Show Review: The City Streets @ Gus' Pub - Jan 13th 2011


January 13th 2011 @ Gus' Pub 

The City Streets (Montreal QC) - www.citystreetsband.com 
Young River - www.youngriverband.com 


The Scoop Outs_Jan13th2011_aThe Scoop Outs opened up the show, and I almost gave them points back for not wearing their own t shirt this time, but then I spotted the patch on the bassist's jeans - sneaky buggers! Actually, that's pretty original. Consider them back in my good books. At least, I've come to the point where I at least get their name right.
Truth be told, The Scoop Outs would be pretty boring as a straight ahead punk band, but the fact that these guys know when to drop the tempos and break into some great vocal harmonies keeps them interesting. Lightning fast guitar riffs and tasteful songwriting strike a good balance and should please pretty much any music fan. I don't think the Scoop Outs are the kind of band who expect to be world famous one day - having fun, playing shows, and writing music are the important things - and they do a great job of all of them.


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Young River_Jan13th2011_aThe only band on the bill whom I hadn't heard of, Young River, came out swinging with a heavy set of energetic rock. There wasn't much that didn't say " rock music' about these guys - the well worn P bass, the the tidy homemade pedal board, the flannel, the singer's crooked facial expressions while 'woah'ing his heart out - I could go on - but it all got the crowd up and dancing, which is all a band can really ask. Things got even more Neil Young-esq when the singer broke out the harmonica, but they avoided the blues jam fest and showed off a pretty impressive dynamic range. Overall they put on a major rock and roll set with great guitar solos and thick bass tone backed by tight drums and good vocals. They played like they were in front of a crowd of 500 and you can't fault them for that, so check them out next time they come to a city near you.



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The City Streets_Jan13th2011_eThe band that brought me back to this show was Montreal's the The City Streets. Watching the City Streets is sort of like watching a little bit of all your favorite bands - a little bit of Cap'n Jazz here, a little bit of Neutral Milk Hotel there. They're emotionally and musically complex enough to leave you with the feeling that you really saw something that was A Thing and not just kids who learned to play guitar like their rock star idols.
I've never really seen a band able to flow from jagged math rock riff outs into unironic RnB shuffles and country break downs without breaking a sweat. As mentioned last time we reviewed them, I feel like I'm selling these guys short, but the truth is I was too focused on just listening to and enjoying the music to take a hundred notes on my iPhone like I usually do.
Their set did drag on a little at the end with a series of fairly slow songs but they finished out with a slow burning explosion that was nothing if not satisfying. I'm a little apprehensive to hear their record, because with a band like this they could really choose to consciously make a record with one sound or another, and it might not be the one I like. But it's good risk to have to take, since the potential reward is fantastic music. It's safe to say City Streets are probably one of the best under-appreciated bands touring Canada right now, so please get out and see them if you get the chance.

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The final band of the night, The Fat Stupids, composed of seasoned Halifax punk veterans, played fast paced, no frills punk music and hit every note right. Unfortunately there's a reason most punk bands now have some kind of gimmick - because straight ahead 80s style punk is like the worn tires on your dads not-quite-vintage Hornet. It's pretty exciting to ride in a fast sports car, but after a thousand rides it's just getting old and lame. The Fat Stupids committed no crime, and dished up textbook dual vocals, lightening quick drums, and non stop riffage. I kept waiting for a magic Craig Hamlin solo to save me but in the end I had to pack it in after the intensity of the previous bands. Punk's not dead, and bands like the Fat Stupids help keep it that way. Punk rock music fans in 2011, please rock out to the Fat Stupids and have fun, because that's what we have left, pure drunken enjoyment.

- Review by Dan Nightingale



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