Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Panzram's Ghost & Zine Dream 4!

This past weekend was the rare one in which I actually went out and did something worth writing about here - to wit, as you may have ascertained from the title, attending the Panzram's Ghost (and Metz and Holy Mount) show at Oshawa's venerable Atria Saturday night; also, the fourth Zine Dream festival of zines, art, and music the following afternoon at Toronto's Tranzac club.

I can be a remarkably lazy person.

One way in which this vice of mine manifests itself is by often waiting to go to a show until three or more bands I'm interested in are all playing on the same bill. Tonight was just such a lucky occasion: 1. infectious slow'n'low trio Holy Mount, whose new "We Fell From The Sky" record has been on frequent rotation in my place of residence; 2. the mighty Metz, who I've wanted to see for a long time, and whose stellar reputation precedes them (people whose tastes I respect had told me they were one of the best bands around); and finally, 3. the one and only Panzram's Ghost, a band with whom I have a 'special relationship', and who I'm always happy to see. 

I had to drive a fair ways to get to the Atria, and opener Holy Mount had already started when I came in. Drat. I did see most of their set though, I think, including the title track off the new record, which is my current fave. These are songs that would sound great with just a voice and acoustic guitar alone - actual good tunes IOW - but, played heavy as hell by Holy Mount, they rock in extended fashion with solid head-bobbing grooves, sweet solos, and psychedelic FX.

Speaking of FX, how many effects pedals do Metz have? And how bad a segueway was that?

Another LOUD & heavy trio, Metz blew me away with apparent ease. They earned every bit of the praise I've been hearing, having genuinely created their own kind of heavy sound and putting it across as powerfully as can be imagined. In my personal musical pyramid of greatness, Jimi Hendrix is pretty much at the tip top, and Metz evoke a sensation I can only compare to the Master himself; their music is actually transcendental (not said lightly). I really look forward to seeing Metz again soon, and to hearing their debut full-length (coming fairly soonish).

Panzram's Ghost are a long-running cover band made up of Clayton, Willie and Matt from Anagram, as well as Andrew from Quest For Fire; they mostly play songs from the 1993 Starkweather tape "This Band Has Seconds To Live", but their repertoire has expanded to include tunes by GG Allin, The Pack, and The Dicks. This was their first show since the last time they played the Atria two years ago.

I have to be perfectly honest and confess I get a kick out of seeing Panzram's Ghost play songs I used to do. I would imagine that gratification can't be too surprising? What might surprise you though is the unique vantage point I have while hearing these songs now that I don't have to be facing the audience onstage singing them; in other words, I can sit back and relax, revel in my anonymity, and ogle women's butts in tight summer shorts, watching them bounce around to stuff I wrote! A point of view I never had before. So nice.

I can surreptitiously dig that scrub sitting at the bar, slowly getting into "Aluminum Baseball Bat". Check out people nodding their heads to "I've Got Fangs" or see them moshing to the band's titular theme. It's fun. It feeds my poor, starving ego, and feels more than a bit perverse (or, as Matt put it to me at the Dirt Picnic, "awkward"). And I get to be so lazy while it's all going on, almost like being a ghost at your own funeral! I hope PG never stop playing shows, I really do…

I asked the guys to pose onstage for a quick pic, seeing as how they'd played in near-darkness. To my surprise, they happily acquiesced. So here are perhaps the only 'band pictures' you'll ever see of Panzram's Ghost --

When the show was over, it was about 1:30am. I waked down King Street, past Oshawa's most outsized dance club The Big Sexy - with its usual stretch limo out front, drunken couples arguing, and young ladies in tight dresses huddled together with cellphones in hand. Just past the club, I was amused to see a wig (or part of a wig, anyways) lying on the street corner. Yes, somebody actually left their weave out on the sidewalk in the rain.

A catfight? A ménage à trois gone wrong? Saturday night in downtown Oshawa.

