Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani
The Dayglo Abortions’ time on the punk scene goes back to the days when a band name like that still drew expressions of shock — well before the Internet normalized agitprop, bold protest, and attention-grabbing social defiance. The Victoria, B.C. band formed shortly after punk’s peak in 1979 — and is still touring.
These days, politicized punk is positively run-of-the-mill, and so widely available it can be catalogued by which sub-stripe it adheres to — or goes against.
The Occupy movement brought forth a new swell of protest songs too, although much of it has been tuneless tripe thus far. Kinda makes it worth going back to some of the originators, who’ve had years and years to refine their shit-disturbing ways.
That’s one reason to check out the Dayglo show. The other is for historical interest — the band has dubious ties to the region.
Back in 1988, the Dayglos made news when a cop from the old municipality of Nepean launched a case against the band’s label, Fringe Records, for distributing obscene material.
It all started when Det. Jim Fitzgibbons’ 14-year-old daughter brought home a borrowed copy of Here Today, Guano Tomorrow, which shows a hamster with a gun pointed to its head (the back of the album shows the hamster blown to bits).
“I won’t say I understand the music. I don’t see it as an art form. It may be a method of expression,” Fitzgibbons told the Ottawa Citizen in 1990. The trial ended in an acquittal and kept the question of freedom expression up in the air in the PMRC-climate of the day.
(The title track of the band’s subsequent album, called “Two Dogs F—king,” made reference to the case, albeit in a convoluted way).
Jon Kiely remembers those days. He used to organize shows at Porter Hall in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His band Neanderthal Sponge opened for the Dayglo Abortions in 1990.
“Back then you could rent the venue for $50,” Kiely recalls. “We’d put on local shows with Furnaceface, Mystic Zealots, and Grave Concern and have 400 people show up, each paying seven or eight bucks. We’d walk out of there bulging with cash.”
At the time, Porter Hall had no bar service and was a popular venue with the Straight Edge crowd. According to Kiely, the Dayglos would have none of that. They showed up to the back band room dragging a 200-lb. box of beers — various brands in bottles and cans — and proceeded to consume most of it.
“I thought they were too drunk to play, but they didn’t miss a note,” Kiely recalls. “We thought maybe we could drink that much and play well too.”
Inspired by the Dayglos’ debauchery, Kiely went on to drum with the snarly, snotty punk bands of the city — and has been doing so for the past 20 years. He currently plays in the band Four-Stroke, which opens the Dayglo show this weekend.
Dayglo Abortions, Endprogram, Four-Stroke and RawRawRiot play Maverick’s, 221 Rideau St., Friday, April 27 at 9:30 p.m., $14.
MEASHA’S OTTAWA CONNECTIONS
Soprano Measha Brueggergosman has been making the media rounds of late. She has been an open book in interviews where she discusses surgery for an aortic tear that happened more than three years ago, the death of twins in utero, and clears up divorce rumours that circulated on the internet. It was all in advance of the release of a new album called I’ve Got a Crush on You. It’s a collection of covers and reinterpretations that she self-funded and released on Ottawa’s Kelp Records. Brueggergosman and Kelp head Jon Bartlett were high school pals in Fredericton, N.B. and sang together in school productions. Brueggergosman resides in Ottawa now, where her husband is attending school. There have been numerous sightings of her about town. Grapevine says she is teaching yoga in the city, when not performing. See Brueggergosman Friday, April 27 at the Bronson Centre. 7 p.m., $58.
The Shakey Aches gear up for a night of psychedelic punk rock at the pop-up punk palace known as House of Targ, located at Greenfield and Main Streets, on Friday, April 27. 7:30 p.m., $5.
Future Islands churn up memories of Madchester-era acts through post-wave tunes that touch on the work of Joy Division with nods to New Order. The Baltimore band plays Maverick’s Wednesday, May 2 with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, and Valleys. 8:30 p.m., $15.