Everyone knows my favourite Canadian band is the Rheostatics. In the dozen years or so that I’ve been a fan, I’ve seen them live maybe 15-20 times. The only time I ever saw a sub-par performance was around this time last year. You see, for the past couple of years, the boys from Etobicoke have been playing a series of shows at the venerable Horseshoe Tavern on Queen Street. They began in 2001 by playing 11 consecutive nights. Last year, it was 12 (and I caught them on a bad night). This year, yes, they are playing for 13 consecutive nights.
And let me tell you, after being mildly worried that my hometown heroes had somehow lost the magic, my faith has been fully restored. The Rheostatics kicked all kinds of ass tonight. During their 140-minute show, they played some old favourites, some rarely-heard album tracks, and even a few choice covers: XTC’s “The Mayor of Simpleton,” Guided By Voices’ “Teenage FBI,” (since they’re in town playing tonight) and even Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy In New York.” And did I mention they did this last night too? And are doing it tomorrow? And the next day? And the next? And so on?
I’m hoping to catch them again next Thursday night (Night 11 of 13) when they’ll be playing an all-covers set.