Toronto-via-Vancouver trio Tough Age spent the Thanksgiving weekend celebrating their latest record Shame with a pair of album release shows. Following the vinyl (and I guess CD?) release show on Friday night, the band played a special cassette release show the following afternoon at Dupe Shop, appropriately enough the very spot where the tapes were made.
Also on the bill was Vancouver’s Jock Tears, featuring Lauren Smith, formerly of Tough Age, on bass. The band put on an impressive set of fun, high energy punk tunes. Singer Lauren Ray’s t-shirt read “If you don’t like my attitude don’t talk to me,” though I have to say that I can’t imagine anybody not liking her attitude – the energy she exuded on stage was pretty infectious. Ray made the most of the space, busting out some almost cheerleader-esque dance moves and somersaulting across the floor a couple of times. She seemed to be constantly on the move, even when she decided to sit down on the floor during one number.
Near the end of Jock Tears’ set, drummer Dustin Bromley thanked Dupe Shop not only for hosting them but for making them some fresh new tapes just in time for the show. Tough Age singer/guitarist Jarrett Samson also gave a shout out to their host for manufacturing their cassettes along with a story of the long, strange trip those cassettes went on – manufactured in Toronto, shipped out to Vancouver, then shipped back to Toronto after a flight over to Vancouver on Jarrett’s part. He joked about it being like the ’80s kids movie Tommy Tricker and The Stamp Traveller, which got me wondering whether I could find a cassette of that film’s soundtrack in the stacks at Dupe Shop. I didn’t notice it in there, but I did spot some choice selections, including a NoMeansNo tape and a bunch of old Rounder Records bluegrass compilations.
One entertaining aspect of a mid-afternoon show held in a storefront window on a warm, sunny day was seeing the different reactions of all the folks walking by outside. The absolute highlight though was the dude in a Cheers t shirt who, while walking by with some freshly purchased beer and a couple of subs, was drawn off the street and into the store as if the band’s punky, Riverdale-approved indie pop sounds were the call of the sirens, summoning him to enter the store and hold off on lunch for awhile.
“Come in and rock out,” these hypothetical sirens seemed to be saying. “It matters not if the sub sauce might soak into the bread, thus making it soggy and not quite as appetizing. The sounds of Tough Age will satisfy any hunger you have.” They are wise, these sirens. They know what’s up.
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