The Revival Bar is nestled in the heart of Toronto’s Little Italy. Generally used as a nightclub, Revival boasts a huge sound system and superior lighting. From an aesthetic point of view, the bar looks cool, gothic style arched windows, red curtains backing the stage, and a poured concrete bar along the entire side of the theatre style auditorium. Although this bar has a very pleasing atmosphere, I was astounded at the eighteen dollar price tag attached to a shot of whiskey and a tall can. But putting aside my qualms with the prices, it was awesome of host band Morre and the Your Shot competition organizers to provide snacks and water for the judges and performers, as well as a couple reviewer’s from an online zine. For a twelve band Sunday afternoon show, munching on a banana or a bag of Ritz crackers is key, thanks Adrian.
Now it wasn’t all tiny bags of chips and overpriced beer. There were a couple of great acts that I had the chance to catch. Trees with Tongues seemed like a bunch of awkward kids until their instruments struck up. A better than average jazzy, power-pop five piece, TWT strikes a special chord with this writer, as I am a huge fan of the deep resonance of cellos. It is refreshing to see young bands switching it up from the usual guitar, bass, and drums. Some of the softer songs toward the end of their set reminded me of early Murder By Death tunes. Great set boys, keep it up!
The host band Morre played their bluesy set through a cloud of fog. They have a real cool style with just a hint of Persian influence especially on vocal harmonies. I felt they also had a Latin flare to some of the guitar work. Not that they had to, but they really proved themselves on their cover of Pink Floyd’s, “Comfortably Numb.” There were too many acts to name them all but they all had their own unique style.
Unique, weird, wild, crazy; all words I have heard used to describe Bad Song Writing One Hundred and One. They came to us from 2230AD armed with musical torpedos to save planet earth and have been entertaining crowds from Newmarket to Toronto for years now with their costumes and hilarious songs. In the past, BS101 has been seen in plush banana costumes, doctor’s scrubs, and for a while, drummer Emcee Donald had a hat with a shoe on it. These days the guys have opted for matching shimmering vests and afros. Always thinking of the planet, these vests have been stitched together from recycled disco balls, earth first.
Frontman Dick James, is always the show stealer; not just with his phallic humour and stage antics, but the costume changes. His first number was a snakeskin suit topped by a matted wig of dishevelled hair. This outfit was backed by the infectious jingle “1,2,3,4,5” (yeah, the one from Sesame Street). BS101 hit us with a “Mother Falcon Punch,” one of their heavier, more metal tunes. When they rocked their ode to the underappreciated genius “Nikola Tesla,” it sparked interests the shy crowd began to see the superconductive power of BS101.
Next wardrobe change came before the “Stalker Song.” Dick James donned a rainbow mohawk wig and recycled disco ball suit jacket. He explored the crowd, creeping out perfectly nice people, with a set of binoculars. The song itself is the lower key than the majority of their set. But it got the crowd involved in ways none of them wanted to be. They brought it back up to eleven on “Crayons are Forever.” which features awesome finger tapping by guitarist, Stiletto. BS101 closed their all too short set with their 40 song medley. The song is a mashup of hit songs from throughout history, including everything from Spice Girls to Led Zeppelin. Originally only 20 songs, the addition features Daft Punk, Alanis Morrissette, and the Bee Gees (who knew bassist Doc Johnson could sing that high?) The set would have been a winner without it, but this last number blew the roof off. And they deserve congratulations for winning the competition.
Written by Jarod Semple
Photography by Sarah Semple