Zaphod Beeblebrox, which bills itself as “The Nightclub at the End of the Universe”, has attracted eclectic bills over the years by opening Mondays for free showcases. No charge, and no one gets paid – it’s a chance for up-and-coming bands to get some stage time and audiences to see some free music.

As a consequence, a number of hipper-than-thou Ottawans can boast of seeing bands like Hot Hot Heat, Figurines, Matt Mayes and Magneta Lane “before they got big”, as well as a huge number of outfits which never got big because frankly they were terrible.

While not terrible, the first band seemed geared to the type of audience which would otherwise be listening to the Wallflowers, Dave Matthews or Matchbox 20. Since they didn’t introduce themselves, I was forced to consult the bill – they may be called Out Reason. I can remember nothing else about them besides the lead singer’s covetable guitar and that they asked the audience to sing the lyric “And maybe a Lexus!” during one of their songs.

The next band was called the Undead. Needless to say, it’s a name that’s already been grabbed by a couple of punk rock groups, most notably Misfits outcast Bobby Steele’s 1980s outfit. Could this local quartet be unaware of the precedent? The bassist had a Misfits T-shirt on, so one might hope not. The singer’s vague resemblance to Britney Spear’s clueless rapper and estranged husband Kevin Federline was even less encouraging.

Fortunately, the music was a lot better than appearances would suggest – a very credible take on the doom-death metal hybrid propagated by dISEMBOWELMENT and Winter.

The next band was the true draw of the evening: Norway’s 120 Days has made a few waves in Europe with their Moog’n’bass death disco. Signed to Vice Records in the U.S. - home on this side of the Atlantic to The Streets, Boredoms, DFA 1979 and Bloc Party – the band has a quick in with the dance-loving part of the underground music crowd, and the club was getting quite full by the time they hit the stage.

The band makes most of its music with synthesizers, and cites krautrock and bands like New Order, Suicide and Stereolab, as well as more guitar-oriented outfits like the Stooges and Spacemen 3 as influences – the latter was particularly evident in their music.

The crowd seemed quite impressed and shuffled in time to the quartet’s motor-beat Singer Adne Meisfjord finished off the short set by stripping off his shirt and striding into the audience. It seems safe to bet we’ll be hearing more from 120 Days - not to mention paying more next time they pass through town.

Local band Embassies of Denmark seemed ready to offer an anticlimactic finish to the night after 120 Days sweaty set, but instead they scorched the decent-sized crowd which remained with a brief but torrid set of screaming hardcore punk.

The conventional opener aside, it was a memorable evening.
















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