The Avengers in Toronto – A Review

August 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Google “the Avengers” and you get either something about the Marvel superheroes (being made into a Joss Whedon directed movie in 2012) or the old British TV show. Keep scrolling, and you’ll get the band. One of the original US punk bands, the Avengers were one of the opening bands for the Sex Pistols final show in San Francisco.

The band was formed in 1977 by Penelope Houston and Greg Ingram (still in the band today), and lasted a couple of years before splitting in 1979. Their only album The Avengers (aka the Pink Album) was released after they split, and a couple of other collections of their material have surfaced since then (notably Died for your Sins and The American in Me, both featuring demos and live recordings, but are hard to get. Contact the band though their web site of listen at myspace. The band eventually reformed with a new rhythm section, and last night paid their first visit to Toronto.

But first up was Teenage X, a band new to me. They’re a Toronto four-piece and play a sort of melodic punk. The band played a thirty minute set: musically they were tight and the songs catchy although some of the subject matter (“I’m wasted” for example) was a little predictable. Their myspace page   has three demos and a couple of live Youtube videos. Stick with the videos, as the demos are a bit too poppy, and in my opinion, don’t reflect the band’s live sound. It’s not easy to be first up on a Monday night, but they brought out enough people to make the show worthwhile. 

The Avengers took the stage at 10:50 with “We are the one.”  Thirty years after it was recorded, the song still sounds good. In fact, the Avengers as a whole sounded fresh, never mind that Greg and Penelope must be over 50 now, they put on as good as show as many half their age.  

Without much ado, the band ploughed through the Pink album playing all the hits, “Car Crash,” “White Nigger,” “the American in Me” and even the Stones cover “Paint in Black.” The Pink album’s other cover “Money” was saved for the two-song encore.  Pounding drums, pumping bass, buzzsaw guitar, and energetic vocals, it was a great sight…and sound. Missing though was Penelope haranguing the audience (usually a part of Avengers’ shows); perhaps they heard Canadians are polite.

Two little complaints. first, the set was only 40 minutes long. Even adding the encore, it wa still well under an hour. It can’t be a great deal of fun 30 years into your career playing to a crowd of less than 100 people, but those who were there wer certainly appreciative of the band’s performance. Second, unless I miss my guess, the band were simply playing their old songs, nothing new. This makes them essentially a revival act, no different from the sad old bands that play their hits at Casino-rama. Now, you might say, “so what” no one goes to see the Stones for their new material.” True, but that’s because the Stones don’t  write good songs any  more – they’ve been rubbish longer than they were great. I’m certain Penelope Houston is capable of writing good songs (witness her admittedly different solo records), and it would be good to hear them.  

That aside, it was a great way to end Simcoe day.

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2 Comments

  1. Paul said,

    Whaddya mean the Rolling Stones don’t write good songs anymore!?

    There’s that one called?…er, wait a minute, there’s that other one from a few albums back; can’t quite remember the name?…Or the one that goes…. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…You may have a point.

    • fischerzed said,

      In my not-so-humble opinion, the last “good” Stones album was Some Girls. Now I know some peopel will make the case for Emotion Rescue orTatoo You, but I think it’s more accurate to say those records had some good songs on them. It’s better to burn out than to rust.

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