Canadian Music Week with Death From Above, The Smugglers & The Evaporators

The Smugglers Death From Above
The Horseshoe Tavern
March 6, 2004
Death From Above - Horseshoe Tavern - 9:30pm

Taking the stage at the Horseshoe, it was clear that Death From Above weren't going to sound like the White Stripes. Sporting metal mustaches, they sure didn't look like Meg and Jack at any rate. But how different bass and drum outfits sound from one another?

DifferentÖvery different.

I have been thanking my guardian angel for providing me with the foresight to bring earplugs because Death From Above were very much hell-bent on destroying what little hearing anyone had left on the final day of Canadian Music Week.

The show is best described as Skid Row meets Ron Jeremy meets Atari Teenage Riot meets Peter FramptonÖor something like that. "Sauce Bomb" and "Cum Shelf" banter are always welcome at rock shows, as is the vocoder (woohoo vocoder!). Not to mention one bad ass drummer threatening to completely trash his kitÖsadly this never happened. What a tease.

The amazement factor kicked in quickly; not only did Jesse Keller's bass sound like it was being accompanied by a crunchy guitar, but drummer Sebastien Grangier defies all natural laws of music and sang whilst drumming (insert drummer jokes here folks, this doesn't happen often).

They may not have popped my ear drums, but Death From Above did cause a few minor heart palpitations - definitely a greater achievement.

The Smugglers - Horseshoe Tavern - 11:30pm

The Smugglers to the rescue! Decked out in their concert finest, The Smugglers wasted no time getting the dedicated Canadian Music fans to their feet. In some cases, those feet had been attached to a body slightly polluted with beer, and wound up on stage. Oh punk rockÖ

Doomed to keep repeating their most famous audience participation trick, The Smugglers handed out their dance competition trophy - a nice-sized piece of golf hardware. Nothing like handing someone a sharp pointy object in a crowd of people to make things interesting. Fear not, eye injuries went unreported.

Though infinitely entertaining, The Smugglers had perhaps stayed on stage a wee bit too long. I mean, the pop punk thing is wicked. They've got 15 years of material. But it seems it was all written during the same 5 years. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" works well when doing home renovations, but when writing music, variety is the spice of life.

The Evaporators - Horseshow Tavern - 1am

The band to show up all bands. The gig to show up all gigs. The body hair. The plaid. Thor. No two words can sum up The Evaporators set any better than HOLY SHIT.

There is nothing quite so ridiculous than Nardwar the Human Serviette jumping up and down like a sissy, big grin on his face, clad in a maple-leaf wool sweater and plaid pants. Those were quickly removed (and replaced with less sweaty clothing) but the exposure to excessive body hair was not brief.

In fact, some lucky fans even got to touch his Nardiness as he crowd surfed. First his organ went out, then he went out, then both went out and Nardwar played for us all, instrument and body supported by nothing more than a joyously intoxicated, and wobbling, crowd of people.

Then, mother of all surprises, friggin' THOR joined nerd-master Nard on stage. THOR. Canada's METAL GOD. Wearing hilarious death-metal cock-spikes and silver shiny plastic. Thor graced the Horseshoes' patrons with a couple of demonstrations of his skills; first a hot-water bottle was blown to about 2 feet in diameter. Next, a steel rod bent between Thor's teeth. One young Scottish lad was so impressed he decided to show Thor, and half the crowd, his rod (though its' believed his intentions were more posterior-oriented).

Never has suspected insanity been so much fun, never has a band come close to being fried alive by drunken boys spilling beer on stage, never has there been a greater performance in the history of Canadian rock n roll.

Writer: Erica Basnicki

Photo:Erica Basnicki

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