The next day I got up earlier than I'd have liked (ears still ringing from the night before) to attend Zine Dream 4 at Toronto's Tranzac. I was so overwhelmed by all the cool stuff on display that I forget to take any crappy pictures - you'll just have to imagine lots of awesome zines, prints, records, shirts, and comics…

I ran into a bunch of folks I hadn't seen in awhile, including my very good friend Davis Weir, there selling his excellent anthology Everything Elevator, a new zine of prints, and a new line of limited-edition cassettes under the label name of Trouble Door. I mention these because, well… I'm on two of them.

My own Sleazy Meanz has its first honest-to-goodness release - "Pornography God Man" (a plunderphonic loops-type thing put together last year); and Shar Pei, a longtime musical collaboration between Davis & I, also has its first actual release - 1997's "Urusai Kusai". The other two Trouble Door cassettes are: "Juntök", the latest effort by Davis' solo project Skulleraser, and "Space Waste", a 2001 record by Dumbodian (another Davis collaboration, this time with Erik from Whitby's The Cleavers).

I grabbed all four tapes, plus Davis' new zine, as well as other stuff from Lorenz Peters, Marc Bell, and Ayal Senior (two CDs from Kevin Hainey's Inyrdisk). That hot new BBW-themed zine Thickness? Grabbed one of those -- and a really excellent triple 3" CD comp called "Songs of Toronto" put out by Kevin Crump's Wintage Records. I had hoped to see elusive Dream Zine organizer Jesjit Gill (previously mentioned here on the blog) but he remained elusive so… Hi, Jesjit!

Is it OK to reveal here that Jesjit did the awesome artwork for No No Zero's forthcoming record? I hope so.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Getting Down & Dirty At The Dirt Picnic!

Last Saturday at the Dirt Picnic, my plan had been to take pictures of all the bands (Anagram, Holy Cobras, The Ultimatemost High, Teenanger, us, and Ell V Gore) and then comment on their sets individually, as I have sometimes done before when the bill has been similarly rich. Unfortunately, the photos that I have of the show are by and large far too dark to use.

In fact, I really only got two decent photos the whole time: one of the boatyard beneath the patio, and another of Ell V Gore on the patio (displaying their saxophone player's fabulous gams):

After this, we go indoors and it gets dark. If you're interested in seeing some really good B&W shots of the show, get thee to Ivy Lovell's blog post haste. Here's a couple of shots she took of your hosts No No Zero in action:

Inside, it was hot, hot, hot. A light sprinkling of rain went down well between sweaty sets. It was Jordan's first show drumming with No No Zero so that was extra special for the band, and he delivered with a heavy hand (I mean that in the best possible way).

It was also our first time playing with (only) two of the other acts on the six-act bill - Ell V Gore and Holy Cobras. That was a thrill, and they both put on excellent high energy sets. I am a huge fan of Simone TB's drumming in particular, wow. And Holy Cobras played my favourite song of theirs, "He's Rubber, I'm Real" (I'd been hoping they would for weeks, but I didn't dare get too excited in case it didn't happen...).

And now, a couple of crappy iphone pictures to break up all this text:

For my part, I had a bunch of technical crap go wrong, which is always frustrating - first, the adapter for my theremin (debut with the band) was missing once I got to the venue so I couldn't play that. Then the Cheeseman-Miszczyk telephone microphone I was using, so dependable at practise, crapped out halfway through our set.

Oh well. The guys played fiercely, the night was a lot of fun, I got to see five great bands, some old friends, and drink a whole bunch of $3.50 screwdrivers because I didn't have to drive home afterwards. Thanks to Erin Hagen and James Ryan Halpenny for putting it all together. Finally, here's a pic Ivy took of Jon from Teenanger wearing one of our setlists:

Addendum: I forgot to add that I finally met Joe from Mechanical Forest Sound at the Dirt Picnic, and had a nice chat with him. He's got tunes up by Teenanger and Holy Cobras recorded live that night, and told me to expect an actual review proper some time next year maybe... (he works at a similar pace to myself)

Saturday, 6 August 2011