planet kensington up for grabs
Environmentalist Stuart Parker once said that artists are the shock troops of gentrification, but this time the artists are holding out. Visitors to Kensington Market will have noticed the sign "Bar for sale" on Baldwin's Planet Kensington, a long-standing home to punk rock in the city.
"There was a time when there were often two or three bands a day, all different kinds," says Steve Goof, bar manager and singer with resident band Bunchofuckingoofs.
The bar largely showcases punk, but also exhibits work by local artists and sells beer for a modest 3 bucks. Local residents afraid of the onslaught of condos and chain stores can rest easy.
"I know the owners aren't going to let it go to anyone if they don't like what they plan to do with it," says Goof. "It's been a place for musicians and artists for more than 15 years, and that should continue."
august 7, the red hot chili peppers
Until the Red Hot Chili Peppers dropped into town last week to hype their new By The Way (Warner) disc, they were completely unaware of HMV's spat with the Warner label over wholesale prices and HMV's subsequent refusal to stock their latest release.
"I gotta tell you, I'm just finding out about this," admitted drummer Chad Smith at the Four Seasons Hotel. "I didn't know until today, and I'm, like, 'Really? I thought we were doing really well in Canada.' Apparently we are, with or without HMV.
"Y'know, people go in and they ask for the latest Alanis Morissette or Metallica or Chili Peppers and they're told they have to get it somewhere else. I don't think it hurts us as much as it might a newer artist or a Canadian artist."
Singer Anthony Keidis smirked, "I guess I'd rather sell records than not sell records," as though the question about being used as pawn in a corporate power struggle was the stupidest thing he'd ever heard. After the Peppers' upcoming tour of Japan and Australia, they should be back in Toronto for a show toward the end of the year or the beginning of 2003.
august 8, tegan and sara
Now 21, Tegan and Sara have spent less than five years in the cutthroat business of music, but they're as jaded and bitter as any industry vets. At least that's the impression they gave during their Rivoli showcase last Thursday night. Watching them face off against a room of leather-shirted industry types and hysterical, drooling baby dykes made me wish they'd kept their attitude a bit more in check.
Dolled up like glam rocker babes in tight jeans, 80s-style belts and shaggy grown-out coifs, the sweet-faced twins stumbled through material from their new If It Was You (Superclose/Universal) disc (see review, page 46). When not trading guitars back and forth, they played up their bratty sibling shtick and whined about the shittiness of their jobs. The ballsy new tunes were solid, if a little too rockin' for the placid confines of the cramped room.
Either they're a bit outta practice or the monitors at the Rivoli aren't up to snuff, because the ladies' vocals sounded flat.
They'd better get their game on before coming back to tour with the album.