Spotlight Canada

Freezing off our mascara - Glam/Punk in the land good weather forgot

Sometimes it seem like yesterday, sometimes just so far away...I remember the good old days - under the benign spectre of Sebastian Bach, glam came to the forefront. Slik Toxic, Sven Gali, Slash Puppet, Big House. They were the torchbearers. Below them were the likes of Sassy Scarlet,The Cosmic Saints, Backlash, No Morals and an early incarnation of The Sinisters. They were (finally) going to throw the Tragically Hip-isms away for good. Burn down the chess-club rock-isms brought forth by the likes of
Rush! All was good. But, all of the sudden, the Pearl-Vanna-In-Chains-Garden thing went too far and the two premier rockclubs in the city went down in flames. First Rock 'n Roll Heaven and then, albeit later, The Gasworks. Sebastian Bach returned with the aid of M.E.A.T Magazine head honcho Drew Masters and made Gasworks managementre-consider the decision to close down, but a year- and-a-half later, it closed down for good. Gone, but not forgotten.

After a few scandals with Slik Toxic, a dismal second album by a now alternative Sven Gali, the breakup of Slash Puppet and a (let's face it) really BAD debut album by Big House, with the embarrasing ballad "Baby Doll", all seemed lost. But a few bands kept it up. The Sinisters, for one. (Check out the reviews section of Glitzine for the good news!) Steven Saint of the Cosmic Saints left and hooked up with this amazing band and has since brought them into the spotlight. Almost no press, but no compromise. They did it all themselves, baby. And no spotlight on Toronto would be complete without a mention of Orange Alert. No it's not a band, it's an event. You see originally the band The Concience Pilate had a following. Mark Holmes (-ex Platinum Blonde) had an idea. Marks new band Vertigo got together with T.C.P. and held something that was bigger than a live show. It combined live bands, fashion shows, and the atmosphere of an art gallery to create a safe haven for the glamour minded. Yes, it was a little arty and lacking in the sleaze we all love, but it created a niche and a medium for all those without a bovine adoration for all things grunge.

These days, it's only picking up. Tylenol 5, formed from the ashes of The Chronics, has been making a name for themselves of late and deservedly so. With a genuine love for old-school punk (bass player Sam McDermitt played one of his first shows opening for the late, great Johnny Thunders) and a modern, agressive edge, their shows have been nothing short of thrilling. I caught one of their first gigs opening for Michael Monroe and I was less than impressed to say the least. But the last time I saw them, the stage was in a complete shambles at the end. Ending whith The Damned song "New Rose, they just slaughtered! With the all-chick arrogance of Tulli opening, it was a $20 show for a $5 cover. How can you go wrong?

With the re-discovery of punk, a re-discover of ska couldn't be far off. And what do youget when you combine a top notch rock/ska band with a sexy, way-glam female vocalist? You get Peel, that's what. This is a band that does need to find its own legs still, but they show promise. With Mike and Scott doing a fine job on bass and drums, this leaves Jim free on guitar with guitar and harmony vocals handled by Steve. Ahh, but vocalist Myriam is the focal point. When they break into their signature covers on Zep's "D'jer Maker" and The Beatles "Why Don't We Do It In The Road", believe me boys : it's all waving tongues and lust from a stricly hormonal perspective, if you know what I mean.

And that's just the beginning. (I could go on for pages, but Andreas would kill me!) There are others. Some of them firmly in the Orange Alert camp, like The Spy, Robin Black and the Intergalactic Rock Stars, Kai and the War Milk Boys, The Spy and the PlasticPalace- People. With The Concience Pilate on Hiatus, vocalist Niel Layton is doing the solo thing, for now. Others are less associated with Mark Holmes brilliant brainchild. The Hellz Kitchen Show, Dead By Dawn, The Millionairs, White Sluts and, one other very interesting band, Plasma Blast. They vere formed by Sinisters guitarist Steve Scarlet as a side project with vocalis Markus Ireland. Originally drafting Sam, from the afore- mentioned Tylenol 5, on bass and Tylenol 5 vocalist Tom Dorion on drums, they sound sort of like Johnny Thunders Heartbreakers
project. Sam has since left, but it's still going, though the future of this project is in question once The Sinisters decide that they're bored and want to hit it again. (they've been planning a Holloween gig, so the soap opera should unfold soon enough.)

The bottom line is that Toronto is happening once again. The future? That's anyone's guess, but maybe soon you'll think about Toronto without making that know the face I'm talking about...the one that says: "Toronto? Isn't that where Our Lady Peace is from? YUCK!"

Written by Adolf Cri$t. Edited by Andreas Persson