NXNE day 2: smart kids and Dum Dum Girls

I believe children like Adora Svitak are our future, as is a long nap.

Don't know about you, but when I'm tired and hungover, I like to feel worse about myself by going to see a child prodigy. Adora Svitak is a youth activist, technology expert and literacy advocate, who has already published three books and organizes kid-only TED talks. She knows where Syria is on a map, and can talk about what's politically happening there. And she was born in 1997.

Super-cute in sandals and socks, Svitak was the keynote speaker for NXNE interactive, and she spoke with such confidence and smarts, it was like witnessing a Muppet Babies version of Steve Jobs. She also coined my new favourite saying, "vintage habits," referring to old-folk activities such as TV watching and phone calling. Though she admits she's not a typical preteen - she loves Vinyl Cafe and detests the "unnecessary evils of superficial TV plots" - Svitak's message is quite simple. If you feed kids shit media, you're going to get shit back from them in return. So raise your expectations of the wee folk, because they're going to be your bosses soon.


That night, this dumb girl went to see the Dum Dum Girls (who did an acoustic show when I was in NY a month ago!), one of the must-see bands of the weekend, judging from the line-up. Thanks to stupid traffic, I just caught the end of Dirty Beaches, who I was sad to have missed when he played Obey. I spoke to some people who were confused by/hating on his layered dirty lo-fi, but they can write that on their blogs. I think he's cool - was just the wrong line-up/venue, me thinks.

Dum Dum Girls sullenly (in a good way) played a lot of new material from their upcoming album He Gets Me High, a swath of heavier guitar sound, dark lipstick, lace and stay-up tights. Short and sweet, the band shot out of there even faster than Juliana Hatfield - apparently lead singer Dee Dee's husband is in the Crocodiles, and they were booting it over to make an appearance at that show. Fine, whatever, great for Crocs fans, but not for DDG fans who stood in that super-long Lee's line to see their show. In fact, I can't remember another NXNE so dominated by special appearances, secret shows, etc., though I applaud those people who took their camera phone to 3 locations to crack a password to get into a free Stars/VanGalaan show at an art gallery, just down the street from my house. That's a load of work.


I heard some Pitchfork-y music wank in the know (because they're all in the know, you know) trashing on internet buzz band Cults' live show, because the record was "soooo much better," so I guess he would know. But I thought the long-haired duo was charming, capturing that romantic '60s pop sound, without falling into the sappy nostalgia trap. Singer Madeline Follin has a genuine Dusty Springfield sweetness - it takes a certain presence to get a whooping round of applause by singing a love ballad at a rock festival.