THE SINISTERS with LOADED GUN, CHEERLEADER and RIDDLE at Lee's Palace, January 5. Tickets: $5. Attendance: 175. Rating: NNN
for anyone looking for a whole lotta cock with their rock, Lee's Palace on Saturday night was the place to be. With four all-boy bands on the bill, the testosterone quotient was through the roof. And judging from the flashy axes onstage, it was clear that the rocker dudes firmly believe that you can measure a man by the size of his tool.Wielding their instruments with the obligatory guitar-god faces, openers Loaded Gun proclaimed themselves the soon-to-be best hard rock/metal band in Toronto. Too bad they played a fairly flaccid set of loud, wanky guitar numbers with stuttering drums and stadium-sized alternarock ballads, including a whiny cover of Mr. Big's early-90s prom fave, To Be With You. Not so much Metallica, more like Matchbox 20.
After Loaded Gun shot blanks, the mood changed from Goo Goo Dolls to New York Dolls. The gloriously sleazy four-piece Cheerleadër swaggered onto the stage oozing sex appeal and swivelling their studded-denim-clad hips, then tore through a vicious cover of the Ramones' I Just Wanna Have Something To Do.
Frontman Lance Cobra snarled lyrics about blow jobs and fucking 17-year-olds with a glam-rock sneer, while bassist Ethan Cawke perched on the edge of the stage and bathed the headbangers and pogoers in spit and sweat. The set closed with a bang, aided by Intergalactic Rock Star Killer Ky, who vaulted onstage and hurled mike stands as he moshed with the band and spat at the loyal few front and centre on the floor.
Compared to Cheerleadër's seemingly effortless garage grit, the Sinisters' shock rock shtick came off a bit gimmicky. Lead Sinister Saint is notorious for his vicious live act, which often involves spilling his own blood, and he didn't disappoint. Smashing a bottle, the Kiss-faced, sinewy singer tore off his shirt, treated the punks upfront to a beer shower and writhed in the broken glass shards, then swung from the speakers and flung himself across the stage in ecstatic spasms.
It was a little too much spectacle and not enough music. For the most part, the set was one-note, based on loud, violent punk and Saint's antics. But when they mixed it up a bit with Blues Explosion-ish rockabilly accents building to an orgasmic frenzy, shaking the joint with relentless drums and low-end bass, the Sinisters soared.
Someone should tell those boys that delayed gratification is so much sexier. You don't wanna blow your wad too soon.