Friday, May 6, 2011

Trouble in the Camera Club.....Toronto’s Early Punk’s given New Life

          As I stood outside The Garrison Wednesday night and surveyed the crowd of people that had began to assemble I got the sense that this “book launch” I was attending was no ordinary book launch, this book launch some would say was the anti-book launch, maybe...and maybe it was just a celebration of a movement and of one man’s youth, that we all discovered had changed a generation.

    Living legends of the scene stood side by side with us everyman ..we had all come to celebrate the release of Trouble in the Camera Club , Don Pyle’s new Photography book that celebrates Toronto’s early punk scene and much more that you will discover when you pick the book up. 

    As the doors were open we were greeted by a smiling Don Pyle, a smile I’m guessing was a mixture of anticipation and nervousness. Don was more than happy to talk to friends, old and new, shake hands and sign copies of the book...I think he might have been a bit surprised at the amount of people that want autographs and just to say hi. 

  The night began with Don taking us on a trip with his Out-Of-Focus Talking Slide Show, a photo journey of his experiences growing up in Toronto in the 1970’s, photos of himself and his friends and of the many bands he had seen firsthand, the stories that he sewn along with the pictures were funny and somewhat touching, a real surprise that you would not have expected at the book launch for a Punk rock photo book. The audience at the front of the Garrison was hanging on his every word, and from what I could tell Don was having a good time also (except for the flash light he needed to use)

   After the slide show had finished called to the stage was author and music journalist of the widely praised book on the Toronto punk explosion “Treat Me like Dirt” Liz Worth. Liz held a brief Q&A session with Don, out of it came a great story about a leather jacket…enough said about that 

   Now it was onto the music, first up were The Ugly…now here’s a band that could teach kids half their age or more how to work a stage and a crowd, you come out…bash them with good, fast songs….then leave them wanting more. I still have stuck in my head the guy beside me yelling “Pound it Sam Pound it”

                Then after them The Sadies (Dallas Good, Mike Belitsky and Sean Dean ) began setting up , well 3 quarters of The Sadies as they have become known from that night. In no time at all Don was back out on the stage, he picked up the mic and the four of them blazed through some Diodes tracks, there were some real highlights of the night for me and that was one of them.

             Other guest artists that ran through some classic (I hate that word but it fits here) songs were Fifth Column’s Caroline Azar, Brutal Knights’ Nick Flanagan, Gord Lewis from Teenage Head (Where’s the hair Gord?) Martin Farkas of Career Suicide, Chris Colohan of Burning Love and of course how could we forget Mr. Damian Abraham of Fucked Up.
          Damian sang “CN Tower” by The Poles, right away making it his own, all was good then about 2 and a half minutes into the song Damian picks up this glass that’s sitting in front of me and proceeds to smash it over his head, with blood pouring all over his face (I learned the next morning he needed 5 stitches to close it) Damian sang on, the best part of that was the look on Dallas Good’s face,  it was of utter shock, I don’t think he could believe that he had just did that (Dallas needs to get out to a few more Fucked Up shows) . 

         Damian smashing that glass over his head was the other highlight of the night for me, and at the same time it just seemed to sum up for me what the book was about in my opinion, not really giving a damm about what other people think and just doing it for doing it….Thanks Don

Joe Cornelisse-SSGS


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