Heavy Trash in Toronto – A Review

April 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm (Uncategorized)

Rock and roll.

At its heart, it’s sweat and sex. And no more so than in a live form.

If that sounds like your idea of a good time, Friday’s Heavy Trash show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto was time well spent. 

The Horseshoe is one of my favourite venues in Toronto. It’s small  (approximate capacity 250), and there are almost no bad sight lines.  It’s a nice experience when you can actually see the colour of the singer’s eyes.

First up were the Weirdies, a three-piece garage-punk band who’ve been around for a couple of years. They’re about to record their second album, but it’s worth picking up the first one – The Weirdies in 3D. 12 breakneck songs in 24 minutes. I bought a copy at the show and listened to the entire thing on the way home (so now I know just how long it takes to drive to the Horseshoe from my house).   

How to describe the Weirdies? Imagine Betty Boop fronting the Ramones. Throw in a bit of the 5,6,7,8s and you’re close  (and I mean all of that as a compliment). We conditioned not to expect much from opening bands. But half way through the first song, I broke into a grin. This was worth arriving early for. The set was a lot like the record: fast and fun.

 Next up were CatL, and I confess they were the reason I came to the show.  I first heard about them in a profile in Now Magazine .  I listened to the album and was hooked.  CatL have been around for a couple of years and have two records out, ..¿Adónde vas? A ningún lado and the outstanding new one With the Lord For Cowards you will find no place.  (Listen to it on their MySpace page)


(None of the CatL pictures I took turned out – this is the cover for the second album )

 CatL took the stage at about 10:40. No introduction, they just started playing. And they were instantly great. Combining a reverence for R&B and blues with the snottiness and energy of punk.   

CatL played songs from both their records, originals and covers (Bob Dylan’s “Outlaw Blues” and others)  for about an hour, by which time the now-packed Horseshoe was fully awake.  

Heavy Trash took the stage at about 11:50.  “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the legendary Horseshoe Tavern” and they were off. 

 I’ve seen Jon Spencer four times over the years. Twice in Pussy Galore, once with Boss Hog, and finally with the Blues Explosion. Spencer is a consummate showman who clearly loves what he’s doing: Channelling a mutant Las Vegas Elvis, every utterance to the audience seemed to begin “Uh, Ladies and gentlemen…”  At one point spencer interrupted a song to announce he had been overcome by a feeling so strong he couldn’t continue, that he wanted to talk about something very important to him: ROCK N ROLL. We loved it.

Unlike Spencer’s Blues Explosion, Heavy Trash are interested in rockabilly, but not the Stray Cats or the often tame version we are often exposed to. No, the harsher, the rawer sounds. Mix in a punk sensibility and you have Heavy Trash.  Matt Verta-Ray, formerly of Madder Rose and Speedball plays guitar and sings lead on a couple of songs. As good as Midnight Soul Serenade is, it doesn’t compare with the live experience.

Heavy Trash played an hour-long set, and then an encore of almost half an hour. We staggered out of the Horseshoe at 1:30, spent but satisfied.


  1. Paul said,


    Sorry i missed this one.

    I’m a little ashamed of my current hockey play-off addiction, but there you have it.

    Sounds like it was an awesome show.



    • fischerzed said,

      I’m not a hockey fan, but come June 11, I’m planning to shut out for the world for the duration of the world cup.

      Fortunately I’ve got shows to see before that happens (Massive Attack and LCD Soundsystem in May)

  2. Music Notes July 2010 « Notes from Underground said,

    […] not often I see the same band twice in a year. Saw Heavy Trash back in April, now Spencer is touring with his blues band to promote a greatest hits package. […]

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