The Reigning Sound at the Horsehoe

THE REIGNING SOUND at The Horseshoe Tavern,.

THE REIGNING SOUND at The Horseshoe Tavern, Saturday (October 25). Rating: NNNN

In the six years I’ve lived in Toronto, I’ve seen ex-Oblivian Greg Cartwright’s Reigning Sound three times. It’s always at the Horseshoe. It’s always more or less the same: packed house of flannel and denim and toques, a set list of Reigning Sound standards cut with tracks from whatever new record they’re pushing, dotted with a raucous run-through of The Oblivians “Bad Man.” And it’s always the best.

Seeing Reigning Sound-the the that’s recently been jimmied in front of the band’s name doesn’t sit right with me. It’s too formal and haughtily denotative for something so satisfyingly casual, and so I just won’t abide it-feels like seeing a friend from high school every few years and picking up wherever you left off.

With the passing years, everyone’s a bit heavier from a routine of beer and burger abuse. The shows mellow, as life mellows as time’s ambivalence laps over it, as sweaty mosh pits morph into lip-synched sing-alongs and some seriously heavy-duty back patting and shoulders grabbing. The friends you’re there double fisting crinkled tall cans with turn into the friends you’re there double fisting sickly sweet Molson Ciders with turn into the friends you’re there single fisting rye-and-soda sippers with. But they’re your friends. And that they’re there, and that they too know all the words to Time Bomb High School and Reptile Style and We Repel Each Other and, naturally, Bad Man, validate this shaggy, smiling, dumpy dude fraternity. And, fuck you, it’s nice. OK?

Anyway the band was good. They had a Telly Savalas impersonator open for them, which wavered between being weirdly funny and annoying in precisely the way that the words “Telly Savalas impersonator” would suggest.

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