I kicked things off at the MOG party at the Mohawk. There was a line wrapped around the block, I'm assuming because the Black Keys were headlining, but fortunately, my handy badge put me ahead of the line. From there was granted access to the VIP deck, apparently by mistake as I was eventually denied access - but not before scamming three or free drinks. Besides, I was only there to catch another performance by Demolished Thoughts, the supergroup hardcore cover band featuring the likes of Thurston Moore, J Mascis, and Don Flemming.
As you can imagine, the vibe was (I guess, literally) night and day compared to the show I saw the night before. Where as the late night gig at Red 7 was all drunken moshing, screaming and a collective "fuuuuck yeah" vibe with much of the audience recognizing the songs, the Mohawk patio was more of a collective "Huh?" and "Oh, funny!" Either way, seeing a couple withered old gray-hairs up there grinding away on hardly rehearsed hardcore classics was enough to melt that icy chill off my heart for at least a minute as I shed a few of my reservations about old age and the fear of inevitable irrelevance realizing that it's quite possible punk rock would keep at least the important parts of me young.
From there, having packed very little in the way of warm clothes, I was going to need a lot more booze to deal with this mess. The Pure Volume House fortunately had me covered, as I kept re-entering every 15 minutes to score more drink tickets. Once nice and buzzed, I took one for the road and pedaled over to Beerland for the Goner Records day party. I honestly don't remember much about what the CoCoComa sounded like. But hey, it's Goner, so I'm assuming some variation of garage punk. I'd really only come to finally catch The Magic Kids, something I'd failed to do several times over in Nashville, and several days in a row in Austin.
The wait was worth it (I think). Their formula is certainly nothing new. The early part of the last decade was chock full of romantically retro youngsters fetishizing and subsequently synthesizing '60s era pop and psychedelia. Magic Kids do manage to cut through the kitsch with solid song chops, and though their scrappy delivery can be annoyingly cute it also subverts those smooth and polished edges that tend to make a shtick like this pretty boring.
I took a break from bands for a few hours to focus more on my drinking. Frankly, the old hurry-up-and-wait, dodging traffic and pedestrians on my bike, and scurrying about town with my eyes glued to a schedule had gotten way old. Instead, I caught some local flavor at P.F. Chang's before making my way over to Red 7.
I showed up to catch the end of Rival Schools, whom I don't know much about aside from the fact that some members were in Quicksand, and that I never particularly liked Quicksand and that I don't particularly like Rival Schools. Whatever. I was just waiting on J Mascis to pick up a guitar and favor us with a solo set -- which he did indeed do.
The unmistakable Mascis looks damn old. His long, straight, black locks turned white a long time ago, and sitting up there, bespectacled, hunched over his guitar, passers by could have eadssily mistaken him for someone's senile old Native American grandpa or something. Oh, but nobody's grandpa shreds like J -- at least mine sure as hell doesn't. With just an acoustic guitar and a couple fuzz pedals he stomped now and then for some oomph, Mascis casually picked through the best of Dinosaur Jr.'s late '80s and early '90s catalog for a room packed full of incredibly respectful bros and ladies. Hits like "Little Furry Things," "The Wagon" and "Not You Again" were instant sing-alongs -- he even stomped one of those pedals now and then to rip a solo. When it was great, it was the greatest, but he did occasionally fall flat, making me wonder that if this crusty old codger was just getting his start, how many coffee houses would actually book this guy on his own? That is, however, a debate for a shorter post some other time.
From there I saw no reason not to stick around for the grand finale -- save for the bitter glacial winds cutting through my bones every two minutes. And while I was sobering and bordering on misery, Toronto's Fucked Up weren't having anything of the sort. Fucked Up, for all intents and purposes, are a traditional hardcore band, but with some surreal and psychedelic guitar effects peppered in, sounding like a couple misguided hippies led astray by coffee and amphetamines.