The Patients/Prom Night Suicide Pack Play Toronto

The Patients/Prom Night Suicide Pack
Silver Dollar Room
June 6, 2004
On paper, you'd think a band with a name like Prom Night Suicide Pact would hail from somewhere in suburban Florida and play overcompensating odes to death and misery and÷ wait for it÷ Satan! Well, would you believe PNSP is actually an indie pop threesome hailing from southern Ontario? It's true. Under the influence of mid-90's alternative rock, PNSP (formerly known as the Electric Shoes) played originals with names like "Last Days of the World" and "The Kids of Columbine" and did a yeoman's job considering. Boasting buzzsaw guitars, a bespectacled singer and a powerhaus drummer, many of band's songs sounded a lot like New Order's "Ceremony" and were overall quite angsty. However, the band seems to be missing something intangible that would allow it to ascend to the next level. Don't get me wrong, PNSP definitely had chops and potential oozing out their One Stars. Yet there just didn't seem to be anything particularly memorable about their performance. Perhaps they should try wearing their clothes backwards next time or wearing silly hats on-stage÷ or something.

The Patients, on the other hand, seemed to have the joint in their back pocket the whole evening. Led by the affable Stu Stout, this Toronto five-piece strutted and chimed their way through a solid set of neo-country bangers and flippity guitar mash. Keyboardist Dave Schoonderbeek blanketed many of the songs in lines that were reminiscent of early Springsteen records but it served as a compliment, not an actual, um, blanket. The music of The Patients veered unabashedly towards 70's classic rock in a sense but that's not to say it sounded antiquated or retro in any sense of the word. Rather, the band demonstrated the dying art of being able to produce a fairly timeless set of melodies and licks through a strong understanding of composition and band dynamics. They're not afraid to leave obvious gaps in the music and the stringsmen merely sit back and ride the fader. Take "We're Gorgeous", one of the band's standout tracks. A goofy piano sermon sauntered along while Stout slurred his way through some funny lyrics about fame and infamy, sounding a bit like Jeff Tweedy during his Uncle Tupelo days. The Patients seemed content to follow their mid-tempo groove wherever it took them and for this, they deserve a firm handshake and not a punch in the stomach. Could this be the start of something? No, probably not. Because the Patients give the illusion of being far too righteous to fall into the trappings of your scene. Find yourself another train to jump.

Writer: Cameron Gordon

Photo:Cameron Gordon

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