Canada appears to be going through a power-pop renaissance, with bands like Statues, Mother’s Children and Sonic Avenues (to say nothing of longstanding genre kingpins Sloan) wowing live audiences with a sound that looks back to the power pop of Big Star, the Nerves, the Raspberries, Shoes, the Romantics, the Plimsouls and the Flamin’ Groovies.

Thus, it was a meeting of past and present (and possibly future) when two capable modern-day combos, the aforementioned Mother’s Children and Sonic Avenues, shared a stage with a band stacked with veterans of groups that inspired them.

Unfortunately Magic Christian chose to roll through town at a time that a strike had shut down all public transit and a flood of Arctic air had lowered the temperature to -20C (it got colder at night), and the audience of about 70 was not what one would expect for a band counting Flamin’ Groovie Cyril Jordan, Blondie drummer Clem Burke and the Plimsouls’ Eddie Munoz, but what it lacked in size it made up for in enthusiasm.

Sonic Avenues kicked thing off. The Montreal quartet favour the punk-influenced power pop of late-‘seventies groups like the Buzzcocks, but know enough of their musical history to throw a cover of ‘River Deep Mountain High’ on their set list. They might have played it too, if only the clock hadn’t been ticking ever closer to midnight when their set began – an earlier show by Virginian hip hop duo Clipse having run late.

Ottawa’s Mother’s Children tore through their own set of Stones and Kinks-influenced pop, and did manage to get around to a cover of ‘Til the End of the Day’ before time demands whisked them away.

Magic Christian includes not only a trio of veteran musicians, but a man who breathes musical fandom from his shoulder-length mop top and Nehru jacket to his pointy Beatle boots, Paul Kopf. Twisting and turning, shaking a tambourine and affecting an appropriately Jagger-esque pout.

Jordan was toting his iconic Ampeg guitar – the same model, if not the same instrument, seen-through on the cover of the Groovies’ ‘Teenage Head’. Munoz, shifted over onto bass bounced up and down in his Chuck Taylor sneakers. As one would expect, Burke - sporting a CBGB T-shirt - was a stellar drummer. The band dishes out a brisk, all too brief set of garage-rock-cum-power-pop (including a cover of the Who’s Out In The Street’, with a throbbing cover of ‘Teenage Head’ a particular highlight. For an encore they tore through a new tune 'The Real Thing', which sounds quite a bit like the Blues Magoos' chestnut ‘Down By The River’, and capped it all of with the immortal ‘Shake Some Action’, an appropriate end to an-all-too-short set of prime teenage rock.

Related Links:

Commenting On: Babylon, Ottawa, 17/1/2009 - Magic Christian

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last