Blow up 8th anniversary with les sequelles and the chains at the Horseshoe, January 3. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 175. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
A long-time favourite of college students, anglophiles and people who are unafraid to make out with others in public, DJ Davy Love's popular Britpop/retro dance night Blow Up celebrated its eighth birthday at a venue not amazingly well equipped for dancing last Saturday night. Although far from an unbearable choice, the Horseshoe provided a feel rather different from Blow Up's usual cavernous Lee's Palace lodgings. For one, there was far less available floor space. This probably contributed to the fact that far fewer people were dancing.
To pull out the stops and celebrate in style, Love invited a couple of Montreal-based practitioners of modern-day garage rock. First up were Les Sequelles , who hopped onstage at 10:45 pm to a seated, semi-empty room, busting their somewhat garagey pop onto the appreciative and sporadically dancing crowd.
Perhaps the early set time worked against them. A slightly more beered-out crowd may have been more eager to move.
Whatever the case, the band can't be faulted for lack of trying. They switched vocalists a couple of times, sang in both national languages, incorporated a guest saxophonist and played with constant energy and a semi-kitschy pizzazz that was fun, particularly on French-language party tunes like Acheter Notre Disque. With lead guitarist Daniel Fiocco , a veteran of Montreal 60s rockers Platon et Les Caves, Les Sequelles have a solid but far from groundbreaking sound.
Soon after they ambled off, the Chains began to play. From the less obviously garagey looks of the band members and from the first note out of lead singer (and former Spaceshit) Alex Boivin 's throat, it was clear they take a more soul-based based approach to their 60s rock. They finally got the larger and drunker crowd on their feet, lending the room some energy.
The band was tight, and although not every song was a gem, there were no stinkers.
Neither the Chains nor Les Sequelles advanced any art forms, but that's not the point when the entire night is dedicated to old music, right? With two faithful garage rock bands playing to colourfully frocked hipsters, the show felt more like Rancho Relaxo's Kaleidoscope than Blow Up, but that's a pleasant vibe.
After the Chains' set, London DJ Rob Bailey hit the turntables, and the dance-night vibe returned somewhat. But you know what this party really could've used? Austin Powers.