by carl wilson

Turn Your Head Left

RoS.jpg RoS2.jpg
Photos via 20hz Random Weirdness.

A good weekend of live music for me, though not so much for you - too much showgoing makes Zoilus a weary and busy-catching-up-on-things boy, even a couple of days later. The sights and sounds taken in included the packed-like-a-garbage-scow-full-of-refugees show at Rancho Relaxo on Saturday with The Silt, Jon Rae & the River (who did a great screamalong of Kris Kristofferson's-->Johnny Cash's Sunday Morning Coming Down, one of the best songs ever) and Republic of Safety, seen above, led by singer/future-leader-of-the-free-world Maggie from the Hidden Cameras with guitarist-Torontopian Johnny Dovercourt of Wavelength with bassist Kat from the Barcelona Pavilion and second bassist Kate McGee and drummer Evan Davies. RoS may be the world's only post-punk-grrrl band about north-south trade imbalances, democratic socialism, a robust welfare state and really loud orgasms. As Maggie proclaimed in between songs, "Who's having the most sex? The people who pay the highest taxes!" If Maggie can wiggle out of her duties as Joel Gibb's wingman (I'd say she's done her service for that front of the Toronto invasion) and doesn't get distracted by running for Prime Minister, RoS could really become a cult band - Johnny's Mission-of-Burma-channelling riffs and Maggie's surreally ecstatic brand of Canadian nationalism are like nothing rest-of-world has imagined.

Other weekend peaks: Bourbon Leaves, an all-star team of Toronto new-generation improvisors, at Arrayspace on Friday - sophisticated new music with a sense of wobbly fun, big-band-through-the-looking-glass (yet in a different, far less nostalgic way than Carla Bley or, say, Willem Breuker). Bourbon Leaves is a slightly twee name, but that is "under review." The grind-noise improv set by trombonist Scott Thomson, drummer Joe Sorbara and guitar-tronic Nilan Perera was very fine, too. Lovely conversations with Scott and others about the AIMT - he recalled being told by Derek Bailey, "Organizing is a basic part of making this music, just as much as practicing, performing and recording is." If all DIY/experimental musicians could take that credo to heart every scene would be in better health.

As well, No Dynamics at Sunday's Wavelength - Vanessa is almost Maggie's equal as a punk-soul cheerscreamer, she spent the whole set down on the floor with the audience shimmying up a sweat, and she really clicks with this band, which is kind of a Contortions-esque No (Wave) Soul unit, who've been around awhile but never around me. The same evening, Matt Murphy's City Field was, in the part of the set I caught, less well-realized, awkwardly poised between power pop, loose Wilcoisms and arch Devoisms, which tended to cancel one another out. But they are brand-new, so who knows? Meanwhile start training for February's Wavelength anniversary shows, which are going to flatten you with greatness. Seriously, you are going to have one less dimension when this is over because it will have been burned away by joy.

Finally, albeit not live, In Good Company - splendido, all-too-rare non-cartoon, non-Michael-Moore-ish comedy about work and conglomeratization, but how comes that all the male roles R so perfectly cast (Intense! Quaid!) and all the female ones (Scarlett! Deadpan!) equally miscast? And why did the soundtrack mostly sound like leftover casseroles from the fridge of the Garden State, including several of the very same bands. Hollywood dudes, hear this: There are more bands. And there are other ways to find them than by asking the music supervisor from The O.C. Try asking the music supervisor from Gilmore Girls. Or ask me. Drop by with some CDRs and a couple bottles of Woodford Reserve and we'll set you up.

Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, January 18 at 7:33 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)



Thanks, Tim. Our CD release has just been set for March 19 at Stones Place... Hey Ladeez party! Thanks Carl for the amazing review.

XO JD c/o RoS

Posted by Jonny on January 27, 2005 5:49 PM




Bang-on about Bourbon Leaves. I just saw them this past Wednesday at the Tranzac, and it was the best jazz set I've seen in a really long time, truly casually fierce, comfortably, amiably forward-looking without any airs, just nutso charts and off-the-cuff make-each-other- smirk selfless soloing. I'm so glad I got it on minidisc; the bootleg turned out well and will hopefully make the rounds once I get a burn made of it!

-Craig D.

Posted by Craig Dunsmuir on January 21, 2005 3:35 PM



Joel's wingman? Please.
Have you seen the Cameras live show? She is no wingman. Without her they'd just be a charisma-free Morrissey fronting Belle and Sebastian.

Posted by Mark on January 19, 2005 2:12 PM



this article made me really want to check out Republic of Saftey. Anyone know of upcoming gigs?

Carl's mention of In Good Company reminded me that I love the fact that he rarely gets sucked into talking about film in his writing.

I say that only because I find it is the one artform that is so deeply embedded in our culture and we don't need any more people writing or talking about it than we have already.

Seen any good films lately?...haha

Posted by tim posgate on January 19, 2005 11:28 AM



With this bourbon theme I think you should have included a pic of that Woodward Reserve bottle. It looks very, very, very good.

Posted by Sean on January 19, 2005 10:56 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson