Sunday, 20 September 2009

Pre-Shwaltz Majewski Tribute Party!

So Friday was the second show for the new line-up of No No Zero. We piled into the van and drove out to my hometown of Oshawa, to what is one of the last clubs still hosting cool shows in this whole stuck-pig town -- the Atria, on King Street (just across the street from Oshawa's age-old epicentre of sleaze, the Genosh Hotel). The pride we felt at seeing our name in lights was somewhat tempered by the fact that every band on the bill got an abbreviated name.

The Diplomats didn't even get that. They were first up, a trio from Peterborough with a heavy, bluesy bedeviled sound: thick bludgeoning bass, psycho guitar. Songs about Hell and being damned. I dug it a lot, The Diplomats were a great start to the night.

Sun Ra Ra Ra - who we'd just played the Lakeshore Legion Hall with a few weeks before - were up next, and I was really blown away by these guys all over again. They were even better this time, in fact. Punk psych jams with noisey bits, loopy organ and guitar, tall dude with tambourine, wow. I hope we'll be playing lots of shows together in the future. These guys have a way-out sound, do a great cover of The Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird", and have a very genuine interaction onstage that's lots of fun to watch.

After Sun Ra Ra Ra, No No Zero was on. We did our thing, burning through a 20 minute or so set of short songs. Oshawa in my experience is a relaxing place to play, with generous and demonstrative crowds - so bands tend to loosen up here and have fun onstage. I'd say we did the same, and enjoyed it even more than the Poster Show. Chris Cheeseman is obscured here by my gut.

The penultimate band tonight was The Ancestors and this is another band I like more every time I see them, one I could see doing lots of shows with (and in fact we're playing with them again Sept. 29 at The Velvet Underground, along with FNU Ronnies and TV Ghost). Seriously tight, good punk, difficult to describe, maybe along SST-type lines? I hate describing bands, really.

Tonight, The Ancestors broke a string, and took the opportunity to break out an impressive two-piece cover of Minor Threat's "In My Eyes". I'd love to hear this with the whole band playing!

Headliner was Panzram's Ghost, who it is somewhat awkward for me to talk about as they are largely a cover band for songs I wrote a long time ago in Starkweather. Needless to say, their songs are great! They got the best response of the night with a ripping rendition of GG Allin's "Bite It You Scum", and it almost brought a tear to my eye. I hope these guys record their set someday. I can listen to it when I'm feeling particularly low. Long live Panzram's Ghost.

I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the wonderful decorations Erin Hagen made for the night, a night dedicated to the late Michal Majewski and a fundraiser for a trust in his name (as well as being this year's pre-Shwaltz Party). The club became a 'magical forest' and, as I was going out the door, I confess I grabbed a star to take home with me. Thanks to Erin and Al Cole for a great show in Mike's memory, and a fun evening.

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