Come Friday night I thought I'd try something a little different and choose bands to see not based on any previous knowledge or, like, "buzz" I'd heard about them, but instead simply by where they were playing. It would be arbitrary. Like closing your eyes, opening the fridge and grabbing a few random things to put in your mouth. Some could be tasty like maybe pickles or strawberries, and some could be not so much, like honeycomb tripe or a box of baking soda. And so it was, just like the aforementioned food analogy, a night of good and not-so-good.
First off was a stop at the Big Bop because, well, it has three levels so me and my lady friend figured if one band was wack we could check out others that might be un-wack. We popped into the Kathedral first, which was full with a young, fashionable crowd decked out in tight jeans, bang-heavy hair dos, tight, obscure hardcore band shirts and studded belts. Could it be? Was this like, EMO NIGHT or something magical like that?!?!? It was!!!
So first band we saw was called Cauterize, who were from Oshawa, and who sounded pretty much like Taking Back Sunday, which is to say that they sounded fantastically unoriginal. I noticed they'd also stuck up a bunch of their posters that indicated their recent EP had been produced by one of Canada's brightest and accomplished musical trend bottom-feeders, ex-Treble Charger dude/former Sum 41 manager Greg Nori. Remember that he was they guy that turned his actually not bad indie-rock outfit into an embarrassing pop-punk act (American Psycho anybody?). So basically if he's involved with something one can only assume that it's already been done to death. It's not like Cauterize were bad players or anything, and they certainly understood pop song dynamics, but the amount of unoriginality left them sounding no better than every other Alternative Press-approved band out there, of which there are many. A for effort though.
Then this band from Burlington came on called Sydney. They sounded exactly like Taking Back Sunday as well. They even did that sing/scream thing with these really earnest-sounding vocals and lots of what looked to be pre-choreographed posturing, like they were really feeling the music. People seemed to like them though, and they'll probably actually end up being moderately popular with the kids, but after them and Cauterize's set, I can't help but assume that emo bands are now officially the new boy bands.
Upstairs there was this awesome band from Montreal called Hollerado. They dressed like the Beatles and sounded kind of like Joel Plaskett, but all four of them sang, including the drummer. They were incredibly charming and tight-sounding. Unfortunately not many people were there to see them, which was a shame.
There was this Australian Night at Rancho Relaxo, so we went there to check out this dude named Lindsay Phillips. He was pretty tall and he wore cowboy boots. He had this dark folk vibe going on with this really rich baritone voice that sounded like Nick Cave and the guy from Crash Test Dummies (but nearly as annoying as Brad Roberts). It all sounded nice when we could hear it, but it sure is difficult to hear someone performing when the entire freaking bar is talking over it. Phillips would have done way better had people actually been listening to him.
Action Makes played at the Silver Dollar later, and they were awesome. They sounded all garage-rock and bluesy post-punk sometimes. Then theyhad Adam from the Easy Targets come up and play harmonica, which was cool cause he's a really good harmonica player.