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- Posted on Jun 17th 2010 2:15PM by Dave Jaffer
If that's the tack you choose, you'll likely encounter the Balconies -- who played 1,135 feet above terra firma at the Audio Blood Media gala held at Horizons Restaurant in the CN Tower yesterday evening. The three-piece post-punk pop-rockers from Ottawa -- led by your next indie rock crush, Jacquie Neville -- are collectively cuter than a box of buttons.
The sister in a brother/sister-fronted act -- brother Stephen sings and plays bass while Neville's boyfriend Liam Jaeger holds down the drums -- Neville's a dark-haired beauty who evokes Jenny Lewis and Zooey Deschanel. Onstage she has presence in spades, juxtaposing her decidedly delicate looks with a frenetic energy that both powers and paces the band. In the throes of performance, she's all facial expressions, exuberant strumming and dance moves Metric's Emily Haines would be proud of.
"I'm very honoured to take part in this event," she said post-set. A new Torontonian, she was glad to have the opportunity to visit one of the city's enduring landmarks. "I haven't been up here since I was 10 years-old. I just moved here as well, in September, so it's kind of nice to take in the city, finally. It's definitely a huge highlight of our career."
The move to Toronto is one many Canadian musicians make -- not unlike actors gravitating towards New York or L.A. Toronto has hundreds of venues to play and it's where a large contingent of the Canadian music industry calls home.
"You can play more often. It's a bigger city, you're going to [perform for] bigger audiences," she said. "People are extremely supportive here and really vibrant and energetic and extremely hardworking and I really feed off that energy."
That said, she's quick to point out that she hasn't forgotten where she came from. "I love Ottawa, it's always going to be my home. It's where my roots are, but it's just a smaller scene."
For those interested in seeing the Balconies over the course of NXNE, they play Hollerado's Nacho House at the Audio Blood Media rooftop (446 Spadina Av.) Thursday at 2PM. On Friday they'll be performing in Trinity Bellwoods Park at 4PM, but that set will have a twist: the band -- who happen to be classically trained musicians -- will ditch their electric guitars to perform their songs with classical instruments.
Slightly off the NXNE docket but still in the city, the Balconies also play the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival in Toronto's Distillery District (55 Mill St.) Saturday, June 19 at 9:30PM.