Sunday, June 17, 2012

One for the Ages - Bovine Sex Club NXNE

When people ask me what my greatest show of all time is, I am fortunate to have a knee-jerk reaction response.  In 2007, I saw a Pop Montreal line-up at Bar St. Laurent 2 that set the bar for live music for years to come. It was the combination of incredible bands, a great space, lots of beer and an X factor on the night that just made it incredible. While I need to give it a few days to settle in, last night's NXNE showcase at the Bovine is currently in competitive form to take down my long front-runner.

The night opened with Romeo Liquor Store, a band I'd been following for 2 or 3 years since stumbling upon them online. They've been around for almost a decade and I had thought they weren't gigging any more. Having to carry the load of an early set and a smaller crowd, RLS still put up a high energy set of in-your-face, no bullshit rock. Throwing in a Misfits cover and playing songs from their old and new repertoire, the Bovine's cherry was thoroughly popped for the night and she was ready for an evening she wouldn't soon forget.

Organ Thieves took over at 10pm, and were a decent surprise. I'd heard their name floating around for a while and had probably even listened to some of their recorded stuff, but this was my first time seeing them live.  They had a solid gritty rock sound that made me think of the Gaslight Anthem. Songs were great and you could tell by their tightness that that this was a band who'd put in their dues playing live. That said, what impressed me the most was the chops of their lead guitarist, Dave.

Oh and how the fun continued once The Mercy Now took over. Every time I see this band live, their sound gets tighter, their songs get better and their stage presence gets even more over the top. Kidnapping two girls who can't have been legally allowed in that bar, the boys rocked their way around, and off the stage with go-go dancers in tow. Russ' voice sounded like he'd been eating sandpaper and still amazingly keeping on key, the dual flanking of David Viva and Adam Burnett ripped through the air all the while with Lee Rogers struggling to hold this force of a band together with his mighty crashes.  It was beautiful, it was loud, it was rock.

Now, what favourite show of mine would be complete without the blues rocking of Little Foot Long Foot? The trio was as together as I'd ever heard them and Joan managed to play through an entire set without breaking her guitar over the head of the moron who was gangster-dancing along on stage. As Iain put it, "if you're too dumb to realize you're being mocked...get off the stage." Still, dancers aside LFLF brought the rock and lifted the room with the powerful duo of Joan and Caitlin's sirenesque voices. Don't worry Isaac, you still kicked ass and destroyed many ear drums.

AND LET THE BOOGIE BEGIN! Ladies and gentlemen, Flash Lightnin. Please allow your jaws to ease onto the floor. No matter how many times I see this band live, 2 things always happen: my body looses control to the boogie beat emanating off the stage and I get the urge to give up playing guitar after watching what front-man Darren Glover can do with the thing. He doesn't so much solo as he does dance with his guitar musically through each song and physically around the bar. Friends were wanting to leave, but I insisted we stayed to the end, knowing full well that FL would close with an ever-changing version of Hobo that always leaves me wanting more.

At 2pm there was a secret band.... but I didn't care. I wasn't about to let some wild card ruin my night of rock, so we left, grabbed late night lunch next door at Shanghai Cowgirl and cabbed our drunk asses home. Yeah, that was damned good night.

-Pure and unconditional; feels so untraditional; help me get my feet back down