Friday, May 08, 2015

WOMPS, Les Marinellis, Bad Girls, Broncho, Twin Guns and Gateway Drugs at CMW on Thursday

Glasgow, Scotland trio WOMPS played a set of punk-fuelled indie rock to less than 10 people at Cherry Cola's Rock N' Rolla Cabaret on Thursday night and, while they seemed like nice lads, you didn't miss much if you weren't part of that small audience. The singer/guitarist's T-shirt and hair hanging over his face reminded me of Kurt Cobain, but his music didn't. While things picked up as the set went on, several songs were more atonal than anticipated and the band didn't live up to my expectations.

Les Marinellis
Things picked up significantly when I ventured north on Bathurst Street to Sneaky Dee's, where Montreal's Burger Records-signed act Les Marinellis played a set that reminded me of Black Lips. I wasn't able to see the quintet in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest Music Festival in March as I had hoped and was happy to catch it in my hometown. It was another small crowd, but this is a band deserving of a significant fan base with its melodic, retro rock and roll sound and a charismatic, barefoot and bare-chested frontman who spent significant amounts of time on the floor and sitting on the front of the stage while delivering nasally vocals that suited the garage-y tunes to a tee.

Bad Girls
Toronto trio Bad Girls was up next at Sneaky Dee's and was just as entertaining. There was nothing fancy or unique about its rock and roll, but well-crafted, hook-laden songs floated effortlessly from the stage. The band covered Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams," and its original tunes were even better. The only negative I can think of is that, at 25 minutes, the set just wasn't long enough.

I caught Broncho at SXSW and liked the Norman, Okla. group well enough to see it again at the Horseshoe Tavern. As with Bad Girls, catchy indie rock songs abounded. If you like King Tuff, Weezer, power pop and '80s new wave, you should enjoy this hook-happy band. Two free shots of Jim Beam from company representatives didn't hurt either.

Twin Guns
I headed west to the Bovine Sex Club to take in Twin Guns, a Brooklyn, N.Y. band with three black leather-clad, dark sunglasses-wearing bad-asses -- including female bassist Kristin. Drummer Jungle Jim used to play with The Cramps, and that element was definitely evident in the sound along with strains of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jesus and Mary Chain. It was dark, brooding and great.

Gateway Drugs
I stayed at the Bovine for Gateway Drugs, which opened for Jesus and Mary Chain's Toronto show last Friday. The Los Angeles band wasn't as drone-drenched live as it is on its solid new album, Magick Spells. The group rocked hard while performing its dark, psychedelic-influenced songs and a cover of The Count Five's 1965 garage rock classic, "Psychotic Reaction."

Sean Lennon, who will perform at the Horseshoe Tavern tonight with his band Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, dropped by the Bovine briefly and I had a chance to have a short conversation with him and shake his hand. 

I had George Harrison's phone number after surreptitiously jotting it down when I saw it sitting on a desk at Jeff Healey's house several years ago, but he never picked up whenever I called him. And since I don't think Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr will be coming over for dinner anytime soon, my brush with Lennon is probably as close a personal connection to The Beatles as I'll ever have.

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