The night threatened to pour but did not. Approximately 40 souls attended Dirty Penny’s performance last night at Clinton’s Tavern. Some were fans, others had come for the other bands sharing the stage with DP. It was a shame. It was a rare line-up of talent. Most of these shared band nights are mostly borefests of groups that play extremely well but have no sound and no ideas – proficient zombies – and there’s the one band that wows you. Last night, every group had a reason to be there. Tyranny of Love, Halfpast Four, Camel Joe, Jeff Burke w. Pat Kelly, and Dirty Penny.
Lead man JC Penny began by describing the dish for the evening. He announced that their performance would be accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and was interrupted by a phone call. It was William Eddins, conductor of the ESO, Penny announced. Penny continued the pretend conversation. He counted down over the phone with the ESO in order to get both groups to start at the same time. It was funny and surreal. Half a dozen times during the performance Penny picked up his phone and carried on further pretend conversations with Bill.
Dirty Penny is in top shape these days. They’re practicing regularly. The room was mannequin still, as usual taking it all in. They’ve got SOUND, children. All the groups had something unmatchable actually. Camel Joe had power. Tyranny of Love had romance. Halfpast Four had wizardry ie. seriously tricky rock compositions. Jeff Burke and Pat Kelly had joy. DP had sound, sound, sound. (can you tell I’m a fan?) Their set for the evening:
big rock candy mountain
if i wuz a cat
sage against the machine
space car date
It was a really high class show and given the number of bands, hundreds were probably invited. It’s sad and evidence of the downfall of the world or at least Toronto. 90% of the invites resorted to something safe last night instead of a live rock show. All swear up and down that they love music if cornered, I’m sure. Oh well. Friday nights have become thursday nights it seems, same level of risk spirit. I expect the news to hit the Star’s front page anytime: “The Spirit of Friday Night Murdered by Thursday Night but will keep name!”
Half way through Tyranny’s set, lead singer Nik Beat asked the audience if he could borrow somebody’s guitar. DP’s Louie went up and ponied his own Fender Strat, Lovely Louie (yes relation). The effect it had on the usually contemplative and aloof Louie was more than cute. He smiled and beamed at the stage. It was absolutely clear that Louie considers his guitar to be alive and a friend. He was pointing and talking animatedly to drummer Candy. I caught the transformative moment quite clearly from a few feet away. I was in disguise as a middle aged woman for the evening. It was the only way I could attend. My interview with Nidhan “Grimlock” Grewal, DPs new bassist, has apparently not yet graduated to the water under the bridge folder. I missed the performance 2 days ago at the Horseshoe for this reason. I could not get the red hair wig to look natural and had to trade in for auburn the next day.
Lastly, a couple of Nik Beat’s comments from the stage standout: “this guitar is 50 times better than mine” and “Cavener is the Rex Harrison of rock”. I will be looking into the last one. Perhaps it is just a reference to Penny’s tuxedo jacket he wore on stage.
Proceeds for the evening went in part to Amnesty International.
You should all be ashamed of yourselves.