Tag Archives: punk rock

Hot Summer Reads: Under the Big Black Sun A Personal History of L.A. Punk By John Doe, By Tom DeSavia


Under the Big Black Sun explores the nascent Los Angeles punk rock movement and its evolution to hardcore punk as it’s never been told before. Authors John Doe and Tom DeSavia have woven together an enthralling story of the legendary West Coast scene from 1977-1982 by enlisting the voices of people who were there. The book shares chapter-length tales from the authors along with personal essays from famous (and infamous) players in the scene. Additional authors include: Exene Cervenka (X), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Mike Watt (The Minutemen), Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go’s), Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), Robert Lopez (The Zeros, El Vez), Jack Grisham (T.S.O.L.), Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), as well as scenesters and journalists Pleasant Gehman, Kristine McKenna, and Chris Morris. Through interstitial commentary, John Doe “narrates” this journey through the land of film noir sunshine, Hollywood back alleys, and suburban sprawl, the place where he met his artistic counterparts Exene, DJ Bonebrake, and Billy Zoom and formed X, the band that became synonymous with, and in many ways defined, L.A. punk.

Focusing on punk’s evolutionary years, Under the Big Black Sun shares stories of friendship and love, ambition and feuds, grandiose dreams and cultural rage, all combined with the tattered, glossy sheen of pop culture weirdness that epitomized the operations of Hollywood’s underbelly. Readers will travel to the clubs that defined the scene, as well as to the street corners, empty lots, apartment complexes, and squats that served as de facto salons for the musicians, artists, and fringe players that hashed out what would become punk rock in Los Angeles.

L.A. punk was born from rock ‘n’ roll, from country and blues and Latin music, the true next step in the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll music. It was born of art, culture, political, and economic frustration. It spoke of a Los Angeles that existed when regionalism still reigned in the USA. It sounded like Los Angeles.

For the first time, the stories and photos from this now-fabled era are presented from those on the front lines. Stories that most have never heard about the art that was born under the big black sun.



Stocking Stuffer: Carrie Brownstein ‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’

From the guitarist of the pioneering band Sleater-Kinney, the book Kim Gordon says “everyone has been waiting for” and a New York Times Notable Book of 2015– a candid, funny, and deeply personal look at making a life–and finding yourself–in music.

Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance. With Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein and her bandmates rose to prominence in the burgeoning underground feminist punk-rock movement that would define music and pop culture in the 1990s. They would be cited as “America’s best rock band” by legendary music critic Greil Marcus for their defiant, exuberant brand of punk that resisted labels and limitations, and redefined notions of gender in rock.

HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL is an intimate and revealing narrative of her escape from a turbulent family life into a world where music was the means toward self-invention, community, and rescue. Along the way, Brownstein chronicles the excitement and contradictions within the era’s flourishing and fiercely independent music subculture, including experiences that sowed the seeds for the observational satire of the popular television series Portlandia years later.

With deft, lucid prose Brownstein proves herself as formidable on the page as on the stage. Accessibly raw, honest and heartfelt, this book captures the experience of being a young woman, a born performer and an outsider, and ultimately finding one’s true calling through hard work, courage and the intoxicating power of rock and roll.


‘If nothing else, I was living in a town that had once been home to Kurt Cobain. The simplify version of his story could be reduced to a guy who signed to a major label, got so famous that he felt alienated from his audience, and then killed himself.  And Nirvana had done it right – they had changed the weather, they had rewritten the rules, their music had mattered.  And then:  death.  This tragedy was now in the figurative guidebook – it functioned as a cautionary tale.  To wish for more was to wish for something potentially, crushingly horrible.  So if you did wish for more, you had to keep it a secret.

We chose Kill Rock Stars. We stayed close to home.

The thing is, Sleater-Kinney was ambitious. We didn’t only want to preach to the choir, to the already-converted.  We knew there was a potential audience in parts of the country that didn’t have a ‘scene’, an infrastructure.  That there were people who wouldn’t hear about us via word of mouth or fanzines or independent records stores.  Some people might only be exposed to our band if we were featured in larger magazines or sold our albums in big-boxes stores.  Eventually, I started to cringe at the elitism that was often paired with punk and the like.  A movement that professed inclusiveness seemed to actually be highly exclusive, as alienating and ungraspable as many of the clubs and institutions that drove us to the fringes in the first place.  One set of rules had simply been replaced by new ones, and they were just as difficult to follow.’

