Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Loose Pistons July 2013

Loose Pistons & Guests  |  Café Cleopatra

                                                            PHOTOS  |  VALERIA VEGA

Café Cleopatra is a pub-style venue in an area that hosts a pile of other venues such as Club Soda and Metropolis. As far as its interior is concerned, what makes it unique amongst the other venues in the city is that the dance floor, bar, and seating area are separated by a series of wooden railings. Other than that, it has a fairly sizeable stage and is generally marked by the effects of aging. Not surprising, considering that the venue has been around in Montreal since the age of the dinosaurs. However, what really makes this place stand out from the rest is that the building is famous for hosting a strip club (one of the best in the city, apparently) and a drag bar. It currently stands as one of the last fading remnants of Montreal’s red light district, despite the city’s attempts to clean up both it and the surrounding area. I support this place sticking around as strip clubs, like it or not, are as much of a defining feature of Montreal as the Canadiens, Just For Laughs, and poutine, and drag bars are just a great and grand time for everyone. Leamers opened the show.

Leamers are a local act, and they play a jangly brand of garage rock. Sometimes they pepper their songs with some tasty guitar harmonies, but they mostly stick to a more grungy and chord-based approach. They wobbled back and forth around the stage and inspired reverence within me. I enjoyed the riffs and the tones, and they slugged through their set with the fury and destruction of a sledgehammer.

Genital Hospital are yet more locals and they were good, too. I enjoyed the backup “woah-oh”s and their bendy riffs with brash tones that reminded me of a semi truck, a greyhound bus, and a Cessna plane colliding simultaneously colliding with one another on a desolate patch of the trans-Canada highway. It colored my world and it made me feel good. This band makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. In fact, as warm and fuzzy as the guitar tones that they use in their music. Great boogieing grungy rock music. Fun for the kids.

Loose Pistons were the last band. They stood out in appearance from the other groups in that the front man donned a fake fur leopard print jacket with tails and wore eye makeup that was reminiscent of Egyptian Pharaohs. They also differed from the rest in that they employed a trumpeter and a saxophonist to supplement their rock ensemble. The trumpeter was actually quite a thrill to listen to, as he wailed on his trumpet and was not shy at all to show off his skills on the horn. It was always a highlight of a song to hear him solo over the rest of the band. The saxophonist was a little subdued compared to the trumpeter, but he did get to showcase his skills here and there throughout the set. The music itself was firmly within the realm of rockabilly. The guitarists banged away on pentatonic melodies through vintage tube amplifiers (I also believe their bassist had a sunn bass head - always an impressive sight to see) along to the raw, yet melodic and sonorous vocals. These were some noisy jams, and perhaps the best of the night. I do, however, have a bit of advice for one of the guitarists: invest in some strap locks. The poor fellow had his guitar fall off his guitar strap at the beginning of the first song, and there was such damage to the guitar’s tuning that he had to reach for his second guitar and didn’t join the rest of the band until well into the song. Naturally, I applaud the band for soldiering on without him for the song like the professionals they are (a lesser band would have stopped), but having guitars fall off the strap is an indignity that nobody should suffer. It has happened to me in the past (I know the pain of having to hold up your axe sans strap while playing on stage), but I have avoided it for some time due to those wonderful inventions that one can acquire at any guitar shop. Nevertheless, everyone at the show was here to see Loose Pistons and they danced and moved around to this band’s set. Everyone got all wiggly with their body movements. They knew it was their time to shine and they dared not to displease the gods of rock n roll. It was a pure moment in music, and I only realized that when I was halfway home on the metro. I wept openly. 

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