I am smitten with Ben Cook’s talent. The man is a music making machine, and I mean that in every conceivable sense of that statement. Band member in Fucked Up, producer, songwriter (he has ghostwritten for Sum 41 and Hedley in the past), label owner (Bad Actors Inc., named for his child acting days – see – Road to Avonlea with a young Gosling), and helming at least three of his own bands – No Warning, Yacht Club, and Young Guv, all on complete opposite sides of the genre spectrum. At the Steam Whistle Unsigned (that title doesn’t necessarily apply to him) he played as Young Guv. Operating with a looped drum track on his laptop, a single green light-bulb coming from a shade-less lamp he placed on the floor, his bassist, another guitarist and keyboardist, Ben Cook aka Young Guv, set out to play one of the most entertaining sets, visually, that I’ve seen in a while. With a looped video of the TRASHIEST, and I mean trashiest couples getting married, and walking through the woods in club wear, with the the Toronto skyline placed as a border beneath them, I chuckled all the way through Young Guv’s lo-fi, synth-infused sound. Even though Cook’s voice was sometimes barely audible through the distortion and cranked reverb, the catchy pop tunes still grabbed a hold of me, as did his epic talent as a guitarist. When he went into intentionally cheesy solos (after a sexy sax solo by the guest they brought up), he made the guitar look like it was an extra limb on his body, the ease and comfort with this other appendage oozing through. It was clear the crowd wasn’t getting a lot of the humor and at one point Cook motioned to the screen “give it up guys, it’s the CN Tower”. To which I applauded whilst cackling.
Young Guv was the definite highlight for me, as it’s my preferred blend of tunes and humor, but Jane’s Party were fun for different reasons. First off, I absolutely loved watching the aggressive female fans that drunkenly pushed their way to dance at the front and ogle the Abercrombie model worthy band members as they graced the stage. This four piece has been wrongly compared to The Band (just sloppy and lazy comparisons, why? Because they have a male keyboardist?) They are indie-rock clear as day, with a bit of folk mixed in. Positive, preppy sounds, I was really surprised when the three front-men, all took turns singing, and switched instruments as well. Jane’s Party has an extremely strong, solid sound, a nice blend of commercial indie, and I can see a ton of outdoor festival touring in their future.
For all photos of Jane’s Party and Young Guv, click here.