THE KETAMINES with SAM COFFEY AND THE IRON LUNGS at Parts & Labour, Friday, January 25. Rating: NNN
The Shop under Parts & Labour had a show planned for Friday, but when the would-be headliner cancelled, the bar had to throw together a lineup at the last minute. Luckily, the venue is at its best in impromptu situations. Thin sound and diminished sightlines might not always be optimal for visiting bands looking for a showcase, but it's perfect for a raw, beer-spilling, informal love-in.
Toronto locals Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs relished the basement house party vibe. The band cultivates a loose, twangy garage-punk attitude, but the six-piece carries a surprising dose of musicianship under the slop. Oldie hooks and surf-rock guitar leads seemed somewhat studied, but the catchy, shouted choruses still provoked audience members to jump up to the mics and sing along.
Originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, the Ketamines have become a familiar sight on Toronto stages since moving to town. They fit the atmosphere on this night, playing fun, upbeat garage-psych throwbacks complete with brazen farfisa organ and cowbell.