In contrast to the hyped up and glamorous Juno music awards in London this weekend, the real burgeoning Canadian music scene was to be found last night at Call The Office. This legendary London hot spot for up and coming, underground rock legends is an essential stop on the map of great Canadian music venues. With a collection of framed pictures plastering the walls of impressive, big name music stars who made appearances there, and with an equally impressive selection of pin ball machines, Call The Office’s place in history is felt from the moment you enter inside.
To open the stage last night was Eve’s Bush. Singer/songwriter Jade Bennett is certainly not the first person you would expect on stage at a rock venue, but her soul bearing set of classic song covers, complete with her delicate ukulele handiwork and angelic vocals brought the audience out of the freezing cold March weather and into the warmth of her music.
Next up was five-piece London based outfit, State Of Mind. An eclectic barrage of musical virtuoso’s, the group played an explosive metal infused hard rock set. It was as if the members were engaged in a “try and top this” call and response match, with the guitar duo trading licks and solos with each other, while the seemingly small and unimposing female drummer, delivered brutal drum fills and breakdowns that could have been the soundtrack for a viking army going to war. Between the blood thirsty rhythm section, the face melting guitar duo and the moody, doom prophesying vocalist/front-woman, the band could have been mistaken for a super group of heavy-metal legends.
Nameless Friends came on next. Aside from having a killer name and band logo, the band more than lived up to their image. Their set delivered a fun, groovy mix of power pop ballads, that were both catchy, but angst-y. The band managed to get the crowd dancing, but at the same time, the depth of their songwriting had the ability to inspire moments of introspection and reflection for the more subdued listeners. Nameless Friends can be found next opening up for Glass Cactus at the London Rec room April 5th.
To end the streak of talented, female-fronted bands, Terminal Joy came on next. Matt just came off of a week of laying in bed with a chest infection, so he was coughing up phlegm on the audience members, while Josh let out a cheesy pizza fart just minutes before going on that followed him from the back of the hall all the way to the stage and destroyed everyone in his path. El Avo meanwhile, was wearing mud caked boots that reeked of horse shit, but otherwise delivered a pretty decent attack of bass grooves that had Matt smashing his head on the cymbals. Josh, the newbie of the band, found his place at this show, keeping the band seemingly together with his tight drumming, Matt sucked as usual, letting his illness show all too much with his tired, sloppy, phlegmatic stage presence. Surely, everyone was happy when they finished their set. The highlight was during ‘Assault’ when Matts guitar cable came out and Josh made up for it by turning his furious drum playing to an 11 and Ave went into a bass playing mania.
Lastly, Hyness the headliners graced the stage. garage/punk/ poppy/fuzzy/dirty, Hyness makes it really difficult for anyone to contain them into a single genre. Highlighted with their sweet vocal harmonisation, while, backed with a pop/rock groovy rhythm section and fused together with colourful guitar effects, the band really is a complete package. The set was highlighted by their performance of their hit single “Choke” which features the sweet vocal duo singing with angelic voices about ‘sunshine’ over top a positively gritty instrument section replete with a guitar solo with a deliciously dirty fuzz tone. The song sounds like a 90’s teen movie turned nightmare. The audience is left unsure if they are walking off into the sunset to make love to their sweetheart, or to smash a brick through a window and cry into a pizza
If your’e ever in London, do yourself a favour and go to Call The Office, it’s there you’ll get a taste of real Canadian music, not at the Junos.
If your’e in Toronto, come see Terminal Joy at Soundtrack Of The City music festival April 4th at Bovine Sex Club.