I was never a huge fan of Sleater-Kinney in my grunge years. Only recently did I fully acquaint myself with SK after getting overly giddy with Carrie Brownstein in her co-written series (with Fred Armisen) Portlandia.   If a band at 42 can still make me bust it in my kitchen on a Sunday a.m., it’s SK. Better late than never.

‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ is a fanatic ode to a time where Brownstein and her and mates were trail blazing punk rock with a west coast tinge. In SK’s case their music is and was politically charged, filled with lyrics of verbose intent and knocking on doors with their knuckles that were refusing to budge.  ‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ speaks of turbulent on the road journeys, romantic explosions, conundrums with their record company and how Sleater-Kinney, Washington made them and broke them.

‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ gives the reader an excellent snapshot into Brownstein’s childhood in Washington and how it shaped her into a rocker with a sensitive side and a comedy writer with a field of depth we would have never have guessed was a part of her deep personal fabric.

‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ is a perfect stocking stuffer book for the music geek in your family. It is also a neat book to pick up for that loved one who is avid punk rock fan.  ‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ is a wonderful encyclopedia on the behind the scenes of the riot girl movement, the historical fine details of the Seattle scene and highlighting those players who carved out a time that brought us more than plaid and Doc Marten’s.

Brownstein’s written voice is profound, well read and introspective. ‘Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl’ is brimming with sage reflection and moments that are still raw to the touch.

Catch Carrie Brownstein at Toronto Reference Library Bram & Bluma Appel Salon on Thursday Dec 17, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.. This event has been rescheduled for December 17. All customers with November 17 tickets have been given priority and offered tickets for this new date. If you are interested in attending please add your name to the waitlist HERE http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=EVT206528.


Riot Fest 2015 Spotlight: Eagles of Death Metal and Die Mannequin + Riot Fest Ticket Giveaway ends today!

Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo is coming at us fast and furious on September 19 and 20 at Downsview Park. Weezer, The Prodigy, Bleachers, Cancer Bats, Courage My Love, and Ritual join a diverse array of bands previously announced. To top it off, Weezer will play both days of the festival, performing their eponymous debut (known as the Blue Album) one day and Pinkerton on the other. For fans a little tight on budget – Riot Fest brings back its layaway program, with the option to pay ticket costs in several installments during the lead up to the fest.

Don’t forget my Riot Fest Ticket Giveaway ends today!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Riot Fest & Expo Toronto 2015 Ticket Giveaway?

Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me which Riot Fest & Expo Toronto band you are interested in catching September 19th and 20th in Toronto. Easy peasy! I will announce the winner on Sunday August 31, 2015.

Eagles of Death Metal

Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998 by Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, who are the only permanent members of the band, though Homme rarely plays live shows because of commitments to other bands. There are also a wide range of other musicians that play under the Eagles of Death Metal moniker, both on the albums and in live shows, frequently under humorous aliases.

Despite their band name, Eagles of Death Metal is not a death metal band. Hughes stated that a friend was introducing Josh Homme to the death metal genre. When he played a song by the Polish band Vader and made a claim that the song was within the death metal genre, Homme then referred to Vader as “The Eagles of Death Metal”. After hearing this phrase, he wondered what a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band would sound like. In a 2003 interview Homme described the sound of the band as a combination of “bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beats and Canned Heat vocals.”

Die Mannequin

Die Mannequin is an alternative rock band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada fronted by guitar player and singer Care Failure (born Caroline Kawa). They played the “Next Big Thing” Stage at Edgefest in 2006, have toured across Eastern Canada several times on their own as well as opening for Buckcherry on their Canadian tour. Die Mannequin also opened for Guns N’ Roses on the Canadian dates of their 2006 North American Tour, and supported Sum 41 on their Strength in Numbers tour during the fall of 2007. They have toured Europe on several occasions, alone and as opening act for the European Danko Jones tour in 2008. They are also playing one of the legs of the Jägermeister tour with Bloodlights and Oceansize.

In the fall of 2009, Die Mannequin opened for Marilyn Manson on the full Canadian leg of his “The High End of Low” tour in addition to a cross Canada tour featuring opening act Raggedy Angry.

Check out Eagles of Death Metal and Die Mannequin at Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo!

