There is something classic about The Queers to me. Even their logo has this Tex Avery style cartoon that just screams “classic.” I grew up having them as a background soundtrack and, surprisingly, it took me this long to catch them live. I was not disappointed. With the help of The Cola Heads and Plan 37, The Queers put on a wicked, jam-packed show at The Horseshoe Tavern on Tuesday night, and I was lucky enough to witness it.
When we first walked in, I was worried that the thin crowd was going to be set the mood for the evening. I was (thankfully) proven wrong. When Plan 37 got on the stage, the crowd grew quite a bit larger, and though they weren’t moving too much, the energy was high and buzzing. This band’s sound was really fitting. The four-piece have honed a classic, almost Vandals-meets-The Nils sound, and as an opening act for the evening, they set the tone. Speaking of tone, the bassist, Jonny Bratt, had a tone on his bass that night that really stood out. During one track in which the drummer, Cindy, sang for part of it (her voice is really reminiscent of Charlotte from The Subways), I was constantly shifted to the bassist. Though the drummer Cindy along with guitarists Boxcar Sh’onn and Cactus were supposed to be the focus, I was always hearing the bass lines first. They ended their set with the track “Say Goodbye,” and it was a fitting closing number.
We said goodbye to Plan 37, leaving room to greet The Cola Heads, and it was quite a hello. It was a set full of raunchy guitars and punchy vocals. They had fantastic stage presence and used the space really well. It got people moving in the growing crowd. The only downside was the lead guitarist’s constant use of the pick scrape. I am pretty sure there were at least three per song, and as much as I love hearing this sound, it can get a bit annoying. Not to mention that he also had to retune his guitar constantly. It shows how hard he played though, and the energy in the room really mimicked that.
When The Queers finally got started, the crowd became the swarm of people I knew it would be. It was a frenzy; everyone just went nuts. There was finally a real pit in the centre of the floor, though it was smaller than I would have liked. And the band was, in one word, nonstop. Seriously. I don’t know how they did it. They played their entire set almost back to back with barely any breaks, and because of this it was hard to tell when one song ended and another began. I was beyond impressed, not to mention exhausted by the end of it all. Unfortunately, for about half of the set, the vocals on both mics were way too low, and you could hardly hear anything (something that oddly wasn’t a problem during the openers). The guitarist and lead vocalist Joe Queer made mention of this twice: once asking to turn his mic up, and a few songs later asking to turn up bassist and fellow vocalist, Dangerous Dave’s mic up. Aside from that, the set was solid. I was particularly happy when they launched into “Granola Head.” The guitar, bass, and drums worked very well on this track, and melded together with the vocals to put on a flawless play-through. It was definitely the highlight of the night for me.
I have had mixed times at the Horseshoe. I have enjoyed some really great shows there, but nearly every one had minor sound issues that really needed to be tweaked to do the bands some justice. With The Queers set, these issues were minor, and hardly noticeable for the opening acts (Plan 37 and The Cola Heads), so it made for a great show at an iconic venue. I went home that night feeling like a “Teenage Bonehead,” (the other highlight track The Queers played) all because The Queers put on a never-ending killer of a show.
Written and Photographed by Danielle Kenedy
*edited by Kate Erickson