Saturday, May 09, 2015

The OBGMs, The Pinholes and Rusty on CMW Friday

My time spent seeing bands for Canadian Music Week on Friday night was abbreviated due to another commitment, but three late night shows sufficed.

High-energy punk band The OBGMs took the Velvet Underground stage at midnight amidst black and white balloons and in front of a very decent-sized crowd. Lead singer/guitarist Densil McFarlane demanded that the audience members raise their hands above their heads, jump, clap, sit on the floor and sing along when he wasn't tossing balloons or mini lights at them, and most obeyed his commands. The Toronto quartet certainly doesn't lack enthusiasm, but it has a shortage of real songs.

Hunger struck and I got a donair at Falafel Queen in the middle of a police investigation. A woman had apparently just peed in the doorway and a man had swung a knife at the restaurant proprietor, so the cops were checking security cameras and looking for the miscreants. Hockey Night in Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos was also on hand for the adventure, and it was good to get caught up with him since we hadn't seen each other for several months.

The Pinholes
I moved southwest to The Paddock to see The Pinholes, and the five-piece band crowded on to a tiny stage where three musicians might uncomfortably fit. I was struck by the group members' matching black and red striped slacks, red shirts and black suit jackets while they were setting up, and once they started playing it didn't take long to figure out that I had just discovered my favourite Singaporean surf/power pop/garage rock band of all time. There were only about 30 of us on hand, but everyone was totally into it with a lot of folks dancing and some of them lifting the lead singer/guitarist above their heads near the end of the 40-minute set. Fun throwback sounds abounded and I highly recommend catching The Pinholes if you get a chance.

There was a lineup outside the Bovine Sex Club for Rusty's 2 a.m. show, but it was worth the relatively short wait. I was a fan of the Toronto alt.rock outfit in the late '90s (and wore a vintage Rusty T-shirt on Friday to prove it), but hadn't seen the band since it broke up in 2000. I'd missed a couple of reunion shows over the past year, but I'm happy to say that Ken MacNeil and company aren't showing any rust. They had the crowd eating up everything they did, which included such past favourites as "Soul for Sale," "California," "Empty Cell," "Wake Me" and others. It brought back fond memories and was a good way to cap off the night.