In previous years, Riot Fest and their partners at Union Events have cultivated lineups that have featured reunions and rare appearances—and 2015 is no exception. Bands such as Drive Like Jehu and Thrice will be making reunion appearances at Riot Fest & Expo. Moreover, rare appearances by Alexisonfire, Echo & The Bunnymen and Motörhead give 2015’s edition its unique feel.

Outside of the announced bands, this year’s festival will also include a circus tent featuring the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue, a miniature golf course, a video arcade hall, and a wide array of food and drink options.

Link to purchase Riot Fest & Expo Toronto tickets:



Riot Fest 2015 Spotlight: Babes in Toyland and Courage My Love

Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo is coming at us fast and furious on September 19 and 20 at Downsview Park. Weezer, The Prodigy, Bleachers, Cancer Bats, Courage My Love, and Ritual join a diverse array of bands previously announced. To top it off, Weezer will play both days of the festival, performing their eponymous debut (known as the Blue Album) one day and Pinkerton on the other. For fans a little tight on budget – Riot Fest brings back its layaway program, with the option to pay ticket costs in several installments during the lead up to the fest.

Here is the third of ten Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo Spotlight’s we talk Babes in Toyland and Courage My Love.

Babes in Toyland

Babes in Toyland are an American punk rock band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1987. The band was formed by Oregon native Kat Bjelland (lead vocals and guitar), with Lori Barbero (drums) and Michelle Leon (bass), who was later replaced by Maureen Herman in 1992.

Between 1989 and 1995, Babes in Toyland released three studio albums; Spanking Machine (1990), the commercially successful Fontanelle (1992), and Nemesisters (1995), before becoming inactive in 1997 and eventually disbanding in 2001. While the band was inspirational to some performers in the riot grrrl movement in the Pacific Northwest, Babes in Toyland never associated themselves with the movement.

In August 2014, Babes In Toyland announced that they would be reuniting, touring and possibly recording again. As of February 2015, the band has booked several shows.

Courage My Love

What is courage? When you’re a young rock ‘n’ roll band—courage is throwing yourself into your music fully and completely. It’s stepping onto a stage and just given’r. It’s touring new places far from home, and opening up, scars and all, to your fans. Courage is saying what you really think. It’s being unafraid of change, of becoming who you really are.

Courage My Love is all of these things.

The Kitchener, Canada band consists of twin sisters Mercedes Arn-Horn (vocals, guitar) and Phoenix Arn-Horn (drums. vocals) with their friend Brandon Lockwood (bass).

Call them a power trio, pop-punk, alternative metal. As you wish. They grew up on it all. But while you are jumping around and banging your head with abandon, don’t miss the message: They have no appetite for destruction. They do not seek to destroy. No, Courage My Love is here to uplift, inspire.

Becoming, the band’s new EP, produced by Chris Perry in Toronto, is eight tracks bled out of Courage My Love during a period of exciting changes. “Our first EP For Now came out when we were 17,” explains Mercedes. “When you’re our age, a lot can happen in two years.” Yes, many good things. Like a JUNO Award nomination for ‘Breakthrough Group of the Year’, heavy video rotation on MuchMusic/MusiquePlus, more than 6.1 million YouTube views, being named as one of Alternative Press Magazine’s ’100 Bands You Need To Know’ and being asked to be on the full Vans Warped Tour 2014 (42 dates). “Before we went on tour we’d never been away from home,” says the guitarist. “You meet all these new people, and you learn about yourselves. We’ve all grown a lot. That was the inspiration for Becoming.”

Opening track “Skin and Bone” captures the fear and longing of leaving something behind. “We’re too old to die young,” they sing over thunderous beats, the heart of the matter. Hard- knocking first single “You Don’t Know How” cranks it up, intense and defiant: “Find out I’m strong enough on my own now.” By the time the EP closes with the haunting ballad “Dark Wood, Dark Water,” about finding the one thing that pulls you out of the darkness, Courage My Love’s mission is clear: rock out, be happy, stay true.

For this next generation of musicians, that means truly embracing social media. With their popular self-produced mock-reality TV show “The Unreal Lives of Courage My Love”, podcasts and viral videos, Courage My Love not only connect with fans, they reveal more of their true selves. It’s all part of what they do best. “This whole band is about being yourself,” says Phoenix. “You don’t need to play by the book to be successful. Being a girl isn’t that big of a deal in music anymore. You don’t need to have a certain look. Break the rules, stand apart.”

