This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day two of the real beginning of NXNE, and things just got real. The first part of the morning consisted of Liz, Paul, and I went to a cafe on Bloor St. called Snakes and Lattes, which is pretty much exactly as it sounds: a coffee shop/cafe where you can play board games. It was $5 to play as many games as we liked, and I got a cappuccino and some quiche. Is it just me, or would this be overflowing everyday if this existed in Ann Arbor? Someone get on this. After we realized we had spent a little too long in the cafe, we booked it down to the Hyatt Regency where the NXNEi events were starting today, and I was able to catch all of the panels I wanted! In order:

1. Disasters and Revolutions: Scenes from the Social Media Trenches with Dave Olson

This surprised me, in that I didn’t know that Dave Olson is one of the co-founders of HootSuite, and he had a lot of amazing things to say, not only about the topic at hand, but about how to effectively use social media to connect to the rest of the world, and really get our voices out there. He talked about how social media shouldn’t be a competition, and it shouldn’t be about ego, but that the most beautiful moments of when technology is used correctly is when we are truly communicating with people all across the world. He also touched on Hoot-Ups, which are like meet-ups for people who use HootSuite in the same area. Without realizing it, HootSuite has created this form of real, person-to-person connection.

2. Designing the New Normal with Dave Watson, John Furneaux and Helen Kerr Mod: Lionel Gadoury

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this panel, and it turned out to be a much more professional setting than I was expecting. All of the panelists were designers in their own way, some stemming from graphic design, and others from more eclectic backgrounds, as seemed to be the case with the audience. They tried not to be too technical though, and really got into how a design company can help its clients. This may seem totally uninteresting, but I ended up asking them what their advice would be for a non-profit that basically is the client, and the designer. What do you do when you have a group of talented people, but nowhere to allocate them to further the non-profit? They said that you basically need to have a singular goal that everyone knows and understands, and you need someone to get on their case to do it.

3. Dating in a Digital World with Sofi Papamarko, Stacie Ikka and Kimberly Moffit. Mod: Kim Hughes

This probably seems way out of left field, but as some of you know, I have a public affairs show about sex, sexuality, and gender called the Sex and Tell Show. I was very interested to hear what the panelists had to say about online dating, and especially what direction they took the panel. It seemed to be less about the social media aspects (which I would have expected from an interactive conference), and more about relationship tips ways to improve your online dating profile. I was overall a little disappointed, because it was a lot less technical than I wanted the discussion to be, and also very gendered, but that’s a discussion for my show. None of them were what I expected of the panels, but I was very pleased with the information from all of them. The atmosphere at NXNEi was amazing as well, and totally different from how the rest of my evening went afterward. I also got a free (and really nice) laptop bag with goodies! Yay! After eating some dinner and changing my shirt, I headed out for some shows:

  1. The Effens @ The Boat
  2. Abstract Random @ Velvet Underground
  3. July Talk @ Horseshoe Tavern
  4. Rise To Order @ The Rochester
  5. Partycat @ Bovine Sex Club
  6. Bella Clava @ Bovine Sex Club

The Effens were a LOT younger than I was expecting, but they put on a great show. The frontman especially was definitely a showman, and he was writhing all around the stage, in the audience, and ended the show crowd-surfing across the audience (unfortunately when I had just gone to get some water). Abstract Random was a super solid hip-hop trio of women, and I was really impressed, even though I don’t listen to/go to a lot of hip-hop. I loved the diversity of personalities within the team, and you could feel the passion about what they were rapping.

July Talk was my favorite of the night, and I almost want to go see them again later in the week. The energy was through the roof, their personalities were huge, their passion for the music was totally obvious, and the crowd was amazing. It was the only show where the performers didn’t even need to ask the audience to move up, or to dance when they wanted, because it just happened. I was right up against the stage, and all of the people around me were dancing around. The female front was alluring, and in total control of the stage at all times. You could feel that she had the crowd wrapped around her finger at all points in time. The male front sounded a lot like Tom Waits, and was all over the stage as well. One of the best parts of the performance for me was the chemistry between the two though. Not only was the music good at this show, but they were true performers the whole time. I might have to go to their other show this weekend.

After July Talk I made my way over to The Rochester to see Rise For Order. My legs were pretty tired, so I got myself a gin and tonic and sat as close as possible. They played a really solid show, though it took awhile to set up. It was pretty refreshing to see the intensity that they performed with, and the lead guitarist especially was incredibly charismatic, and seemed to always have a smile on his face beneath his mane. Partycat was next at the Bovine Sex Club, and was pretty much what I was hoping for: lots of screaming, lots of stunts, and some loud rock. Although I felt a little out of place at the club, being right up front was quite an experience. The frontman was relatively interactive with the audience. It was also really refreshing to see how normal he was offstage, and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. Bella Clava was the last of my night, but I have mixed feelings. Perhaps I was tired, perhaps I should have gone home, but I wasn’t feeling it.

Objectively, they were making very good music, and technically they were pretty good. The drummer was probably the best out of all of them, and was having a total blast. But not all of the band members were 100% I felt, which was a bit of a downer from how much energy there was throughout the day. Overall I still really enjoyed them though, and they are more than worth checking out! All right. About to start another day of music, interactive, and Toronto.

Wish me luck!