Friday, November 23, 2012

Rezillos weren't quite revved up in Toronto

Can't Stand The Rezillos was one of my most listened to albums at the dawn of the '80s when I was in my mid-teens, after the Scottish outfit had transformed into The Revillos and shortly before it disbanded.

I never thought I'd see The Rezillos, but it reformed in 2001 and I was lucky enough to catch it at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas in 2005. My youthful enthusiasm for the group's exuberant mix of punk, new wave and '60s pop hadn't diminished and witnessing it for the first time was truly something special.

The Rezillos are still touring and finally made it to Toronto on Nov. 22, and it was a show I was really anticipating. But the band came on a bit late, was using the opening act's equipment and didn't seem at the top of its game. Most of the people in the decent-sized crowd -- composed largely of old punks (this was one of the rare shows when I was probably in the younger percentile) -- likely hadn't seen the group before but seemed to realize that, while entertaining, The Rezillos weren't meeting expectations.

Founding members and co-vocalists Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds still tried to look the part of their youth, with Fife wearing a latex-like green mini-skirt and Reynolds decked all in black -- including a leather jacket and sunglasses. Fife still go-go danced and shimmied and Reynolds occasionally picked up the guitar to augment the latest lineup, which also includes original drummer Angel Patterson, bassist Chris Agnew and guitarist Jim Brady, who was decked out in a Capt. Kirk Star Trek shirt.

The Rezillos opened with the solid new single "Out Of This World" before giving the crowd what it really wanted when it started cranking out old singles and Can't Stand The Rezillos gems, including "Flying Saucer Attack," "Getting Me Down" and "Cold Wars" before slipping in another more recent track, "Sorry About Tomorrow."

"Mystery Action" and "You're So Deep" took the 45-minute set to the halfway point before it continued with "It Gets Me," "Yesterday's Tormentor" and "Desination Venus." Momentum was gained down the home stretch when "Top of the Pops" deservedly got the biggest crowd response of the night to that point and "(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures" effectively followed it. A cover of "River Deep, Mountain High" and then "I Can't Stand My Baby" finished things off.

The set was so brief that an encore was almost certain, and The Rezillos quickly returned with old nuggets "Bad Guy Reaction" and the evening's biggest crowd-pleaser, "Somebody's Gonng Get Their Heads Kicked In Tonight."

The show ended on a definite high note, but the concert would have been even better had it been stretched out slightly to include "No," "2000 A.D." and The Rezillos' outstanding covers of "Glad All Over" and "I Like It" -- and perhaps even a couple of Revillos cuts.


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