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Day 1: Metal and majorettes 

Checked into the Holiday on King (easily spotted--saw disinterested boys with eyeliner and the dreadlocked dude from the Doughboys; he's apparently NXNE's LA-based programmer) and got in line to register. There was a separate counter for "Trouble" and a long line for media and industry types. Bumped into my beautiful friend WJ who works at the festival, and she informed me that I HAD to see this band, Hey Rosetta! Oh Torontonians...

Just had enough time to race over to College for a quick antipasto bite at Cafe Dip (old haunt) and then to the Royal for the opening night gala film, Global Metal. (Not the Rainn Wilson action, as I stupidly wrote before). Filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn were waiting in line to get in, with the rest of us. Glammy.

Dunn about to rock

The film is wonderful--Dunn takes an anthropological approach to metal and its global popularity and is a fantastic narrator: he's totally likeable and smart, but he's quiet and respects the people he's speaking to--it's a refreshing switch from the Moore and Spurloch "all about me" approach. Inspired by letters they received from their first film, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, the pair travelled to Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, China and the Middle East. Afterwards, during the Q&A, a woman broke down in tears about how beautiful it was; she's an Iranian metal-lover, who's never felt comfortable in the white-dominated North American scene. She still has cousins, who love metal, in Iran. These are people who can face emprisonment for growing their hair and listening to music. it was a powerful moment.

It seemed appropriate that we spent our first night at the Horseshoe--I've seen more live music there than any other venue in the world. My most-anticipated show, The Wet Secrets did not disappoint. Easily mistaken for a joke band because they all wear old-school band costumes ala Paul Revere or The Beatles, and sing about getting teabagged by cans of paint at Home Depot, they use humour to tell stories about how stupid life really is--gross roommates, said teabagging, etc--and their music simply rocks. They have moves, they have horns and they're damn sexy. One of my favourite albums so far this year...

Wins awards for: band that would do really well in Halifax; only band that can use "douchebag" in a chorus and look pretty singing it.

Next up was Small Sins, who I saw, and loved, last year at HPX. Really tight and sweaty, and yes, they still can clap like no one's clapping business; heck, the band employs a professional clapper, Kevin Hilliard.

Awards: best clapping, of course.

Next, we tried to get in to see Two Hours Traffic at the Rivoli, just a couple of doors down, but it was so packed, they weren't even letting pass people in. Good for them, not for me. But we happily went back to the 'shoe for Money Mark, spotting every lady's imaginary boyfriend, Jim Cuddy (who's doing a panel discussion about the intersections between sports and music, along with Dallas Green (?)), and Chris Murphy near the pool table.

In case you're not familiar, Mr. Mark is best known for his collaboration with The Beastie Boys and for coming up with the keyboard opener on Beck's "Where it's at." Apparently he's been working with Yoko Ono too--not a surprise. Dude's weird and wonderful. It's not my kind of thing--whiteguys'-pop-funk-jam but I totally appreciate what he's doing and know a fine show when I hear it. Sean (husband/companion/old-time music writer) appreciated his weirdness and commented that Money acts like a composer up there, directing the scene.

Awards: biggest dude wank


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