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Zaphod Beeblebox, Ottawa, 29/11/2012
The Blood was conceived by core members Cardinal Jesus Hate and J.J. Bedsore, and first made a splash with 1983’s ‘False Gestures for a Devious Public’. Since then Bedsore lost a battle with the bottle and the Cardinal a.k.a. Colin Smith has made occasional forays under the Blood name, largely to benefit a longstanding grievance against human trafficking.
With it coming up on thirty years since the band’s formation, the time was obviously ripe for a new collection of miscreants to form under the banner of the Blood and visit the shores of North America. Apparently a couple of members couldn’t make it, but a new rhythm section was recruited as soon as the band made landfall and it was onward to their first gig, in Ottawa ... at a sandwich store.
Once upon a time, when rock ’n’ rollers wanted to earn a bit of money, the local music store or odd jobs fit the bill. Nowadays it seems underemployed musos open up a cafe. How else to explain local shows by Juno Award winning heavy metal act KEN Mode at The Daily Grind, Dirty Projectors bassist Nat Baldwin at Raw Sugar and as November dwindled to a close, class of ’82 punk rockers the Blood at hipster sarnie salon Pressed?
Whereas the usual grab at Pressed in the winter months leans toward wool (as many layers as possible), for this evening the venue was packed to the saturation point with black leather and spikes (as far as could be determined, only your correspondent dared to show his face in a brown cloth coat). The owners obviously knew what was going to go down, as the artwork that usually decorates the wall, and much else easily broken, had been cleared away, leaving only the rehabilitated church pews which serve as its wall seating in place.
Two crusty combos were recruited from the local scene to kick things off: Shackles and Chloroform, which boast veterans from scene heavy hitters Asile (whose bassist played drums for both acts ... the local scene’s a bit incestuous) and the now defunct Germ Attak. Both bands kicked out some fiery street punk, inspiring a fair amount of moshing from the crowd, with one industrious crusty making an airborne leap from the room’s four-foot high room divider onto the seething mass.
They were followed by Montreal quartet Hold a Grudge, a hardcore outfit with a fondness for Gorilla Biscuiots and 7 Seconds whose taste in music did not seem to reach the whole of the audience. Singer Jee-P gave it his all with a bouncy performance, and drummer Scott is a skin-pounder par excellence, but by this time the crowd was definitely awaiting the Blood.
Although a band with only one original member is not an enticing prospect, it must be said the reconvened Blood does a hell of a job. Yes, guitarist Jesus Atheist might look like he would be more comfortable touring with Hanoi Rocks or Dogs D’Amour, but he slings a mean axe, while Eve of Destruction does a most capable job on keyboards and backing vocals. As for the Cardinal, there’s no hair under the mitre these days but otherwise Smith was in fine fettle as he led the band through a bevy of tunes from ‘False Gestures’, starting with their big one, ‘Stark Raving Normal’, which immediately had the crowd singing along.
There was so much rambunctious pushing and shoving that the soundman slung one punk, insufficiently mindful of the PA system, out into the cold.
Inside the show raged on through tunes dedicated to mocking religion and getting hammered.
As things came to a close, Smith’s mitre was a doing a quick tour of its own through the well-lubricated audience and it was time to end things where they started, with ‘Stark Raving Normal’.
Stark Raving Normal
Parasites in Paradise
Done Some Brain Cells
Joys of Noise
Calling The Shots
Waste of Flesh And Bones
Stark Raving Normal (Repeat)
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Andrew Carver watches 80’s punk The Blood play a storming set at sandwich shop-turned venue Pressed at their first ever gig in Ottawa
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