Oh NXNE; you came, I saw and you’d better believe I conquered. If you’ve been out of the loop, North by Northeast (or NXNE) is the most anticipated music festival in Canada and also features films and interactive conferences. There’s no way that I can recap an entire week so keep reading past the jump to find out what a few of my favourite moments were and to share your own.

From my vantage point in the DJ booth at the Bovine Sex Club, I’ve seen and heard enough stuff to write a couple hundred posts, easily. From being hit on by lots of friends of that guy in that band, to seeing rock stars act a fool, it takes a fair bit to make me raise an eyebrow while spinning. What not only made me raise an eyebrow, but actually got me out of my booth and turned me into an uber geek happened on Thursday night of NXNE.

I was doing my thing with my DJ partner, the handsome and talented Teenage Werewolf when he leaned over and whispered, “I could be wrong, but I think that’s Don Draper’s wife at the bar.” I almost dropped the record I was holding. There she was, Jessica Paré, slinky secretary on Mad Men and singer of Zou Bisou Bisou, so I left the fortress of the booth and sidled up beside her. There was a guy asking her about Mad Men but it was so obvious he was fumbling for a reason to talk to her that she ignored him, but in a gracious way. I, however, had a reason; and a good one at that. I told her about the GEEKPR0N post I had written about her rendition of Zou Bisou Bisou and her eyes lit up. “You know that made it to number one on the Billboard charts? And I don’t even have a copy!” she exclaimed, grinning. It was at this point that I was wishing I had my own copy. But would I give it to her? Or just get her to autograph it? Maybe it was better that I didn’t have a copy.

She spent a good portion of the night there along with her boyfriend John Kastner of the Doughboys fame. The bill featured old school Montreal power pop band the Nils which would explain their presence, although I’d like to think that the evening’s DJing was also part of the draw. I don’t have a bucket list but if I did, I’d probably add “DJ for Don Draper’s wife” just so I could scratch it off. Then I’d add “DJ for Don Draper himself.” Maybe next year…

Now despite what you just read, I don’t really get star struck over celebrities. I was probably more nervous to interview Portland party-punkers the Mean Jeans than I was to go to a film screening and q&a with one of my all time favourite authors but that didn’t mean I wasn’t excited. While most people were at Yonge Dundas Square waiting for Bad Religion, I was scratching off another item on my make believe bucket list (and to be fair, I’ve seen Bad Religion more times than I can count). Irvine Welsh, the legendary Trainspotting author made a rare appearance for the NXNE Canadian premiere of the film ‘Ecstacy,’ based on his novel and I wasn’t missing it for anything.

After the q&a ground to a close, I waited around for my chance to meet Mr. Welsh and get a couple of my books signed. Naturally I wasn’t the only one and it seemed everyone wanted a photo or autograph or both. When I finally got through the throng, I said: “You must be happy that all these girls want their picture taken with you.” He gave me a big smile so I reckon I was right. Unfortunately my cell phone pics came out blurry but hey,at least I have the autographs.

“But Misty,” you’re probably saying, “what about the music?” Be patient, fearless readers. Since NXNE boasted over 700 bands, I couldn’t possibly tell you about them all. But stay tuned; I’ll be dedicating full blog posts to the handful of bands that made my NXNE experience amazing including a jäger bomb fueled interview with the Mean Jeans. In the meantime, what made your personal NXNE highlight reel? Whether it was Protest the Hero at Lee’s Palace, Raekwon at Yonge Dundas Square or a band I’ve never heard of I want to hear your adventures. Then, group nap?

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