LES SANS CULOTTES and SPHINXS with PATTI CAKE and The 8 1/2 at the Silver Dollar Room, Friday (April 12).
Four bands is a lot to take in on one night, but luckily all of these female fronted (and co-fronted) garage, rock and soul groups proved danceable.
Brooklyn's Les Sans Culottes - the fake French headliners of the evening - were sandwiched between Toronto's Patti Cake and Sphinxs, which meant that Sphinxs' raunchy triple guitar torch soul set felt late and a little brief, which was too bad.
With the best time slot, the best crowd, and the best hair (a wig?) Patti Cake all but stole the show. Singer Kritty Uranowski's got a voice so big that when she belted it for the first time it came as an eye-popping surprise; but rarer than that is the band's ability to take the crowd into their wacky musical world.
Les Sans Culottes are 15-year plus veterans of their campy brand of 60s French pop garage, complete with over the top Franglaise banter, care of lead man Clermont Ferrand. Though their irony's hard to get a handle on, their appreciation for Serge Gainsbourg, boy-girl vocals and wailing guitar solos is for real. By the middle of their set it didn't matter what was real or fake about the performance; it was fun.