MFS has turned six! My introductory thoughts on this landmark can be found here, but long story short: I asked some folks to pick some of their favourites to help me celebrate.
Today's list is from Jesse Locke, a Weird Canadian, writer and drummer who I first met in person when he slipped some Tonetta in a DJ set.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Joe Strutt is the hardest working human in the Toronto music biz. Mechanical Forest Sound is a dizzyingly exhaustive archive of live recordings from left-of-centre shows, and I'm honoured to take part in this celebration of its sixth birthday. I typically spend time on the site listening to excerpts of gigs I was unable to attend, but for this post I’ve decided to write about six personal fave performances where I was there, mannn…
The Saucer is one of my all time desert island top five bands. Since moving to Toronto, I've had the great pleasure of working with their original members on a few different projects, and it’s been a total blast hearing them tear through the songs that are embedded in my bones. This set at the Ty Segall after-party featured the band's CanCon superstar line-up of founding singer/guitarist Edgar Breau and bassist Kevin Christoff joined by The Killjoys' Mike Trebilcock on guitar/skull theremin and Blue Rodeo/The Garbagemen's Glenn Milchem on the skins. The Mole Machine reigns supreme!
Zee almighty Hamilton-borne Zacht Automaat follow in the footsteps of Steeltown's O.G. electro-rockers Simply Saucer with their own baroque brand of lysergic liftoffs. I haven't missed a chance to see their twice yearly live shows, and it seems this set at Feast in the East's former Polyhaus venue was the first time both Joe and I were cleansed in their waters. Blah blah blah... Just listen in.
After a stretch spent in Winnipeg, Chrissy Reichert's recent return to Toronto has been a glorious thing. This gig on the first night of DDL's fifth anniversary weekend (capped off with a once-in-a-lifetime appearance by The Space Lady) served as the debut for her latest collection of block-rockin' devotional bangers, which have twisted and screeched into new shapes with each passing performance. I remain the number one Tenderness fan and can't wait to hear where these songs transport to next.
Doc Dunn is a dusty jewel in Toronto’s musical treasure chest, and sometimes you gotta dig deep to find him. This night at Double Double Land (starting to see a trend where I spend my time?) was the release party for his Tecumseth LP, with a dreamy performance joined by regular collaborators Jonathan Adjemian, Isla Craig and Brandon Valdivia. Imagine Loren Mazzacane Connors sipping from the cosmic brew of Alice Coltrane, or just ignore everything in this world entirely and float away.
Darlene Shrugg is the East Side all-star band made up of members from Tropics, Ice Cream and U.S. Girls. Their supercharged glam-stomp is one of the greatest things going in town these days, and "Freedom Comes in a Plastic Card" (there's yer song title, Joe) gets wedged in my head all the time. Bonus shout out to the rest of the Frankensteined collaborations at All Toronto's Parties 2: Bong Water, Abra Cadaver, Wildlife Rodeo, and a few truly fun sets I played myself.
The shock of the new and a celebration of the shocking unknown came together for the reissue release party of Chandra's Transportation. Bile Sister's set of originals delivered the heat, but it was this truly rare onstage appearance from Chandra Oppenheim (running through songs she originally recorded in 1980 as an art-punk 11-year-old) that brought the house down. There's not much I can say to properly express my gratitude to Joe for capturing yet another fantastic night of music, otherwise lost to the sands of time and fading memories.
You can always click on the tags below to look for more stuff from these artists. Has there been a half-dozen songs posted here that made an impact on you? If you'd like to get in on the action and make a list, feel free to send me an email: email@example.com.