For the last seven days, musicians from all over the world flooded Toronto to strum their instruments in our fair city (and hopefully gain a following/make some cash while they’re at it). Some of these musician use clothing to enhance their performances and create personas– think about it, what would Jimi Hendrix be without his bell bottoms and paisley shirts? Or David Bowie his platform boots?
We tend to worship everything about the bands we love, including their sense of style. But beneath the glamorous veneer of musicianship, the sad reality is that most people who make their living via driving around the continent in a shitty van and playing shows on very little sleep are not fantastic dressers. So let us celebrate the bands who refuse to settle for minimal standards of hygiene and go above and beyond the call of just mere clothes. These are the best dressed bands that played NXNE.
The Black Belles
The Black Belles
look like they stepped out of a gothic horror novel and onto the stage, where they play rock and roll fit for a honky-tonk funeral. The band members all dress similarly, like a goth version of the Lisbon sisters in black lipstick and babydoll dresses (or androgynous suits and ties). It’s all very ‘Season of the Witch,’ and their signature look of black lace and big hats is sinister and sexy at the same time. It makes sense that these Nashville ladies were discovered by Jack White and signed to his label Third Man Records, as he is the master of highly-stylized garage rock.
That the Flaming Lips
are most often categorized as ‘psychedelic’ rock, suggests that the style of their outrageous live performances sets them apart from what’s inside their closets. Their stage garb runs the gamut from cult-leader white suits, to tinsel and giant blocks of cheese. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a man who’s been known to crowd-surf inside a giant hamster bubble. We don’t ask them to make sense, we just ask that Wayne Coyne puts on a hell of a show– and hopefully a hella weird outfit while doing it.
is comprised of the badass blonde Clavin sisters, Jennifer and Jessica, from Los Angeles. Their names may sound like characters in a Sweet Valley High novel, but their ripped band t-shirts and jean jackets are hardly high-maintenance. These girls play hard and fast, and no doubt own the most enviably authentic Black Flag shirt this side of the 1980s. Their beachy (and most likely bleach-y) blonde hair is an indicator of their California roots; they may as well have just stepped off of their longboards onto the stage. They used to play in the excellent punk rock band known as Mika Miko, and now they’re back to knock your socks off.
These snappily-dressed Francophones from (Montreal) look like a 1960s mod version of the Scooby gang. Les Breastfeeders
play with the enthusiasm of an emerging band, even though they’ve been together since 1999. The boys in the band wear skinny jeans, tailored jackets, and are probably the only band on earth rocking ascot neck-ties in a serious way. Tambourinist Johnny wears a lot of raccon-like eye makeup and bears a striking resemblance to Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture show. The only female band member is singer Suzie McLelove, who is a sexy version of Velma Dinkley with perfect bangs. Her retro go-go dresses and colourful tights are put-together but not too precious to rock out in.