Mick Thomas, August 7
During the time since Mick Thomas was last in Toronto, his boisterous bar band Weddings, Parties, Anything enjoyed the fleeting glory of a huge Australian radio hit, Father's Day, only to be dropped by their label when they couldn't repeat it and subsequently split. Thomas started his own Croxton label (www.croxtonrecords.com) and and has released a few critically lauded discs loaded with bittersweet charm, but the poor turnout at the El Mocambo Thursday suggests his WPA achievements have largely been forgotten. Undeterred by the constant chatter, Thomas showed he hadn't lost his sharp sense of wit - he kept the attentive few roaring in their stageside seats with his salty banter - nor has he lost his knack for coming up with engaging tunes like the hilarious Half A Dog, a cautionary tale about pet custody from his great new The Horse's Prayer (Croxton) double-disc.
A rousing encore backed by the members of Train Wreck managed to get a couple of hairy hombres bounding silly in their regulation Aussie boots.
Smooch, August 9
Gobs of people turned out at the Bovine Sex Club Saturday night for the debut of SMOOCH , a local all-girl KISS cover band led by Kim Bingham . Some may remember Bingham from ska band Me Mom and Morgentaler . She later became indie singer/songwriter Mudgirl , then switched back to her own name before turning up as Gina Simmons in the girl-powered KISS tribute act. It's the type of shtick that would have worked even if SMOOCH stunk, but it was nice that they didn't. The makeup was spot on, as were the fashion choices, and they rocked through the hits (and some lesser-known faves) with flair and grace, sounding remarkably tight for their first gig. I especially liked drummer Petra Kriss 's rendition of Beth. If the cheese rock thing must be done, SMOOCH have the best way of doing it.
Katy Rose, August 11
As a hungry crowd filled their mouths with complimentary food and drinks at V2 's showcase for new signee Katy Rose , many wondered what the big deal was. What sort of music would a precocious 16-year-old L.A. gal - whose father, keyboardist Kim Bullard , was in Poco - need to make to get a record deal these days? Sassy music, that's what! Appearing barefoot on the Rivoli stage, Rose strummed her guitar and wailed with rocky conviction backed by her band. She also played keyboards for her song Snowflake. Since snowflakes don't fall in Los Angeles, it's possible that the song is about cocaine. The attentive crowd responded with middling applause, but it didn't really matter to Rose. The show was just the beginning of a crazy roller-coaster ride for America's younger, blonder and potentially even more fucked-up answer to Avril Lavigne . It was bound to happen sooner or later.