Reports from the North by Northeast trenches
Gruve at NXNE 2014
Hey Hellbound readers, my name’s Jay Pollmann. I play in the groove based dirt rock band GRUVE.
Hellbound.ca asked us to document our NXNE experience this year and we gladly accepted the offer.
We were thrilled to be a part of the 20th year of NXNE with this being GRUVE’s second appearance at the festival. From the afternoon drinking and schmoozing, to the free shows, rooftop shows, park shows and endless music, this festival is an amazing way to network with fellow musicians and catch a slew of new bands. We were ready to rip it up, having been busy the last few weeks rehearsing for a couple big festival gigs.
As a band from a small town 25 minutes south of Hamilton and an hour and a bit out of Toronto (on a good day) we do our share of driving to get to shows.
We ran into traffic on the Gardiner Expressway driving in to the festival this year due to lane closures and we barely made the 8pm registration to sign the band in. This is one of the least fun things travelling in from Hamilton to play Toronto.
Last year at NXNE we played a venue called The Sister, which was a little more than walking distance from most of the venues downtown. This year we were at The Paddock (Queen and Bathurst) which was much closer to downtown and it was awesome to park the car and walk around to check out some music and network.
After we loaded in the venue and checked in with the stage manager, we had a ton of time to kill with our set not being till 1am. We made our way to the Horseshoe Tavern to catch the rootsy twang of NQ Arbuckle (and some beers obviously) followed by some eats at Java Cafe (more beers) and a stop at the Bovine where we ran into Ben Rispin of St. Alvia Cartel. He had some sound advice for us after telling him what venue we were playing: “give’r hell no matter what stage they put you on.”
We didn’t get a chance to catch everyone’s set that played before us at the Paddock as we were busy bar hopping along Queen St. We always have intentions of catching a ton of music but can only squeeze in so much. A great classic rock band out of Edmonton called Stone Iris got the room going with their set before us then we were up to bat to close the night.
We had a good crowd out as well as some industry people to catch our set. By mid-set we had some dancers cuttin’ the rug out front of us and besides the vocals being pretty distorted and muddy through the PA and the incredibly small stage it felt good and we played tight.
Another NXNE set in the books!
Big thanks to NXNE for having us back this year, all of the festival volunteers and Hellbound.ca for the opportunity to talk about our festival experience.
We are heading into the studio next month to record our 4th record with Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, Protest The Hero). Keep in touch with us here: www.gruve.ca.