I rolled into Rivoli at ten minutes to midnight, just in time to catch the Gay Nineties setting up. Out of all the nightly showcases happening during Canadian Music Week, I chose the Music BC one on the 8th, due to a blend of serendipity and sentimentality.
I love the 90’s (though am skeptical about the 90’s becoming a trend now – cough, cough, The Muscadettes) but the Gay Nineties actually have named themselves for the 1890’s, in reference to the “societal scandal, suffragette movements and decadent art.”
Upon listening, I realized it was wholly appropriate, and am glad that the word Gay has been taken back to mean what it should: either a powerful, beautiful community of humans, or a decadent, joyful adjective, instead of a troglodyte’s insult.
When I reflect on the 90’s, I always think of my own favorite bands from that time like Mazzy Star, Spacemen 3, or Pavement or something like that. I often forget (intentionally) that “I Touch Myself,” by Divinyls also happened. Thankfully, the Gay Nineties is far from the latter, and though they also don’t sound much like the former (in way of crunchy fuzzed out jams), they are actually doing their own sound. Even better. Ah, the beauty of creative output.
The first thing I noticed about the Gay Nineties set was how flawlessly it was executed. It was virtually airtight. The drummer and bass player (Daniel Knowlton and Malcolm Holt) had their jams on lockdown.
If the 1890’s had a rock band to sing their praises, you’d better believe it would have to be the Gay Nineties.
Parker Bossley(on vocals and guitar) comes across as foppish, almost as if he’s playing a character, but then he speaks genuinely from the stage and can rip mad howling licks with the best of them. Their keys player (Bruce Ledingham) added yet another layer of ambience to a set that has clearly seen a lot of hard work and dedication. Still, through all of that evident determination, came a performance that was fun and light-hearted.
Now, if you wanna pull a Penny Lane, the band will be touring Ontario (a.k.a. the Texas of Canada) for the remainder of this month before hitting the west coast festival circuit the summer.
And if you want to know what sun, magic and spontaneity sound like, chuck on the Gay Ninetes. You’ll have a gay old time.