Check out Babes in Toyland and Courage My Love at Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo!

In previous years, Riot Fest and their partners at Union Events have cultivated lineups that have featured reunions and rare appearances—and 2015 is no exception. Bands such as Drive Like Jehu and Thrice will be making reunion appearances at Riot Fest & Expo. Moreover, rare appearances by Alexisonfire, Echo & The Bunnymen and Motörhead give 2015’s edition its unique feel.

Outside of the announced bands, this year’s festival will also include a circus tent featuring the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue, a miniature golf course, a video arcade hall, and a wide array of food and drink options.

Check out the daily schedule line up!

Link to purchase Riot Fest & Expo Toronto tickets:



Riot Fest & Expo Toronto (Sept 7, 2014) – Day 2 Review

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The sun greeted us with a friendly ‘get ready to get burned’ grin as we entered Downsview Park on Day 2 of Riot Fest & Expo Toronto.  Nothing like a sinister hello to get our backs up in a true punk rock stance.

The first stop of the day was with Bob Mould at the Riot Stage.  The Riot Fest schedule had changed a tad overnight so things were a tad a flutter.  Regardless, when Bob Mould bounded onto the stage there was a rumbling of Husker Du and Sugar residue that flooded the audience.  Indeed a teenage hero clean of rock star guitar riffs instead replaced with earnest intent and humility.   That’s what Bob Mould is all about.  ‘A Good Idea’ would have been a gift but instead we were served some Husker Du classics like ‘I Apologize’ and ‘Makes No Sense At All’ which were just as decadent.

Our skin roasting we headed over to the VIP tent to wait for The New Pornographers.  How can you not adore a super band calling Neko Case, Dan Bejar and John Collins from Destroyer members?  An upbeat set with a cool Vancouver breeze to wash over our charring skin with songs like ‘Brill Bruisers’ and ‘Mass Romantic’ kept our electrolytes up.

Carrying on there was a short walk over a hill and a muddy patch to take in Die Antwoord’s set at the Rock Stage which was heavily anticipated.  If the crowd of kids was any indication things were about to go ‘mental’.  And they did.  Body surfing, topless girls falling over as leering boys took in eye full’s.

Die Antwoord’s lyrics would put make NWA proud.  Full of swagger by way of South African ‘zef’ and yet a sense of a strong professional work ethic stood out.  Their star has been steadily rising with beats and catchy crowd bursting shout outs.  If you didn’t pull out your phone to set a reminder to download their stuff as soon as you can – you have issues. ‘Fatty Boom Boom’ and ‘Fink U Freeky’ cemented their game changing status.

Death Cab for Cutie drew a larger crowd and was sure to make each person swoon with ditties that resembled high school love poems gone awry.  ‘Long Division’ and ‘Cath’ lead the now cooling down crowd into a sing-along possibly only heard in shower stalls.  Zooey Deschannel must have some stories.

By the time The National arrived our knees were buckling from heat exhaustion.  But in true rousing form Matt Berninger and the Dessner and Devendorf brothers gave us a show that instantly killed whatever symptoms were attacking our minds and bodies.  ‘I Should Live in Salt’, ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’, ‘This is the Last Time’ and ‘England’ offered the clearly fan heavy crowd a nice smorgasbord of tasty treats but also new fans a tasting menu worthy of buying into.  As the sun began to set in the background you couldn’t help but feel emotional reflecting on the lyrics spiralling around you and possibly feeling tears of love, loss, desire and new horizons begin to stain your cheeks.

I opted to end the evening on a high note with the Buzzcocks.  Indeed Metric and City and Colour being Toronto’s hometown heroes would have satiated my thirst but Buzzcocks being from Manchester and having a true punk rock history which fits into Riot Fest’s aesthetic was an important happy ending.

True rock pioneers, the Buzzcocks were an important influence on the Manchester music scene.  They achieved commercial success with singles that fused pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy. These singles were collected on ‘Singles Going Steady’, described by critic Ned Raggett as a “punk masterpiece”.  Get it!

Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle were in fine form.  Full of exuberance and pure punk rock joy that only some of the last left punk rockers truly know to infuse into their stage presence. The Clash, The Sex Pistols would be humbled by ‘Harmony in my Head’ and ‘Orgasm Addict’.  If you think Billy Talent won outstanding achievement at Riot Fest this summer – clearly you are not paying close attention to what Riot Fest’s true mantra is all about.

