Walking towards the Monarch Tavern, I knew I was walking into a Halloween Party. What I didn’t know was that there were going to be four various styles of music in the same room. I see this all the time, with the same genre of music with different styles, but this was just different styles that captured not only the essence of different vibrations but was a visual spectacle onto itself. The crowd seemed very tame compared to what was about to hit the stage. Dressed in fun costumes, this relaxed crowd soon became entrenched in a bath of new and exciting sounds that are now being explored on today’s stage.
In my opinion, these bands seemed to be exploring the past underground greatness and are trying to imitate what made them great and then proceed to expand where the past bands left off. For example the first band up was called Amelia Earheart’s Sonic Aviary and if you old folks remember an old English band called Gong, well, this could be the Son of Gong. They started off with a slow psychedelic climb into our psyche. The glint in their eye suggested that they wanted to give you a cosmic experience, like lying in a dewey soaked patch of grass and have you travel upward towards a fluffy white sky and turn the channels on their planetary television set. A dancer slowly emerged from his intense shyness and proceeded to blossom on stage and cling to the singer before he began his flight at the front of the stage. As the dance continued the singer proceeded to remove his pants only to reveal another set of Swirly Zebra jumpers and then fruit of the doom style pants. They have a hippie look that belongs on a commune that consumes carrots daily so they can see properly throughout the day. They truly have that peace, love and all that great shit vibe to them. I really got a kick from them when they were leaving and they announced the next band. According to Amelia Earheart, Big Milk will pound your ass into a trash can.
Here are some images of Amelia Earheart’s Sonic Aviary:
I see a man dressed in a cow costume and looks udderly ridiculous, I know Big Milk is hitting the stage. I’m not sure where to start, except my first impression of them were a bunch of Punk Psychedelic Space Cowboys. They started off sounding country and got the crowd warmed up with a rousing- YEE- Band, HAW- Crowd. Then they went to- Howdy-Band- Pardner-Crowd and then they finished with Big Milk-Band- F*(! Big Milk- Crowd. The band consisted of a Cow, we know that, a Brokeback Woody, a quiet clown on keys and a manic joker that seemed to represent both Comedy and Tragedy. They ramped up their sound to punk status and then began to add strange noise, scratches, phone call sounds and inaudible emotions to add to the confusion. There was no confusion in the audience, they got every note and reacted in their own profound way. Real punk hasn’t been this fun in a very long time. By the end of their set they were hitting a level of cosmic awareness that overtook the room. People rushed to the bar afterward to order a tall glass of cool…you guessed it- Big Milk!
Here are some images of Big Milk:
Next up, in my opinion, is one of the fastest emerging art rock bands to seep into Toronto unwitting soul. They are a cross of really early Pink Floyd mixed with a Peter Gabriel vibe mixed with Philosophy Rock from the pages of history. They are Mihalyistic Entities and they are the theatre arts band Toronto hasn’t seen in quite awhile. The band seemed to build into long jam sessions with a purpose in mind. Their theme this time is life and death; simple topics to discuss around the water cooler, if that water cooler was filled with vodka. The deathly hollowed look of the singer kept you eye glued, as he slithered on stage with a black plastic jacket and his walking staff. He proceeded to haunt the audience with his vicious screams and jaunting vocals. He would immerse himself in the crowd and pick out unwilling participants for unknown rituals. They create serious moment of reflection as well as catastrophic dance moves that will leave you unsettled or unbridled. There was some violence and death and life and tenderness. It seems to truly be a ritual filled with a sense of cleansing if you surrender to it. They finished the set of with a punk version of the Monster Mash! These guys do not disappoint! I hope they do a version of The Sound of Music next…
Here are some images of Mihalyistic Entities:
Believe it or not, the audience was not tired yet, and I can say I am certainly glad about that, because up next was a force of nature that you had to withstand! Her name is Feura. She is tiny with the strength of ten men! She came on crushing the stage like the classic Wendy O Williams from the Plasmatics. With her top consisting of two strips of tape and an attitude that she can rip your face off at any moment, it takes a minute to get use to this rage on stage! Highly unabashed and ready to bash, Feura gets right into her own mosh pit and get the crowd slamming to her music. She will fall on her back and jerk off her microphone, she will scream in your face so you know what she just ate for dinner. She should kill the energizer bunny on stage because even he can’t keep up her. It is clear almost from the beginning; she has that power to connect with the audience. If you didn’t connect maybe she would punch you in the face until you did. After all is said and done, underneath it all she does come with a message. It become obvious that queer rights is at the top of her priorities. If this is how she has to get her message across, more power to her. I applaud her for standing up and empowering others around her. So if you are feeling alone and misunderstood as a queer person, this show may awaken something inside of you.
Here are some images of Feura:
So there you have it, four very different art rock shows with different messages and ideas. It was perfect for Halloween, because it is a night we get to dress up anyway we want and nobody looks at you differently, in fact they embrace the difference each one of us brings to the table, and isn’t that what all four of these bands are really saying?