Every night during NXNE, our music writers hit the town, taking in as much as they can. The next day, their NXNE Crawl diaries report the good, not-so-good, and out-and-out weird at this year's fest.
The thing about NXNE is that it starts on time. Like, really on time. I arrived at Benjamin Boles' Garrison set just in time to catch him shadowed in machine-made fog. He finished his mostly instrumental/looped guitar set with a bluesy tune called (at least for now) I'm A Good Man I Swear. It's a good song (I swear) but the crowd really thinned out afterwards, leaving following act POST3RBOY to scream in solitude.
Around the corner, the Painted Lady was a hive of activity as a number of four-man-indie-rock-pretty-guy types with NXNE artist passes drank Creemore and jammed in to see Carlo Meriano aka Bravery Cat folk-rock out. There was an annoyingly long break between sets, but everyone stuck around to see Golden Bloom, whose frontman Shawn Fogel used to play solo but now jams with three others.
Golden Bloom took the stage at 10:58 p.m., giving everyone "two extra minutes" of power/noise pop. I didn't stay long enough to determine whether he got the crowd dancing, but Fogel was in his element and it seemed to be going in that direction.
Things were running just a touch behind at Wrongbar's rap showcase, but it didn't matter because there was a constant flow of emcees onstage. Nashville's Dee Goodz was up when I arrived, fully engaging a decent-sized crowd. The highlight was definitely Deniro Farrar, who immediately stripped down from sweatshirt to tank top to topless tattoos.
I've seen a lot of hip-hop shows but this guy was intense. He's serious about his raps and seriously captivating. He takes stage banter to the next level: Between songs he looks everyone in the eye and pours his heart out with a heavy southern drawl. He went on a hilarious rant about social media, a lack of wifi, and famous rappers not following their fans on twitter. Deniro's got a busy week, playing a show every night. Hip-hop fans should catch at least one of his sets.
Smash Brovaz kept the Wrongbar energy up with an energetic set. After weeks of twitter DMing, I finally met the city's nicest producer/emcee duo. Afterward, Deniro, Smash Brovaz, Rich Kidd and others all trotted off to the studio to put some work in (at 2 a.m.). Wrongbar cleared out but Rivoli was still rolling when I got there. I missed Gentleman Reg and Saturns but arrived in time to see Duck Duck Goose and hit last call with a few publicists, who seemed remarkably fresh, even for after 3 in the morning.
UNFORGETTABLE: Deniro Farrar urging the entire crowd, black or white, to participate in a call and repeat with the N word. (I couldn't do it.)