21 March 2006


Besides seeing DOA the first couple of times the concert which had the greatest effect on my life may have been the Avengers/Dishrags/Subhumans show in Dope City.

At the time I was waiting for punk rock to take North America by storm. I'm still waiting. No Canadian band was likely to lead cocaine-happy America out of its love affair with the Eagles and disco, it would have to be an American band. I figured the Avengers would be the band. Harder edged and more delightful to the eyes than the Ramones, the Eagles and John Travolta would soon be forgotten once word got around about this band.

Best as I can remember I had not yet heard anything about the Dishrags or the Subhumans. If they were half as good as DOA it would be one fuck of a show. I did not even remember what year this show took place in until I looked at the liner notes in the Avengers' cd you can pick up from Penelope Houston. The cost was $3. A buck a band, probably less since there was likely another band that played that night too. (After checking I learned the Wasted Lives and another band also played.)

Both the Dishrags and the Subhumans played punk rock with the force, humour and aggression that the best rock 'n' roll delivers like midnight pizza. I went on to see both bands dozens and dozens of times. Both bands were regularly featured at the Bad Allah Cabaret. The Subhumans' all ages Canada hall shows were some of the most fun I ever had. Those guys could entertain the troops like a dead drunk, naked Anne Murray.

The Avengers were a cut above both those groups that night however. My buddies and I could not believe how strikingly beautiful Penelope was. Pictures of her we had seen before the show were not of her best side. I cannot remember ever hearing a better punk rock singer. They were loud as could be and Brad Kunt made fans of us all with his guitar playing. When Brad later played with Rude Norton we learned no one could play a Status Quo song like him. And his short stay with DOA was one of the many red 'n' black mac jacket highlights of the band's many live performances at the Bad Allah.

The Avengers' song "White Nigger" is the official anthem of the Anarchist Republic of Mr. Beer N. Hockey. "Your life is slipping out of control/Lose your job, you're going to lose your soul." The Avengers played four more shows and disappeared until the recent resurgence of brash, humourous, aggressive music gave them a chance to make a little of the money that eluded them in 1979.

And America is still listening to the motherfucking Eagles as if they were singing the Book of Mormon backwards.

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