Take Out The Trash Festival Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON - May 22 to 24, 2003

Take Out The Trash Festival Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON - May 22 to 24, 2003
An inaugural year for this three-night affair of bands, B-films and beer. And if you think the surrounding Parkdale neighbourhood is rough around the edges, you should have seen Brantford's Transylvania 500, playing after a two-year layoff. The duo of Count Suckula (haunted Hammond organ) and Wolfboy (drums) play their budget rock instrumentals a little loose at the best of times, but fortunately the worse they play, the more entertaining their sets are. The Matadors, a stand-up bass wielding threesome from London, played a sweaty set of evil-sounding rockabilly, followed by a good shot of dirty blues from Toronto's Bush League. Their drums and double guitar line-up was fronted by an obnoxious singer whose antics amused some and annoyed others, but better annoyed than bored. Veteran rockers the Chickens kept the "Night of the Growing Bands" theme alive by bringing five people to the stage and pounding out a straight-ahead rock set. Festival organisers the Tijuana Bibles did not disrupt the numbers pattern when their six masked musicians hit the stage. The sleazy sax sounds (and nice organ and trumpet touches) set the right mood for guitarist the Crippler to remove his pants, appropriate since the Bibles wrote the theme song to the Naked News. Friday night started well with the Hentchmen-like '60s Farfisa-fuelled frat rock of the Midways, who were followed by the Glads from Ottawa, whose growl-y guitar garage reminded me of Untamed Youth's grittier numbers. Montreal's Le Nombre blistered through an exhausting set of high octane, loud rock and roll, which got the juices flowing for the most anticipated set of the festival: the first show in nine years from the Leather Uppers. Groovy Greg and Classy Craig (in lovely matching orange and brown pantsuits) were surprisingly tight, as the guitar and drums combo (switching halfway through) rocked their classics in fun-loving Uppers style. Toronto's Deadly Snakes had a tough act to follow but they kept the momentum going until last call with their sometimes bluesy, sometimes soulful but always rockin' tunes. Saturday featured the Chains, six Montrealers whose music matched their full-on '60s outfits and vintage instruments (including an Acetone organ). The honour of wrapping things up went to fellow nattily dressed Montrealers Les Sequelles. The heavy fuzz they used made them sound a lot more sinister than I remember, but in a good way.