Jay Reatard / Brutal Knights / Chocolat Sneaky Dee’s, Toronto ON October 16

The night had a calm start with Montreal’s Chocolat taking the stage with their fluid blend of folk country and good old fashioned rock’n’roll. What began as a throwback to ’70s punk quickly transformed into a rockabilly set with a heavy folk-country feel. It wasn’t until near the end of the set that I realized that their lyrics were sung in French.

Toronto’s Brutal Knights are notorious for riling up the crowd and as expected, they delivered with vigour. Their entrance onto the stage was met with an instant mosh pit complete with crowd-surfing, people losing their shoes, and kids getting stuck in the low rafters of the ceiling. The five-piece street punks played a short, 20-minute set and were off the stage just as quickly to make room for Jay Reatard.

One could sense the anticipation as Jay Reatard and his amazingly big haired bassist took the stage. The first official gig since his chaotic set in April that made him a YouTube sensation, Reatard delivered and proved that his newfound fame is no fluke. The band’s punk-infused sound left the crowd a little confused, as no one knew whether to keep on moshing or begin to dance; they settled for both.

Reatard’s higher pitched vocals and the drawn out rhythmic beat in the music was slightly reminiscent of Gang of Four. The powerful, pulsing beat is tight enough for one to conclude that this band have at least three rock anthems under their belt — watch out air guitar players and garage bands.

What began as a calmer night with a set from Chocolat that left the crowd weary of what was to come, quickly morphed into a sweaty dance party that proved that punk rock lives on with style.