NXNE INDIE MUSIC MARKET featuring BURNING BOYZ (noon), CHARLEMAGNE (1 pm), KILL DEVIL HILLS (2 pm), the DIODES (3 pm), C'MON (4 pm), the PINKER TONES (5 pm), GOD MADE ME FUNKY (6 pm) and TANYA MORGAN (7 pm), at Yonge-Dundas Square, Saturday (June 9). Free. www.nxne.com. Rating: NNNNN
Now in its second year, the nxne indie music market is a cool model of access and opportunity for bands (and fans) who otherwise might not have a snowball's chance in June of bringing their music to new ears, especially ears belonging to folks who don't frequent independent record stores or waste their time in esoteric Web communities.
The so-called "marketplace," which features almost 100 different indie artists from Abdominal to Woodhands (if you're going in alphabetical order), is an alluring prospect for music fans.
Marketeers get a chance to display their merch and tunes (CD players are on hand for sampling purposes) to the throngs passing through Yonge-Dundas Square (last year's Market saw a crowd of about 6,000), with none of the pressure you might feel from the consumer-focused environment of a music store or the judgmental eyes of record-selling employees with very particular tastes. (Unless, of course, you feel guilty about not shelling out to help a struggling band make it from this tour stop to the next.)
Granted, the carefully programmed showcase is a major draw. How can you not love a bill that kicks off with baby rockers Burning Boyz at noon and gradually gathers steam so Friday-night waste cases have enough time to temper their hangovers before subjecting themselves to the blistering one-two punch of reunited punk legends the Diodes and T.O.'s premier power trio C'mon?
In certain cases, the show is a major opportunity to help launch artists just starting to find their footing.
Look no further than east-end quartet Burning Boyz, who have a combined total age of 29 bassist Jack White (prophetic name, huh?) has a year on his three seven-year-old bandmates. (Those bandmates include keyboardist Dexter Hornsby as well as Reed Hollett, the drum-playing son of NOW editor/publisher Michael Hollett.)
Frontman Flynn Tanner says the Boyz, who plan to cover Hey Joe and play "the blues" during their noon set, are inspired by the classics.
"AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple... y'know, those guys. When my dad was playing ball hockey, their colour was black, and they played Back In Black as their song.
"That's how I heard AC/DC for the first time," proclaims Tanner. He cites Angus Young as his primary rock 'n' roll role model, and practises by playing guitar and singing along with his AC/DC live DVD.
While kids rocking out can be as hit-and-miss as stupid pet tricks absolutely priceless when you're the owner, er, parent; ickily precious and kinda lame if you have no personal investment in the wannabe Van Halen the Burning Boyz really are pretty awesome, like School Of Rock come to life sans Jack Black.
They're also remarkably focused, particularly Tanner, who's only been playing electric guitar since Christmas (he played acoustic before plugging in). The kid has big dreams.
"I guess I want to be famous," he admits. "Yeah, I want to tour all over the world. If not, I want to play in the NHL. Or run track."
Video from the Burning Boyz