Toronto – March 8 was International Women’s Day. I can think of no better performer to watch on that day than Marnie Stern. Why? Well, obviously because she’s a woman. She’s such a woman that she named her blog The Vagina Monoblog. Yes, she occasionally likes to talk about vaginas onstage, much to the delight of the fanboys up front who shouted things like “You’re cute, Marnie!” She and her band also apparently talk about strange things like how much money they would have to be paid to have sex with 11 year olds. You thought Taylor Momson was stirring things up when she wore that shirt onstage at Tattoo Rock Parlour last week? Momsen’s got nothing on the woman who king of the douchebags Nathan Williams once referred to as an “old desperate bitch,” a phrase Stern later immortalized on a t-shirt emblazoned with the initials “ODB.” As Charlie Sheen might say, Marnie Stern is winning. (She even had t-shirts at her merch table that said “Win Marnie Win.” Odd coincidence or brilliant marketing?)
Musically, Marnie Stern is a huge talent and an impressive performer to behold. Finger tapping her way through her set, she displayed much technical virtuosity as did her entire band. She ended her set by bringing out the guitarist from touring partners Tera Melos to join her for a rendition of “For Ash,” which was just about the perfect song to end with.
I didn’t stick around for Tera Melos, but I did see the local openers Greys, who reminded me of Drive Like Jehu. They admitted as much when the singer introduced a Drive Like Jehu cover by saying “We learned all our tricks from them.” He did so by way of berating a guy up front who had never heard of the early ’90s band yet was a fan of Brand New. He later apologized to that guy but added “Brand New does suck though.”