Brutal Knights with Fucked Up , Career Suicide and Pink Eye at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Sunday (October 30). $5. 416-777-1777.
In the realm of punk rock, there's a thin line between stupid and moronic, and Brutal Knights frontman Nick Flanagan is trying his best to ignore it.
Consequently, the moonlighting stand-up's ridiculous song lyrics, head-scratchingly inane banter and unabashedly idiotic stage antics have quickly turned what could've been just a bad joke into Toronto's most consistently entertaining punk band. And having Hacksaw's hyperactive brother duo of Jon and Matt Sharron powering the group, along with bassist Daniella Costanzo and guitarist Katie Whittaker, gives the Brutal Knights an aggressive thrash attack worthy of their handle.
Together, they can simultaneously inspire frenzied moshing and loud laughter in a way rarely heard since the early-80s reign of West Coast punk ignoroids the Angry Samoans, Circle Jerks and the Descendents. No, this has nothing whatsoever to do with Blink 182. It's a much more refined level of foolery.
"From the time we got together," explains Flanagan, "we wanted to follow the K.I.S.S. rule you know, "Keep it stupid, simpletons.' Jon (guitarist Sharron) has a real gift for writing short rocking songs, so we condense them into two-minute blasts, and I write the world's dumbest lyrics to the stupidest song ideas ever. It's all just to have some fun.
"But no matter how dumb the lyrics get, I'm always going to sing them straight. I'm not into the Weird Al thing of adopting zany voices and stuff."
No wigs or weird vocals for Flanagan, but he isn't above resorting to Olde English to square-peg a rhyme. Just check their early classic, T.B.S.L. (from their split single of the same name), which contains the Flanagan-esque couplet "Some dame you like approacheth thee / You shit your pants and barf on she."
It should make perfect sense, then, that their forthcoming debut disc containing kickass versions of BK crowdpleasers Wet My Pants, So Fat, Teen Sex and Self-Gay Handjob and due in late November will be titled The Pleasure Is All Thine. Olde English is the way of the future, apparently.
"Ye Olde English is the real language of rock. You'll see, it's gonna be huge in 2006. George Bush is going to say something in Olde English, and everyone will be using it.
"Expect to see a lot of Gothic lettering, too. I think we're going to use Gothic type for our new single, Government Is Asshole."
Considering the typically inward-looking subject matter Flanagan deals with, Government Is Asshole with its pointed refrain "Government can go to hell, I hate government's smell" seems unusually political. It's splitting the group's audience.
"We played Government Is Asshole at a show opening for C'mon recently, and afterwards I was checking what people were discussing online I'm the group's designated Googler and I noticed a lot of people seemed to be confused by the song. One person wrote, "The Brutal Knights are pretty fun, but they shouldn't be doing a song called Government Is Asshole.' Some other dude was like, "I don't think they're a joke band, but they're definitely taking the piss out of something.'
"But people in Quebec really responded to Government Is Asshole. It could be the new separatist anthem. We played it at a show in Sherbrooke and the place went, umm, bananes!"
So far the audience has been considerably less enthusiastic about Flanagan's insistence on taking off his shirt onstage. He's got a streak of 12 consecutive shirtless shows and has no plans to stop.
"I don't care what people think," he says. "I've got a really hot upper and lower body, and for now I'm just forgetting what's in the middle. But it's great to have a gut if you ever get the urge to pour a beer into your belly button. It happens.
"We ran into some kids after a show with Danko Jones, and one of them said, 'The Brutal Knights are so inspiring, like, you don't have to be fit to rock.' That's some kind of achievement."