to-the-public celebrity interview at the Horseshoe is sure to be an enlightening look at the legendary Detroit rocker who's courted controversy throughout his career (2 pm).
Other artists sharing their side of things during the conference include indie darlings Kevin Drew and Leslie Feist , who discuss their influences and inspirations with other musicians on the Artists' Panel, Saturday at 1 pm. And the hugely popular SOCAN Songs And Stories session at noon on Saturday features a slew of singer/songwriters performing and spilling their guts. This year, killer East Coast rocker Matt Mays adds some edge to a bill that also includes Kinnie Starr , Kevin Fox and Nathan's Keri & Shelley .
On the biz side of things, Friday's A&R discussion at 12:30 pm promises to be at least mildly entertaining, with panelists like Universal's perennially outspoken Dave Porter trying to justify why they sign dudes like Matt Good when talented musicians are left by the wayside.
Wanna keep kicking the dead horse that is the downloading debate? Friday offers an opportunity to do so at a 12:30 pm panel dramatically dubbed Saving The Music Or Destroying The Musician?, moderated by Canadian Idol nutter Jake Gold . Reps from the majors will duke it out with indie underdogs like Ian Woodward from Fading Ways Records - artists' voices are conspicuously absent from this discussion.
On the flip side, Friday also features an Artist Development panel where you can watch heavy hitters like Warner's Steve Waxman explain why the industry seems increasingly obsessed with one-hit wonders (1 pm).
Finally, NXNE tries to make up for the lack of urban representation (this year's lineup does feature slightly more hiphop) with the fifth instalment of the Urban Flowcase Workshop Series, presented by FLOW 93.5 on Saturday at 1 pm. It combines a demo critiquing session and an artist management workshop.