If Riot Fest & Expo Toronto prepares to keep up the momentum with fantastic music scheduling, a keen attention to detail, large scale festival organization and keeping their Canadian fans happy we will be destined for even more outstanding summers with our American counterparts in punk rock for years to come.




Riot Fest & Expo Toronto (Sept 6, 2014) – Day 1 Review

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The last time I was up at Downsview Park it was 1984 and it was to see Pope John Paul II.  All I remember was my dad making my sisters and I trudge through the mud to get there.  The day was spiritually and life changing albeit a tad wet.

Toronto received a lot of rain on the evening of Friday Sept 5th thus making us wonder – what will the state of Downsview Park be for Riot Fest & Expo Toronto?  Will I be trudging through the mud again decades later in wellies?  Indeed.

Upon arriving to the park, I observed the line ups to be quite long just to get into Downsview Park but the mood was high for Riot Fest & Expo Toronto.  In the sea of ‘Billy Talent’ t-shirt wearers, ripped nylons and people giddy about finally seeing The Cure – the day was well on its way.

We were greeted by a wrestling ring with lookalike WWF wrestlers in full regalia getting it on.  The activity really added a crispy flavour to the carnival ambiance at Riot Fest & Expo Toronto.  Besides the wrestling ring and the ominous food stands they were the only signs of what make carnival dreams glossy.

This year four stages greeted us at Riot Fest & Expo Toronto.  But there was no signage to direct people which direction they should be going to catch their respective bands.  A posted schedule with a map at different locations would have been helpful for the folk who didn’t have access to the Riot Fest & Expo Toronto app.

The Roots and Riot Stage although side by side were a neat idea.  But came to be a bottleneck as people travelled between stages.  There was a VIP tent in the middle which required another dilemma in navigating the space.  A thought, next year to move the food vendor stations to allow more lounge room in the back, remove the VIP in the middle  so the standing crowd can mill about easily between the stages.

Clearly, Riot Fest & Expo Toronto has grown since last year’s Fort York location in downtown Toronto.  Downsview Park is a palatial and a roomy estate in comparison.  With that come logistical pieces that can indeed be ironed out for next year to appease the ‘grumbling crowd’ who had to travel north of Toronto to catch a festival.  First world problems mates.

The musical highlights of Day 1

The Afghan Whigs were in fine form for their early afternoon spot.  They were not only extremely confident but were having a great time collectively on stage.  Under the raucous tracks ‘Parked Outside’, ‘Fountain and Fairfax’ ad ‘Debonair’ lays a lot of darkness.  But was delivered in such a way that would do Buckley’s cough medicine proud.

The ‘Modfather’ Paul Weller christened the crowd with a set that would make an old school mod teary. If you weren’t shaking your tail feather to ‘Wake Up The Nation’ and ‘You Do Something To Me’ – clearly you weren’t letting yourself go in the moment.

Death From Above 1979 are one of those bands if you miss them indeed your hearing may thank you but your heart will never experience such excitement again.  True Toronto natives at heart they were quick to poke fun at the crowd by saying ‘I bet most of you are from Barrie’.  Cheeky.  (For my International readers:  Barrie is a small town just north of Toronto which hipsters from Toronto would derive joy in picking on).   Death From Above 1979’s rambunctious set was fit for kindergarten kids in a fit of a tantrum at a grocery store.  ‘Blood On Our Hands’ proved to be a chest pumping memorable performance.

The Flaming Lips set was what a grand magical fable coming to life is made up of.  Pop up. Acid like.  Who need’s Las Vegas?  One can walk around The Flaming Lips performances punctuated in a dreamscape with dollops of fluorescent lollipop colours, Beatles serenades and textured layers that will now be housed in your subconscious for moment’s when you need to ‘check out’ out of the daily grind.  ‘Race for the Prize’ mesmerized my fellow audience members like a good trance should do Jim Jones style.

The Cure are athletes and delivered an over two hour set to the crowd that was well worth the price of the Riot Fest & Expo Toronto ticket just in itself.  It was robust in classics and new tracks.  Nicely mixed together in a stew reminiscent of ‘Disintegration’ days.  Dance heavy.  Sombre driven melodies.  Themes that The Cure is known for and continues to flourish in with some obvious maturing enhancements.  Closing with ‘Close To Me’, ‘Why Can’t I Be You?’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ would satiate any fan.

