Out of all of us at the Panic Manual, I’m probably the person least attuned to Canadian music. I’m not sure I have any valid excuses for that other than I never pay much attention to where a band is from.
I can only gather that ’94-’95 was a good year for the Halifax scene (I guess it was called the “Pop Explosion“) and Murderrecords. Sloan’s Twice Removed was released, followed by the Super Friendz’ power-debut Mock Up, Scale Down. I was in 9th grade and remember being intrigued by the latter album after the band did an odd piece on MuchMusic where they were interviewed in a convertible shortly, before taking off in the vehicle (who else misses MuchMusic of 1994? I love Buffy the Vampire reruns as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure the post-Znaimer entity could ever be considered a music video network).
That was 17 years ago (ick).
Toronto was lucky to get one of the two reunion dates the Super Friendz are doing this year in what seemed like sold-out capacity at Lee’s Palace, producing one of the most high-energy shows I’ve been to in recent memory. I’m sure 99% of that can be attributed to the fact that they were actually enjoying themselves up there, and you can always sense that. These guys have all moved on in some capacity, with both Murphy and the babelicious Drew Yamada (now a Pediatrician at the South Shore Community Health Centre in Halifax), but I reckon the reason it sounded better than just a jam session is that they’ve produced and toured music together as recently as 2003.
The material from Mock Up, Scale Down still has some irresistibly catchy riffs that have held up stiffly against the test of time, as the aging, pogoing crowd will be able to attest to from Friday’s show. Their opener joined them onstage for an awkwardly long back-up vocal interlude, and a lot of verbal exchanges with the audience were lost in low mumbles, but none of that seemed to matter as these guys were having pure unadulterated fun up there.
The highlight of the show was definitely 10 Lbs. where the crowd broke out into a choral sing-along and I was reminded of why this is one of the best lost songs of the 1990’s. First of all, it’s deliciously reminiscent of early college-themed times where everything, including hormones and the uncontrollable desire to get laid, is soaring out of control. Most of us would’ve had some torturous experience trying to get into a relationship of some sort.
I thought The Rodeo Song was my draw
The more the horse bucked, the deeper you’d fall
But you worked there for roots and for old ties
You were there for your friend, not the one on the rise
I wish we were adult contemporaries when we went through school
’cause I’d have hung around and I’d have walked you home from school
Your friend’s the actress, don’t lose 10 lbs. too
‘Cause you are as pretty, as pretty times two
But she doesn’t come alone – she comes with a friend
and that means you, you’ll come around
So bells ring and whistles blow
At least I’m alive
You take the highway in and you take it home
and I walk through patterned blocks, I cut it alone
You should never laugh at other people’s jokes
’cause I fill up with pride, live my life in the hopes
I live my life in the hopes
I’ve listened to it about 30 times over the past 2 days and think it sounds even better than it did when first released and bet it will sound even better by 2029 (though I may need the Whisper 2000 to hear it by then). Usually one song doesn’t epitomize an entire performance for me, but in this case it did. It’s the only thing I remember and if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to it another 30 times now.
SETLIST as posted by the band
Rescue Us From Boredom
Friend of Family
When They Paid Me
Actual Set List (thanks, commenter)
When They Paid Me
Rescue Us From Boredom
Let You Go Cold
Just Say So
The World’s Most Embarrasing Moment
Down In Flames
Girls And Their Boys (encore)
Absurd Without It (encore)
Up & Running (encore)