I t was a great idea when the Sex Pistols did it in 1977, and it's a great idea now. Herd a bunch of tippling rock and rollers onto a boat, crack a few brews, set sail and plug in the amps.
While Saturday's cruise into Toronto Harbour lacked the debauchery that infamously marked the Pistols' joyride down the Thames, local musician and Fading Ways label entrepreneur Neil Leyton's Great Rock 'N' Roll Swashbuckle nevertheless proved to be a gas. And thank god for that, since there was no escape once the P.S. Trillium pushed away from the foot of Yonge.
With fog swirling as if on cue, Leyton and band -- Galore guitarist Barry Walsh, Sinisters drummer Brian Christopher and bassist Sean Kelly -- kicked things off right, quoting Leyton's glamorama new My New Soul disc and setting the tone with the kind of cocksure swagger that would have made Malcolm McLaren see dollar signs.
Though Leyton was clearly having trouble hearing his vocals -- he said as much from the makeshift stage -- the group's look-at-me deportment had the intended effect, drawing people from the lower deck to see what all the fuss was about. Sad, then, that Declan Nine's dull roar killed the momentum, but it was time for another drink and a quick pee anyway. And, hey, isn't that Maria Del Mar standing over there by Tijuana Bible thumper Stacey Case?
I can't remember the last time a large and otherwise unconnected group mingled so freely while looking so at ease. If, as your granny used to say, a change is as good as rest, then promoters should be looking for novel places to stage events, though by late September, weather is a serious consideration.
It all but scuppered former Images in Vogue singer Dale Martindale's performance with band 69 Duster. Sure, they sounded great, tossing in a couple of Vogue tunes for those old enough to remember. But by 11 pm a fierce wind had picked up, drastically lowering the temperature on the open-air upper deck.
It was obvious people wanted to watch, but it was just too damn cold. Besides, knowing that a full bar and a chatty, friendly pack of like-minded individuals were all toasty downstairs made braving it no option. Still, a blessedly different way to spend a Saturday night.
THE GREAT ROCK 'N' ROLL SWASHBUCKLE, aboard the P.S. Trillium, September 23. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 450. Rating: NNNN