Lemmy live tribute at the Silver Dollar honoured a fallen legend…

... and was a great way to check in on Toronto's rock scene


IAN BLURTON BAND, MIDNIGHT TOWERS, THE MERCY NOW and others as part of LIVE TRIBUTE TO LEMMY at the Silver Dollar, Thursday, February 11. Rating: NNN

When Lemmy Kilmister died six weeks ago, the internet was ablaze with tributes and memorials to the fallen Motorhead leader, whose likeness is set to be cast in bronze and erected outside his favourite hangout, The Rainbow, in L.A. (There’s also a petition to get a newly discovered element named after him – Lemmium.)

But we live in a fast-moving world, and Lemmy’s death was quickly eclipsed by David Bowie’s on January 10, and every day it seems like another notable musician leaves this earth, and it was a “school night,” and it all added up to a not so large turnout for the Lemmy tribute at the Silver Dollar.

The participating bands, each playing two or three songs, still gave ‘er, with sets focused not only on Motorhead’s output but also a wee bit of Hawkwind’s, the 70s cosmic rock band in which Kilmister learned the ropes.

Despite a low-energy 10 pm crowd, the Cola Heads – Colahead on this particular night – stood out for their blistering take on the Motorhead/Girlschool collaboration Please Don’t Touch, which saw singer/guitarist Julian Swift trade off gritty vocals (through a mic positioned Lemmy-style) with guitarist Jacquie Neville. Bassist Curtis Faux took over lead vocals on Bomber. 

SAGO emphasized Motorhead’s punk influence with a hardcore-ish spin on Speedfreak and Iron Fist, while local duo Mad Ones worked out solid renditions of The Chase Is Better Than The Catch and Dr. Rock, enhanced by HotKid’s Shiloh Harrison on bass. (Trios were the theme of the night, rightly so.) 

The Mercy Now had the unenviable job of delivering Lemmy’s best-known song, Ace Of Spades, which didn’t completely hit the mark, but Midnight Towers brought a fun Sunset Strip street-tough sneer to Killers, No Class and Rock N’ Roll, thanks to lithe singer Mark Threat who mostly sang from the crowd.

Hawkwind lovers got satiated thanks to Ian Blurton’s sonically huge late-night set that included Lost Johnny, The Watcher/Sonic Attack and Time We Left This World Today. His mighty guitar sound, wah-wah-pedal mastery and super-heavy riffing were on full display, effectively set against General Chaos’s trippy light show. 

Scared Bunny reminded us not to forget about the badassery of a tune like Love Me Like A Reptile, while the night overall served as both a fun tribute to a legend and a great way to catch up on Toronto’s blazing rock and roll scene.

carlag@nowtoronto.com | @carlagillis

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