You know sometimes when you go to a show and it's kind of all about the people watching? Well, this show wasn't completely that, but I noticed all these "Turbojugend Dethbridge" and "Turbojugend Calgary" patches and a bunch of kind-of-too-clean-looking-to-be-Americans
in the crowd, and figured out that most of Lethbridge, Alberta's rockers had made a six-hour trek to Missoula to hear some fine stoner rock. The "Turbojugend-insert town name here" stuff refers to the ne'er do well fan clubs of the Norwegian band Turbonegro, whose brilliant, heady use of graphic design and gay biker-Tom's of Finland imagery has somehow endeared them with thousands of would-be straight dudes in North America and Europe. I'm not sure if much of the Turbojugend know about the Hitler Jugend, but I guess that's a question for another day. There was even a Canadian guy in a WWII era metal army helmet. Being a fan of spectacle, and Canada, and weird back patches, I enjoyed all of this. And, I like that we're regularly seeing our Cannuck brethren down here at heavy rock shows. I think it speaks to some good stuff going on in Missoula, Montana.
The Top Hat should be commended for starting it's deep-weekday shows on time, promptly at 8 p.m. That fact, combined with my kids' bedtimes meant I missed the Shrine
, whom I'd been excited to check out. I'm bummed to have missed them but heard form credible sources they played "old school skate rock," which sounded pretty awesome. They also had a skateboard deck with their
logo on it on their merch table, which I guess corroborates.
I did see Danava
's (pronounced like Donovan, without the last "n" sound) set in its entirety and was thoroughly floored by the band's chops and great tunes. Picture Tom Dewar's older brother, Cousin It, Jay Ferguson and Nigel Tuffnel from Spinal Tap on stage and you've got a pretty good picture of what Danava looks like. Explaining what they sound like is a little more difficult. There's some NWOBHM gallop a la Iron Maiden. There's some Champs lead stuff, though a little less indulgent. And more than anything, there's this pretty athletic, nonstop chugging riff that weaves through each song. In a word, it was excellent. The bassist especially just ran up and down his fretboard and kicked out easily as many notes as the guitar players, and in lock-step sync.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats took the stage next and proceeded to slow things down significantly. While not as busy as Danava, they definitely had their thing going on (Sabbathy, slow groove) and played with a strong band dynamic and the crowd dug it heavily. I was too busy looking for vape clouds and Canadian backpatches apparently for it sink in too much. My only critiques for the night are these: This would have been a great show to have a local like Stone Elk
on, even for 20 minutes at 8 PM, and the between-band music was about 50 percent too loud. Otherwise, this goes down as a full win for the Top Hat and Missoula.