Concert Review: FASTER PUSSYCAT & A DARKER DAY Live At Obsession (The Best Cathouse In Town), Ottawa, Canada

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Sunday, April 7, 2013 @ 9:24 AM

March 26, 2013

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Sex! Drugs! Rock 'N Roll! Bathroom facilities with such high levels of proper hygiene there were no numbers on the wall for Taime Downe to get! And he would've been okay with that!

Who said it'd be a slow 360 days until the next Monsters Of Rock Cruise for one of the Sunset Strip's most identifiable bands? Even I almost flaked on this concert not knowing if it was still happening or not. But it did - for two out of the three scheduled bands on this bill.

Starting as the only opening band after the second support band were stopped at the border for having the incorrect visa papers to enter the country, local metallers A DARKER DAY took the helm and got the show started with their blend of groove-flavored thrash and modern hardcore/metal. For a band whose influences are firmly rooted in the sounds of PANTERA and MACHINE HEAD they've been receiving lots of attention mostly because they've either been playing alongside glam metal bands (DIEMONDS) or have attempted to play alongside them (the BULLETBOYS, who still haven't made up for the January show they had to cancel due to - you guessed it - visa problems). In spite of the great musical divide between them and the glam fans (as well as the bizarre L-shaped design of the venue's stage), A DARKER DAY bridged that gap with aplomb, wisely playing an all-originals set from their collection of EP's and a new song "Stalemate" from the full-length LP that they'll soon release to the masses. And the masses dug the new song as well as numbers such as "Mind Of Madness" and "Wake Me". The venue wasn't the most ideal for starting up a moshpit of epic proportions but the crowd were pumped up all the same for their performance. With as much energy as they could project from the stage as their audience could project back to them it's no wonder their initials are ADD. Because they command attention.


Speaking of attention spans, what does one do at Obsession when the strippers and the second support band aren't available and you don't feel like drinking yourself to full retard proportions because it's a work day the next day? Hang out with your friend Dion (who made this show happen) and catch up on lots of local band gossip? Done. Hit on FP's merch maiden, exchange phone numbers and buy a bandanna? Done. Speculate about how Obsession itself looks like the end result of a lost episode of Sons Of Anarchy where Jax had the brilliant idea to let Katy Perry design the layout of the new headquarters for the SamCro chapter? Done, brah (really, that place had a lot of pink). Maybe catch a bit of the Spain-France soccer friendly on one of the 5 plasma TV's switched on Sportsnet because the only hockey game on that night involve the Leafs and they lick balls? Done again (FYI to anyone from Spain reading this review: 1-0 for la seleccion but you knew that already). And I must've passed FP guitarist Ace Von Johnson at least 3 times not knowing who he was. Maybe I should get a photo of him and myself? Done, but I deserved getting heckled by Dion for forgetting to switch the flash on while breaking in my new camera.

But enough babblin' on and on (see what I did here?) so let's just go to the show itself now.

Breaking into familiar touring territory for the first time in 24 years when WHITESNAKE's Slip Of The Tongue tour stopped off in Ottawa Sunset Strip sleaze metal veterans FASTER PUSSYCAT shimmied, shredded and, uh, sleazed their way through a 90-minute set of Tinseltown tawdriness and twin guitar soloing. Despite having lost track of what Taime Downe and company have been up to since '92 I was able to make out some of the later songs that weren't staples of MuchMusic's Power Hour back in the day. In fact, including "Slip Of The Tongue" in the setlist was the best subtle hint that the band could have given that night to highlight how long they've been away. With that said, the lineup wasn't the FASTER PUSSYCAT of old due to several lineup changes which made it difficult for even the most committed of fans to keep up with but the band that night with Taime Downe as the sole original member played like they've been part of the original lineup. Opening with "Jack The Bastard" from 1992's Whipped! the band - Taime, guitarists Ace Von Johnson and Xristian Simon, bassist Danny Nordahl and drummer Chad Stewart - played their way through a good 4 albums' worth of material ranging from their self-titled debut from 1987 to their last studio opus, 2006's industrial-influenced but very critically reviled The Power And The Glory Hole. You wouldn't have known from their performance that night that they were a band revisiting the sound that they had briefly abandoned for a chance at modern mainstream alternative success which so many of their own peers had also attempted; to me anyway they sounded like a young, fresh and hungry band adjusting to the rudimentary trials of any band starting off in the annals of the bar scene. The PA tended to sound choppy in parts, Taime's mic tended to sound like a cheap transistor radio some three songs in and feedback from the amps resonated across the room in a manner that the band didn't always intended and yet at the same time FASTER PUSSYCAT sounded the most raw and versatile that they've sounded in years whenever they're on the stage. And I doubt if the band would have wanted it any other way that night. Well, maybe other than being able to hear each other a bit more during "Number 1 With A Bullet" I suppose......

Songwise, even with the absence of favorites such as "Poison Ivy" and "Don't Change That Song", FASTER PUSSYCAT pulled out some surprise gems from within their catalogue including an extended jam born out of their rendition of "Bathroom Wall" which grew into a medley that combined a surprise rendition of the SUPERSUCKERS' "Pretty Fucked Up" and BETTY BLOWTORCH's "Shut Up And Fuck" (sung by Danny Nordahl). Even the lesser-known tracks from their self-titled debut such as the catchy-sounding "Shooting You Down" and the hilariously cheesy-sounding "Babylon" (with its rap intro and awful voiceover samples of "p-p-p-p-p-pussycat" which drummer Chad Stewart replicated live) actually sounded fresh and tight. But a faithful rendition of their biggest hit "House Of Pain" was the highlight of the evening with Taime Downe matching the raw emotion of the song note for note, sitting down during the song in true power ballad tradition. And he appeared to have gotten at least a bit more trim (though this having been my first time ever seeing FP live I wouldn't have known how his live performance was like in the past) and made the show more energetic as he got into the music and the vibe more and more during each song.

Well worth the $20 in the end. And definitely a concert worth babblin' on and on about. Though Taime's a bit difficult to confuse with that guy from WHAM! these days.



  • "Jack The Bastard"
  • "Cathouse"
  • "Slip Of The Tongue"
  • "Number 1 With A Bullet"
  • "Sex, Drugs And Rock 'N Roll"
  • "House Of Pain"
  • "Porn Star"
  • "Bathroom Wall" (including medley of the SUPERSUCKERS' "Pretty Fucked Up" and BETTY BLOWTORCH's "Shut Up And Fuck")
  • "Shooting You Down"
  • "Babylon"

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