The Last Pogo was a documentary, made and released in 1978, about the supposed “last ever punk show” at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. It’s easy to laugh about it 25 years later. I’ve been to many a punk gig at the ‘Shoe and hope to attend many more. Back in 1978, punk gigs were violent enough that the ‘Shoe were serious about banning punk bands. The Last Pogo Jumps Again is an in-depth look at the scene that spawned that infamous final concert, with original filmmaker Colin Brunton at the helm, along with Kire Paputts.

Just how in-depth it was, I had no idea. The documentary is three and a half hours long, and is clearly a labour of love for Brunton, who was on hand and chatting with attendees in the lobby on the night that I saw it. He is clearly in love with every interview and every sound bite. I get that. I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my time and I know what it’s like to talk to someone who is articulate and passionate about something that I love. Good filmmaking however, like good writing, is as much about good editing as it is about good storytelling, and editing is what The Last Pogo Jumps Again badly needed.

The film could easily have been an hour shorter. By the end, many of the interviewees were repeating themselves, and I also felt that a disproportionate amount  of the film was devoted to The Viletones. There is no question that The Viletones, led by Steven “Nazi Dog” Leckie, were influential, notorious and talented. Having Nirvana cover one of your songs is nothing to sneer at. Earlier this year, Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar) ended his show by inviting guest vocalist Sam Sutherland, author of Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk, onstage to cover The Viletones’ “Screaming Fist”. The Viletones played at the legendary CBGB’s in New York City and definitely helped put Toronto’s punk scene on the map. It just grew a bit wearying when, no matter how many other bands were interviewed and profiled, the focus always swung back to yet more footage of The Viletones and present-day interviews with Steven Leckie complaining that he’s a misunderstood genius.

On the plus side, there is a lot of great music in this film. Some bands I was already familiar with, like The Forgotten Rebels, Teenage Head, The Diodes and The Demics. Other bands were a pleasant surprise, like The Curse, an all female punk band that spit and snarled with the best of them. Interviewed today, the band members are sharp, savvy and funny, and I would love to see them reunite and record an album. All that remains of their legacy is a controversial 7″ called “Shoeshine Boy”, about the 1978 murder of Emmanuel Jacques.

The film is also one hell of a heady trip through a time in Toronto that I heard about but was a few years too young to take part in. I heard all about The Beverly Tavern, The Crash ‘n Burn and The Roxy. Is possible to feel wistful about events you never attended? Because that’s how I felt watching the footage from shows at those clubs. There’s the usual amount of bitching from the surviving punk veterans that punk these days sucks, but Joey Shithead from DOA wisely points out the dangers of waxing nostalgic about how it was all better back in the day. There were plenty of shitty bands back then, he reminds us, and there are good bands working now.

There’s a great quote near the end of the film from someone whose name I can’t recall – he pointed out that what often gets dismissed as nostalgia is a genuine and meaningful desire to revisit and re-examine something that was meaningful to a lot of people. We can’t escape the things that shape us.

So is the film worth watching? Absolutely, when you can watch it at your own pace. I’d throw it on at a party, crank it up and give everyone a raucous and irreverent history lesson.

RIP Lou Reed. I’m trying to remember when I first heard your name. It must have been sometime in the 80s, when I was getting into music, into new wave, punk, postpunk, and every new artist I fell in love with seemed to mention your name. Maybe it was that biography of Bowie, with the picture of you, him and Iggy Pop, resplendent in glitter and leather and platform boots.

Lou Reed was one of the most influential, maddening, brilliant, genre-breaking artists of his era. Of any era, ever. I had the privilege of seeing him perform live twice, and he blew my fucking mind. He was a poet, a perfectionist and a visionary who once told legendary journalist Lester Bangs that “My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds”.

Yes Lou, yes it was, and it grieves me to know that you’re not around anymore to bless us with your brilliant and incomparable bullshit.

Look at the picture below. It was taken at Lollapalooza. Chicago, August 9, 2009. I was there for a friend’s wedding. I bought a single ticket for the last day of Lollapalooza mainly because Lou was performing. He played right before Jane’s Addiction, and seeing two of my favourite artists back to back on that sweltering summer night remains one of my most euphoric memories.

See the figure onstage with the white flying V guitar? That’s Lou. He was wonderful that day. Cranky, intense, focused and brilliant.

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Lou had a fearsome reputation and he was the first to admit it was true. I remember an episode of the classic and lamented Canadian TV show “The New Music” – one of the most intelligent music journalism shows I’ve ever seen – where Daniel Richler tried to interview Lou Reed. The New Music had actual informed, smart, music nerds as hosts, and Daniel was no slouch, having performed in a punk band himself. Lou ate him for breakfast. The interview was live, and Lou replied to Daniel’s questions with monosyllables, not even bothering to look at him. After 5 minutes, Daniel asked “Do you want to do this interview?” Lou said no, tore off his microphone and walked off set.

I don’t ask that my heroes be nice people. All I ask is that they be true to themselves. In that respect, Lou never let me down.

I love this interview. Interviewer: “Have you stopped using drugs?” Jim Reid: “Is Jack Daniels a drug?”

Also, possible new JAMC album. If William and Jim don’t kill each other first.

http://whopperjaw.net/jesus-and-mary-chain/

Check out this sample from a chilling sample of Depeche Mode’s “Fly On The Windscreen” by former DM member Vince Clarke and Ane Brun.

http://www.slicingupeyeballs.com/2012/09/16/ane-brun-vince-clarke-fly-on-the-windscreen-stream/

Who doesn’t love dark noise washing over them? Noise Baptism, a post-punk, goth, punk podcast, delivers. Listen and savour.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/noise-baptism/id544926443

Apparently, rock music is not longer cool, and no young person would want anything to do with it.

I’m going on record as saying that I firmly disagree with this entire article. First off, rock is dead? Says who? No one under 40 listens to rock music? The all-ages show by The Kills that I went to a couple of weeks after this article was published was packed with everyone from teens to people quite a bit older than I.

There are new artists in every genre emerging all the time, rock included. Anyone who fails to notice this is either lazy or wilfully ignorant.

Finally, I think it’s fucking excellent that musicians are continuing to create and play music regardless of what age they are. Leonard Cohen is 77 and has just released an excellent album. I love that the “rules” of aging are being redefined, or better yet, done away with altogether.

And how ironic is it that rules are now being imposed on rock music?

One of the many cool things about writing a music blog is that I am sometimes approached to interview and/or review upcoming artists.

Luke Leighfield is one such artist. Hailing from the UK, this 24-year-old singer-songwriter has just released a new album, New Season. This is his fourth album in five years, which leads me to think that he had either amassed a wealth of material while honing his craft, and then releases it in stages, or he’s rushing out albums as fast as he can.

Judging from the quality of the work on New Season, I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between the two. Leighfield is obviously a skilled and seasoned performer, but the tracks on this album at least lack passion. His bio says that he spent his childhood training to be a classical musician and his teenage years at underground punk shows, and it feels as though he’s still in an artistic tug of war between these two elements. On some songs, most notably the title track, Leighfield marries his classical and punk sensibilities to create driving rhythms and cascades of sounds.

Definitely an artist to watch as he continues to grow into his self as a musician and composer. New Season is out now on Got Got Need Records.

Website: http://www.lukeleighfield.com

 

 

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Lee’s Palace, almost midnight, and Melora Creagher is being her usual and wonderfully insane self.

Image  —  Posted: April 7, 2012 in concert review
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