Concert Review: The Rezillos and First Base @ Lee’s Palace – Toronto

The Rezillos
Photo by Maria Meli

The Rezillos show at Lee’s Palace last Thursday was a lot of fun. From everything I’ve gathered about their long and accomplished career, this band has a reputation for being that carefree, uplifting act, and they were just that. It seems like The Rezillos have nearly perfected their art. It was refreshing to see a group of musicians preform so well that they made it look effortless, yet the years of effort that have clearly been put in shine through in an admirable way.

First Base opened for The Rezillos that night, which gave me my power pop fix for the next few months. It happens to be one of my favourite genres, and although I don’t seek it out too often, I definitely go a bit crazy when I’ve gone too long without it. First Base played an energetic set. The bassist and two guitarists shared vocals; their harmonies sounded great. Their songs, bouncy, catchy, and melodic, stayed true to classic power pop form. The band had a boisterous and punk attitude; the crashing drums were a good example of this general feel. I thought they were great and I’m happy to have discovered them. Before they left the stage, while explaining what merchandise was available, they let us know they clearly understood the crowd by telling us that CD’s were available “for all the Dads”.

After First Base’s set ended, the “the Dads” very quickly became the vast majority of people in the room. It seemed like everyone in the older crowd knew this band’s history like the back of their hand. After talking to a handful of people, I think I may have gained more information on The Rezillos than their Wikipedia page could have provided me with. I was in a room full of die hard fans.

People poured in as they set up. It has been about a year since they last played Toronto, so people had waited long enough. When The Rezillos got on stage they jumped right into it. The room shook with the drums. All the members threw their whole body and soul into their live presence. They were really physically expressive, especially vocalist Fay Fife. She was always moving. Most of the time she was just letting her hands go to the music in whatever way they were inclined to, but sometimes, when she got really into it, she’d break out the rock n’ roll gold moves. Like the shoulder shimmy/boob shake to use just one example. Not only was she entertaining to watch, but her voice is excellent. It’s rough sounding, yet clearly very trained. Her pitch and tone were perfect. Her voice holds power, but also finesse. This can also be said for all the other instruments on stage. Their songs are really smart, and their melodies are somehow very pretty, despite their aggressive, punk nature. I loved seeing the truly uninhibited dancing of everyone in the crowd. It’s so rare an audience is so in the moment like they were on Thursday, but The Rezillos brought that out in people. These guys clearly live for the stage and have not lost any of their moxie since their early days. The crowd fed off their energy and loved every minute of it.

Review by Thea McKay

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