Whitey Houston vs. C'mon with the Brutal knights and no no zero on Saturday (September 17) at 9 pm, and with Brutal knights and From Fiction on Sunday (September 18) at 3 pm (all ages), at the Rivoli (332 Queen West). $7 each show. 416-596-1908. Rating: NNNNN
If Dancing with the Stars finalists John O'Hurley and Kelly Monaco can settle their dispute over television ballroom dancing supremacy with a dance-off Tuesday (September 20), surely Edmonton's Whitey Houston and Toronto's C'mon can decide who should wear the Canuck stoner boogie crown with a live rock-off. Or so you'd think. From all accounts of their first showdown at Edmonton's New City Likwid Lounge back in May, the two amped-up crews blasted away to an ear-ringing stalemate. So the stage is set for the Rivoli rematch, and the Whitey Houston duo of drum-bashing Gravy and bass-beating Whitey have electrical-tape moustaches affixed and are ready for bruising battle.
"To be diplomatic about it," says Gravy from a road stop in Halifax, we're saying that the first rock-off was a draw, but between you and me, I think we both know whose asses got kicked on our home turf that night. We'll see how it goes in Toronto."
Initial discussions about splitting a bill began cordially enough over beverages during the Liquor and Poker label showcase at Emo's in Austin during South By Southwest 2005. Since Whitey Houston had a venue booked in May for their debut CD release party in Edmonton, they invited C'mon to join them. But when it came to deciding who'd play first, that's when the trouble started.
"We thought they should play last," explains Gravy, "but they were saying they had to go on first because it was our release party. One thing led to another, and we decided that the only way we could settle it was a rock-off.
"Well, word got out, and about 400 people showed up for the gig. We set up on either end of the stage, and the plan was to trade song for song, but silly Ian Blurton started a drum showdown in the middle of it, and then they started inviting people from the audience to come up, so by the end of it there were, like, 50 people onstage just total chaos. We had to do it again."
That's not exactly the way Blurton remembers how the first rock-off went down in Edmonton.
"Right from the beginning they were trying to rig the coin toss so they could play first," says Blurton. "I had to pay the referee $20 just so he'd keep it fair and square. They always like to talk about how heavy they are for just two people, but they're the ones who had to resort to having a secret guest join them onstage. What's that about?"
Evidently, the Whitey Houston hombres have more tricks planned for the two-day sonic brawl in Toronto. Gravy, at least, sounds very confident almost too confident.
"They're really skinny. I mean, we're not that huge ourselves, but I think Whitey and I outweight all three of them combined they're all hair!
"And we are working on a secret weapon for the Toronto show. I can't say what it is right now, but if it comes together it'll be real sweet."
Blurton doesn't sound surprised to learn that Whitey Houston are plotting how to bend the rules of engagement for the rematch. He's been thinking along the same lines.
"Secret weapons, eh?" ponders Blurton. "Well, it's our job to get them their gear for the Toronto show, so hopefully we can find them a nice set of Simmons electronic drums and some tiny practice amps.
"I'm looking forward to this."