When Catl. played the ''intermission act'' on a side stage during Dan Burke's NeXT showcase at Pop Montreal, the juke-joint boogie-blues trio announced they would be coming back to Montreal with Jon Spencer within a few weeks. As promises are meant to be kept, the twangy Toronto outfit took the stage without any pretense last night and played a set within the very strict parameters of open G blues.
Unexpected guest Bloodshot Bill worked his way through a short set perched high up in a balcony probably similar to the one where stage actor John Wilkes Booth played his most significant role — an idea of Blues Explosion's guitarist Judah Bauer. If you've never had the chance to catch Bloodshot Bill live, imagine a six-foot-two grease ball with four or five different voices coming out of the same body simultaneously, while his kick drum gets the same treatment as a brake pedal in road-rage carnage. By far one of Montreal's finest exports.
GQ ran a series of articles last year about gross sartorial mistakes and iconoclastic behaviours in fashion (is that an oxymoron?) that included a segment on leather pants and concho belts, as a warning to anyone who is not Jim Morrison. With a career that spans over 25 years, Jon Spencer is still on top of his game and, more surprising, his leather bellbottoms still fit him perfectly.
As usual, the Blues Explosion did not waste a single second and tore into a set that included recent numbers like ''Black Mold'' and ''Black Thoughts,'' as well as classics such as ''Sweet and Sour,'' ''Afro,'' ''Bellbottoms'' and their Dub Narcotic Sound System cover ''Fuck Shit Up'' with Judah Bauer on lead vocals. As the night culminated with throngs of satisfied customers rushing to the merch tables to scoop up the recently reissued Blue Explosion back catalogue, it seems that no one was even remotely shocked that a guy close to the stage had kept his pants around his ankles nearly half the set.