Tricky Woo, Rocking Out

(I wrote this last week but forgot to post it)
Concert Review
Tricky Woo with The Illuminati and The Rocky Fortune Touring Band
Yes yes, it was going to be a good night. I slipped in to Broken City at 9:38, the absolute last person to enter before the bouncer wrote SOLD OUT on the frosted window. I may have cut in front of some people outside. I’m not sure but nobody bothered me so I won’t ask any questions.
I navigated through the sea of people and headed to the bar to grab a shot of Jaegermister (this is a rock show after all) and a Victoria Bitter. I figured I should load up since I didn’t know if I’d be able to fight my way back to the bar. But enough about my penchant for imported beer, let’s get to the music.
The Rocky Fortune Touring Band delivered a competent and solid opening set. Three emo-esque youth formed the band, one bassist/vocalist who whined when he spoke but wailed when he sang, and a virtuoso guitarist who deserves to be playing a much bigger stage. The crowd was apprehensive but warm to these Alberta boys who opened up the show with a well practiced set of hybrid dance-rock and country.
Next up was The Illuminati (warning: myspace). Now, what can I say about The Illuminati? I suppose they were definitely the loudest band of the night… in the same way that Spinal Tap is the loudest band in England. Yes, they play fast, yes they have some skill, yes one guy has a half-finished full-back tattoo of a flaming guitar, but God did they suck. Imagine the energy of Tricky Woo but with the most atrocious math-rock beats that prevent any sort of groove from starting, and a total disregard for songwriting conventions so that you don’t know if you’re flying into a 7/8 verse or a 3/4 chorus, and then the song comes crashing to a halt before returning to the tonic. It was at about this point I noticed that the bar had complementary ear plugs, which I availed myself of. Also, through an “unfortunate” accident I ordered two beers instead of one. It’s hard to order drinks with merely hand signals because the shitty band is too loud. Somehow The Illuminati got a slight encore, probably out of sheer politeness. Calgary is a nice town.
With the Illuminati mercifully leaving the stage, Tricky Woo came on. What a class act! The lead singer wore a vintage-y suede frilled jacket and no shirt, though his chest-hair, Austin Powers-like, reminded one of the logo of the Pontiac Firebird. The rhythm guitarist had a V-shaped guitar: “You know they’re going to rock with a guitar like that,” said my new friend, uninitiated into the world of Tricky Woo. The bassist’s blouse came right out of Syd Barrett’s personal wardrobe and the drummer wore jeans and was shirtless. And then they started. I recall that they opened their set with Fly The Orient and then launched without stop into Born In The City. Beyond that it’s all a blur. Three to four songs at a time were played back to back at a level of rockosity never before displayed at the uber-trendy Broken City. You know it’s a good show when the indie kids start an honest to God mosh-pit (not a flail pit, mind you), and a skinny kid behind you starts screaming “crack some skulls!” I knew it was an amazing show because I decided to join in said mosh pit. That just doesn’t happen. Tricky Woo stuck with songs from their latest album First Blush, mixed up mostly with songs from their classic album Sometimes I Cry, and with a slight peppering of unreleased material.
At the end of the show I was sweaty and gross, my sleeves rolled up and collar released. “Fucking right,” said the obligatory mosh pit punk to me as he wandered off to find a ride home. Tricky Woo are an intense band, and I highly recommend seeing them if you are ready to rock out with your cock out (metaphorically).