Friday, June 11, 2004

FringePop Day 1

World Famous Riflemen, Les Mods, Fantasy

With rumours circulating about PonyUp forcing a member to have her teeth replaced or capped or replaced with crunky ODB-style gold ones, about PopMontreal's Communication Guru disappearing on a red-eye flight to Connecticut on Wednesday with a controversial and possibly anti-Semitic t-shirt, as well as about PopMontreal head Dan Seligman's recent conversion to either Leonard Cohen-style Zen Buddhism or joining a group of boots-n-braces skins, the PopMontreal-curated portion of the Fringe Festival began. Yes, I hate theatre-people, too.

There were a couple of issues with the FringePop portion of the Fringe Festival even prior to the bands taking the stage - firstly, the Condo Association representing the residents next door to the park had negotiated a 90db limit on sound (which, despite it being a rock show, is relatively fair - exposure to 90db results in hearing loss over a 7-8 hour period - after that, the period is cut in half with every increase of 5db) and secondly, none of the larger acts asked to initially perform at the opening of the Fringe panned out - Buck 65, formerly known as both Stinkin' Rich and Richard Tefry, either wasn't available or didn't like negotiating with theatre-hippies. (Other possibilities: The Dears, Wolf Parade) Thankfully the organizers don't appear to be Hour fans, and the fourth-rate Le NY Dolls coverband, Poxy, weren't offered the opening night slot.

I arrived late, having missed both the opening set by the World Famous Riflemen and Les Mods (they of the rapidly rising chart-position at the UQAM station) after attempting to negotiate myself through the heavily-perfumed swarms on lower St. Laurent. The lanky fellow with the moustache and longer hair who plays in this group and who I've spotted at Korova (occasionally) plays in this group, he described the group as "shit."

Impending Pendantry!

Adam and I drank a couple of plastic cups of St. Ambroise (OFFICIAL SPONSOR) beer, smoked cigarettes and hung out as Fantasy set up. Immediately repressed memories of wretched East Van house-parties came flowing back as Fantasy began playing, opening with a rather mundane by-the-book take on Olivia Newton John's "Physical." Devo, Human League, Eurythmics, Survivor, blecht. It's not just that there's something terribly wrong with irony and music being chained together and forced to fuck, it's that they've been fucking for far too long and the stench is beginning to set into my clothes. People seemed to enjoy them - the familiar list of 80's songs performed along with a cadre of aerobics buffs led by a slightly obnoxious (wooooooah, really?) woman in a leotard and leg-warmers. I may have enjoyed it more had I known these people, had the sight of my seemingly prosaic friends come alive and strutting around a stage, high-kicking and growling along to karoake, slightly tipsy warmed my heart and made me appreciate their good natured sense of humour. The soundguy, for his part, seemed to be playing along, and though I don't know if that was an ironic fanny pack or an ironic ponytail on his part, I know that by the reverb he put on the snare drum microphone, his heart was in the right place.

Before leaving the stage, Fantasy admonished us to visit their website and to keep an eye out for performances every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of July, because as is common knowledge, a bad joke, repeated again and again, eventually becomes hilarious. I'll be checking out the performers tonight, including self-proclaimed (and therefore, nancy-boy wussie Phil Collins-lovers) Postal Service fans, Statue Park. Shame!

I should note that there was an error on the scheduling in the post below, which has now been fixed.

6pm Andrea Revel
7pm Statue Park
8pm ?Alice!


Anonymous said...

Dearest Mr. Watts,

Balogh here. I'm sure I've said it before but this page brings me great joy, you truly have a gift when it comes to prose. I'm waiting for the novel. Thank you also for kindly mentioning my musical projects, but to clarify, Baron Samedi E.S.Q.(Ecstatic Soul Quintet) not esq. (esquire). Truth be told I'm probably going to expand our lineup and change the name come fall, so I guess it's inconsequential. But yes, keep up the finery and I'll keep reading. Have a lovely summer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 'bout that, I've corrected it, good sir!

Jeremy Brendan said...

Hey, Poxy aren't a fourth rate New York Dolls cover band! They kick serious ass. Just ask Jamie O'Meara...he gave them a four out of five review and a cover story in his paper. (I suppose that only means something if you generally agree with his taste, which I must admit to wholeheartedly.)

Did you hear the Poxy song "I am Chemical"? It is a damned catchy tune, the kind that deserves to pollute the airwaves until the ultra-cool, MTL-hipster crowd gives up the charade and acknowledges its worth. Poxy prove that music doesn't always have to be subtle to succeed. They're like a Qu├ębecois AC/DC with glammy influences but a streetwise rhythm section. (Actually, that is beginning to sound a bit like the Dolls!)

Besides, it's about time that Montreal gets some down-n-dirty, pirate punk rock instead of just producing Our Lady Peace ripoffs. That's just my opinion...

Jay Watts III said...

I had more than enough of the down-n-dirty glammy garage rock on the West Coast with the Black Halos and Spitfires and Widows, etc. Re-arranging Stooges songs just doesn't hold my interest, even if ironic or preferrable to Our Lady Peace rip-offs. Anyway, I have a tendency to badmouth "flaccid cock rock" bands beyond my actual level of interest in them...