Ain’t No Love x NXNE [Review/Photos]
Toronto, ON – Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a showcase for North by Northeast (NXNE) where I specifically went to watch a group called Ain’t No Love perform. If you don’t know who they are, Ain’t No Love is a electronic, pop and hip-hop group made up of 4 young artists from Montreal and Toronto. There sound is nothing like I’ve heard before but nonetheless they’re awesome. Roly “1990” Broere and Eli “Beanz” McBean are their 2 MCs, Saidah Conrad is their soulful singer and Liam Clarke (aka Love Thy Brother) is their DJ and producer making the beats.
Ain’t No Love have only been around for about a year and a half, but since then they have been grabbing everyone’s attention. Their self-titled debut EP was released last summer carrying 6 tracks. The album is filled with almost all upbeat songs and when you hear it, all you want to do is dance. They’ve also released two videos, the most recent one came out in February for “Shine” which actually acted as promo for a showcase they were apart of in SXSW in March. Read the rest after the jump.
This particular showcase for NXNE was at Tattoo Rock Parlour where there were about 8 different groups and artists performing. Ain’t No Love came on second after an interesting and slightly confusing set by a group called Dirty Radio. With Love Thy Brother set up towards the back of the stage, and a female keyboard player to the left #swag, the 3 vocalists took to the stage and immediately got the crowd going with an energetic song called “Love Me Lots”. The lyrics in this song are super catchy, “mama says she loves me, it shows lots and lots, I wonder if she loves me when I’m hustlin’ on the block”. This is for sure my favourite song off their album.
Saidah has a really soulful voice and generally sings the hook/chorus which helps break up their songs hard hitting bassline and 1990 and Beanz go back and forth on the verses; most of their songs are structured this way which I think makes them flow nicely. From “Love Me Lots” they turned it up a notch with a track called “Renegade” which sort of reminded me of a No Doubt tune. 1990 and Beanz were having a blast on stage, and they even threw in what looked like choreographed dance moves – “Did you all like those dance moves?” said Roly.
Throughout the entire set the momentum was high and the energy kept flowing. Literally, all of them were jumping around the entire time, I was actually surprised they didn’t knock any equipment over or fall into the crowd cause the stage was small. The highlight of their set was when they performed “Shine”, it’s definitely a crowd favourite. After this, they did a crazy transition into a dubstep inspired track “Crash and Burn” with a sample of Jay-Z’s “Heart of a City (Ain’t No Love)” which was intelligently thought out. They ended their set with “Step Hard” where they tossed in another sample, this time it was 50 Cent’s “Wanksta.”
Overall, the show was amazing, I loved every minute of it. This group is full of youthfulness and energy, similar to that of the Beastie Boys but they’re slightly sexier, ahem, thanks to Saidah. Their sound is very diverse but the way they mix electronic and hip-hop makes it really fresh, Love Thy Brother is seriously ill! I know this group has a bright future ahead of them, they’re gonna do big things. Also, they’re dope people and super humble. Their new album is dropping sometime before the end of summer. Look out for it!
Written by Natasha for HipHopCanada
Lead photo by Tom Franks
Photography of live performance by Stuart Mcleod