Overall, a visually and musically decadent day at Riot Fest.   Looking forward to seeing what Day 2 at Riot Fest & Expo Toronto brings.  Happy Sunday everyone!  Don’t forget to wear your wellies!  Bloody Toronto rain.




An Evening With Patti Smith: Massey Hall (Friday Sept 6, 2013)

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This year has been a punk rock hero year for me.  I didn’t think it would get any better after seeing Iggy and the Stooges at Riot Fest a few weeks back here in Toronto.  But nothing could have prepared me for seeing my punk rock heroine, Ms. Patti Smith, at Massey Hall on a cool Friday night in September.

Surprisingly it was not a full house at Massey Hall; I’m guessing it was the dear ticket prices that kept the aging Toronto punk rock community away.  Massey Hall was the perfect venue for Ms. Smith.  This building has some of the best acoustics in the city and aches history.  A wonderful welcome mat for our girl. Those that there were in attendance were ready for our Ms. Smith dose when she took the stage.

In full swagger dressed in her signature creased blazer, shaggy long grey black hair, a distressed white t-shirt, rad motorcycle boots, wrinkled faded denim jeans she grinned a genuine smile as she walked onto the stage.  She began her performance by singing and dancing effortlessly to songs like ‘Redondo Beach’, ‘Distant Fingers’  (for the girls and Amy Winehouse) and John Lennon’s ‘Beautiful Boy’ (Darling Boy)  (for the boys).

In between songs in true Patti form she segued between spoken word poetry moments and strutting it liked she was transported back to New York’s Punk Rock heyday with dashes of familial warmth.  She congratulated Toronto on our film festival and mentioned she had checked out Jim Jaramusch’s TIFF offering the night before.  In typical cheekiness she pumped the comment up by paying Nicole Kidman an ode in song.

I observed fellow ladies up dancing to ‘Dancing Barefoot’ perhaps like they had many times before in their own living rooms without Patti as a witness. It was earlier this year that Patti was in town showcasing her photographic works at the AGO.  Her performance that accompanied that shown sold out in seconds and left many disappointed.  This show was making up for that.

Next up was ‘Psychotic Reaction’ which was sung with so much sexy venom that it left us wondering what was behind the smirk in her performance.  After the song, she told the audience many had asked her what punk rock meant to her during those CBGB years.    ‘Psychotic Reaction is my punk rock,’ she stated giddily.

By the time Springsteen’s ‘Because The Night’ rolled out the crowd was warmed up and ready for sing-along.  Full of melancholy she dedicated it to her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith.  In that moment, I had a flashback of reading her book ‘Just Kids’ in bed at home and remembering the honour she paid to her relationships with men during life.  Sam Shephard being just another one of them (man, he’s a dreamboat).  Patti is a class act.

She continued on to bring us gorgeous versions of ‘Birdland’, ‘Beneath the Southern Cross’ , ‘Land/Gloria’, ‘Banga’,’ My Blakean Year’,’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger’,’ Pissing in a River’, ‘Break It Up’ and ‘We Three’.  There were continuous heckling moments from concert goers between songs begging her to play tunes from her catalogue.  At one point I observed Patti looking vulnerable as she listened closely to their demands.  But she wasn’t bien sur.  She was doing her own thing on her own terms as per usual.  A fellow concert goer shouted ‘let her sing what she wants’ and she did.  Punk rock.

Not at all too cool to dance and socialize amongst her people she took moments to come out onto the floor to dance with the audience, give a young boy sitting in the front row her guitar pick and then invite more guests onto the stage to play guitar, dance and sing.  We were family.  You can’t pretend that kinda joy as it beamed from her face.   For a normally reserved Toronto crowd, they were brought to their feet.

As the show was in its last minutes, there were mentions of God, Syria, whilst spitting onto Massey Hall’s stage once shared, as Patti mentioned, with the likes of Maria Callas.  ‘This is not a movie, this is real life’ she screamed.  That’s when the strings of her guitar were pulled in full performance art fashion.  ‘Katniss Everdeen’ was even mentioned.  Who knew our girl Patti knew of The Hunger Games?

A living punk rock heroine?  Indeed and just as antiestablishment.  She blessed and dumped rose petals onto the head’s of her worshipping fans before she quietly said goodbye and left just as quickly as she came two hours before.