Uncontrollable: Urge Overkill in Toronto

July 9, 2011 at 2:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Nash KatoBands reform for two reasons: Of course, the first is money. First time around, they squandered the cash they made  (or were cheated ut of it), and working at Burger King doesn’t really replace the rock n roll lifestyle. The second reason is that they decided that they could overcome the mistakes of before, and still had something to say.

In the mid-90s, Urge Overkill were one of those could have been/should have been bands. Each record pegged the bar a little higher. Couple that with an impeccable sense of style, and having one of your songs used in Quentin Tarrentino’s Pulp Fiction:, Urge should have been superstars. Then came Exit the Dragon, a record unfairly looked upon as a stumble after Saturation , and the usual boring drug related problems and could have been/ should have been/weren’t. The band split up in 1996.

The two founding members Eddie “King” Rosier and Nash Kato had been playing reunion shows for about five years, but hadn’t released any new material until Effigy. When I heard the song, I though, wow, it sounds just like the old Urge. Not a goofy new direction, and not a retreat, but perhaps, something orthodox. Then came a Rock n Roll Submarine and a tour which brought Urge to  the Horseshoe Tavern. Now, I’ve seen Urge twice before. Once at some long forgotten club on the Danforth, and again at the thousand plus Phoenix, so the chance to see them in the Horseshoe which might hold 300 was an opportunity not to be missed.

First up was Bella Clava. The band played an energetic forty minute set as the bar gradually filled up. The crowd was appreciative, but I could see two major problems. First, the name will condemn them to a lifetime of misdirected Google searches, and second the music had a very dated classic rock feel. It’s not that they were bad musicians or anything, but it might easily be slotted into whatever Canadian content requirements Q-107 has on its playlist. (At one point,I was afraid the long drum intro meant Radar Love was coming up) As the set dragged on, my mind wandered.

Unfortunately, none of my pictures of the band were usable. You can hear them though and judge their sound for yourself at their MySpace page

Still, that wasn’t what we were there for. Urge Overkill came on stage a little after 10:30 and immediately launched into Effigy,  their first new song in 15 years and the single from the album. And pow! It was as if  those 15 years hadn’t happened. A classic urge song, but not in a derivative we-don’t-have-any-new-ideas way, but rather something which fit into their sound: big riffs, catchy chorus, punk energy. Sort of what Cheap Trick might sound like if they were any good.

The set list avoided Jesus Urge Superstar and Americruiser,  but otherwise covered Urge’s career. The bulk of the songs was from Saturation  (probably their biggest album.), but  I was pleased though that they played about half of the Stull EP, my favourite of their records. (Too bad they didn’t play their version of Hot Chocolate’s Emmaline, but you can’t have everything)

So by now, you realize which catergory of reunion Urge fall into. The 15 years of so didn’t make any difference, and to see them playing in a sweaty club was a great experience.

Set List

Positive Bleeding
Poison Flower
Back on Me
Erica Kane
Somebody’s Else’s Body
Rock and Roll Submarine
Vacation in Tokyo
(That;s the) Barclords
Take Me
Heavenly Thrills 90210
Bottle of fur
The Break/Stull

Encore #1

Quiet Person
Woman to Woman

Encore #2

Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon
Sister Havana



  1. gmacmedia said,

    Damn! Great post. I saw them in 1995 in Montreal at the Metropolitan (I think) – it was a super duper show. Killer set list. Thanks for sharing.

    • fischerzed said,

      T’was a fine show indeed. A silk Urge Overkill tie would have made the evening perfect though. I bought a copy of the CD at the show which is also worth a listen. Funny thing is, my copy had no track listing on it. Hmm.

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