Concert Review: Twerps, Alex Bleeker, October 22, Silver Dollar


The late, great Kurt Vonnegut once defined a twerp as “someone who shoves false teeth up his rear end and bites the buttons off of the back seats of taxi cabs.”  Now, I’m not sure entirely what he means by that, nor am I certain that anyone anywhere has actually ever done that, but it’s certainly an evocative piece of imagery.  Opener Alex Bleeker defined the band Twerps as one of his top 2 favourite bands (the other one being Tom Petty), which is probably how they would rather be remembered if given the choice.

The Australians offered up a set of fun, catchy, no frills jangle pop reminiscent of the Flying Nun roster and with hints of Peter Buck’s guitar tone at times. They seemed to be enjoying themselves during their brief set and definitely seem to prioritize substance over style.  Unlike many bands out there nowadays, they didn’t seem too fussed about image, which suits me just fine. 

Although Twerps were the nominal headliner, Alex Bleeker And The Freaks played a longer set and seemed to be a slightly bigger draw than Twerps.  Taking a break from his other gig with Real Estate, Bleeker shared the “music first” attitude with Twerps, leading his band through a setlist that appeared to be created on the fly with Bleeker seemingly teaching his band the chords to the various covers that were tossed in, such as opening number “Helpless,” which he dedicated to Ontario for producing Neil Young.  They also covered The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia,” at which point Twerps singer Marty Frawley was invited onstage to sing along.  The tossed off cover of “La Bamba’ seemed a little questionable since Bleeker didn’t really know all the words, but it was still fun to hear and definitely looked like it was fun to play.  As for their originals, they shared a bit of classic rock DNA with their cover songs, with some Neil Young-ish guitars, Pink Floyd-ian jams, and even a touch of yacht rock smoothness on one tune.

So in the end, Twerps didn’t seem overly twerplike and Bleeker’s Freaks didn’t appear to be all that freakish. But both put on pretty enjoyable performances. I’ve got to say though, that for a band that put on a pretty good performance, Twerps sure did a whole lot of apologizing – for the lateness of the show (it’s Toronto, we’re used to it) and for a minor technical issue that delayed their final song of the evening. It’s not too often you hear a band end their set with, “Thank you. Sorry about everything.” Relax, man. It was a good show.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts