This review was originally published by @Exclaim! Magazine, and can be found here.
Lucky Bar’s Friday night lineup was curiously imposing. The bill, a veritable ode to linguistically confounding monikers, had the Tower of Dudes celebrating the release of their first LP with Clunt and the Scrunts, the Cavaleros and the Revolucionary Cyborg Wedding Band Mobile Unit. While the lineup effectively barred the faint of heart from going so far as to even peek into Lucky’s cavernous confines, those curious enough to enter were treated to an eclectic evening of song, a testament to the diversity of Victoria’s thriving music scene.
The sun had just gone down as Clunt and the Scrunts started the night off with a searing set of tunes. The duo effectively warmed an ever-growing crowd with their distinct breed of garage rock before passing things off to the Cavaleros, who offered an interesting counterpoint to Clunt and the Scrunts’ punk-laced songs; the Cavaleros’ airtight set channeled Dick Dale’s frantic, guitar-driven surf rock. Guitarist Graham Fraser’s beefed up guitar tone rode wild and free on cascading sheets of rhythm, setting the stage for the evening’s headliners, the Tower of Dudes.
In the spirit of their record release, the Tower of Dudes played the entirety of their debut LP in sequence. Kicking things off with the album’s rollicking title track, “Make Your Own Culture”, the evening quickly took a turn into carnivalesque, Eastern European territory reminiscent of Rain Dogs-era Tom Waits. Lead guitarist “Gentleman” Joel Fernandes’ spidery hooks danced on a bed of accordion- and vibraphone-drenched tunes, as lead singer Johnny Feelings barked his anarchist manifesto into microphone.
While the Tower of Dudes’ upbeat tunes such as “Party Like You Used to Could” and “Lower Shelf Taste” got the near-capacity crowd dancing, it was the band’s quieter songs that provided the evening’s standout moments. “Pretty Special”, an embittered and reflective take on narcissism, showcased Joel Fernandes’ subtle guitar mastery and the honest lament of “Morning” proved a perfect, albeit mournful, end to the Dudes’ stellar set.
The Revolucionary Cyborg Wedding Band Mobile Unit were the last band to take Lucky’s small stage. The duo’s wonderfully weird take on hip hop lived up to the extravagance of their name. The Cyborg’s rugged rhymes referenced familiar geographic hot-spots such as the Malahat Pass and Duncan, and challenged the crowd to seriously consider forming an Island Republic. It was the perfect finale to an eclectic evening of Victorian music.