The last all-ages punk show at the Kathedral…

…that I’ll ever attend took place last nite, when the Dayglo Abortions made their annual January cross-country trip to the Queen Street venue.  That’s no knock on The Matadors or Oi Polloi; between my work and radio commitments, twas the gig that best fit onto my calendar.

Mind you, the Dayglos’ status as Kathedral regulars probably played into the decision, too.  They do come here every January, after all.  Whether you consider ’em punk, thrash, hardcore, crossover, metalpunk or whatever, these guys are one of Canada’s finest–and most offensive–heavy bands.  Who can forget that album cover with the Reagans on Feed Us a Fetus?  Or Two Dogs Fucking/Deux Chiens Fourrent?  Priceless!

Perhaps the most offensive aspect of the evening was the door price of 25 dollars.  Advance tickets were only available at the venue, which isn’t open during the daytime, and there weren’t too many reasons to go to the Kathedral in the last couple months of 2009…  (Rotate This lists tickets for the Saturday show at 20 dollars, but those weren’t even there when I stopped by a couple weeks back.)  More than a few punkers balked at the price, to which Cretin later commented “So, this place is shutting down, eh?  I guess that means no more 25-dollar shows.”  Not only that, but they were asking at the door which band you came to see.  So, if you didn’t say the Dayglos, they didn’t get paid!?  Seriously?

That being said, opening band Charlotte Swallows might not have earned a cent, cuz it didn’t seem like anyone came to see them.  Your token punk/ska opening band, they covered “Maxwell Murder,” but only after their bass player turned down his instrument to hide the fact that he couldn’t play the bass lines.  His attempt at the solo was pretty pathetic, but otherwise they weren’t bad.  I mean, how many punk songs have bass solos, anyways?

Second band Rectal Carnage had a much larger following, and a name so awful it’s amusing.  Alas, they weren’t a gore-grind group, but rather the Sons of Razor — none being more than a twinkle in daddy’s eye when Evil Invaders came out.  Still, you could definitely hear the similarities…  While their frontman had plenty of stage presence, the rest of the band was mostly motionless in their denim vests and flipped-up baseball caps.  Once these kids learn how to headbang, watch out!

Punch Drunk was the perfect band to get the crowd going for the Dayglos.  The dirty ‘shwa four-piece knows only two speeds: fast and faster.  Well, I think they played one song that started kinda slow…  But in any case, they were much more in their element than they were opening for Macabre, benefiting from a better mix and a better crowd.  There weren’t any metal heads hiding at the back for their set this time–or much of a metal head presence, period, save a few born-in-the-90’s, dressed-like-the-80’s members of the RC posse.  PD probably sold a few albums, and definitely got a few pits going…

…so why were they followed by a metalcore band, who looked as outta place as they sounded, taking the stage in dress clothes?  They got the crowd’s attention for about a minute–make that a minute, 37–when they played “Out of Control”, the second Rancid cover of the nite, but otherwise no one really noticed or cared.  Frankly, I don’t even remember their name.

But alas, it was time for the Dayglos.  A band that once had three guitar players, circa Here Today Guano Tomorrow, is now a stripped-down, streamlined trio.  There isn’t anything flashy about the Dayglos–they don’t talk or move around much, and their only visual is a banner adorned with skulls and Canadian flags.  But they certainly find a way to fit as many songs into a set as possible, touching on common themes like alcohol (“Let’s Get Drunk”), the U.S.A. (“America Eats Her Young”) and Canadian pride (“Proud to Be a Canadian”).  They ended the pre-encore portion of their set with this gem, originally from their ’81 debut Out of the Womb:

Acting like Black Sabbath is lots of fun
Their records sound so heavy when I turn them on
I jump up and down and pretend I’m them
I can almost make the change

Tony Iommi is my god
His guitar solos have been osterized
Ozzy Osbourne is so out in space
That he’d probably love me if I pissed on his face

Some songs, such as “Punker Bitches” and “Here Today Guano Tomorrow” were noticeably absent from the set.  They’re probably saving them for the 19+ show tonite, which I won’t be attending…  Cuz last nite, I said my final farewell to the Kathedral; to some good memories and numerous poor turnouts, to the dirty washroom where the hand-dryer’s been “Temporarily Out of Order” for years, to the overpriced beer and sketchy promoters and overcrowded clusterfuck bills where I had to clearly state I was there for Diablo Red, Georgian Skull, Sons of OTIS or whoever–and to the all-ages punk rock shows with the kids in mohawks and stage-divers and security that frisk you and ask you to leave your pens at the door–which actually happened to me once at a DOA show.  I can’t imagine that eyesore of a purple building becoming an urban furniture store, nor can I picture the owner’s new Etobicoke venue, reportedly nestled between a WalMart and a Ford dealership, taking off in the same way.  Without the Kathedral, punk rock will be looking for a new home in Toronto.  Any takers?

Peace,

Greg

P.S.: The long-awaited 50th episode of Smokin’ Green airs tonite on CKLN!  Join me and guest host The Governor from 1 till 3 am at 88.1 fm on yer radio, channel 947 on yer TV or www.ckln.fm on yer computer…

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.