The Horseshoe is one of those Toronto venues that can make or break the performance of an up-and-coming band. The crowds are usually lackluster and sparse, and the seating accommodations are few and far between. However, fun was had BY ALL on April 6th when Magneta Lane, performing on the night of their CD release, followed by Republic of Safety on the stage.
The Toronto trio of Lexi, French and Nadia snarled their way through six or seven tracks from the album in question, Dancing With Daggers, and a few from past EP's like "Medusa" and "The Constant Lover." The songs themselves were stellar in their punk rock appeal, but more enjoyable was the band's camaraderie with one another, not to mention their deep appreciation for their fans. "It's absolutely amazing to have people standing in front of us right now!" Lexi would proclaim periodically, in that raspy voice of hers, while French would strum along, donning her best Chrissie Hynde-pout. As for percussions, Nadia was in top form, pounding along like a punk-infused, afro-wig wearin' Keith Moon. The girls completely formulate themselves into their own category of indie rock, combining the attitude of Joan Jett, the songwriting skills of Liz Phair and the brash mannerisms of The Donnas; if you don't know them by now, you will÷and soon.
Magneta Lane left the stage much too early, and with them the maddening crowd, except for a small few who remained loyal to Lexi's promise: "You guys better stick around for 'Republic'÷they are one of my new favourite bands!"
Packing not so much of a punch, Republic of Safety (ROS) stayed true to their idealistic thoughts on Canadian socialism as lead singer Maggie MacDonald would preach her politics on everything from immigration to imperialism. Newly added bass player Marlena Kaesler and veteran Jonny Dovercourt were awesome on the strings, as was drummer Evan Davies, yet MacDonald carried the show, usually by the throat, with her infectious energy and spirit, wailing through tracks like "Vacation" and "Disposable World."
Just as the clock struck midnight, ROS having left the stage to excited applause, the even smaller few had now begun to trickle out onto Queen Street. With about twenty enthusiasts remaining, MacDonald and Kaesler came from backstage to mingle with their fans, followed soon by Magneta, minus Nadia who resourcefully packed up her drum kit. Music, naturally, was the topic of conversation amongst the group when DJ Pam, quite fittingly, decided to put on Springsteen's "Dancing In The Dark"÷completely apropos of nothing. As we looked at one another perplexedly, French turned the awkward situation into a retro-dance party, leading everybody onto the floor where we continued to party (like it was 1999) to "÷Dark" and "Young Turks." Showing their versatility, Lexi cut a rug with her fans, French was swinging along with Maggie and Marlena, and the evening concluded with a more than perfect ending.
I came for the rock, but I stayed for the roll!
Writer: Adam Steel