Real Live Action

Are We Not?

w/ Tim The Mute, DUMB, shitlord fuckerman, SLIP~ons, and The Plodes

The Rickshaw; July 14, 2016

Lili Watson
Photo Courtesy of
The Rickshaw Theatre

There is something self indulgent for the performers and audience alike when it comes to tribute bands. Everyone is getting what they want out of a situation: what it’s like to be Ian Curtis or what it’s like to watch him. I found myself amongst a half full room of these very folk at The Rickshaw Theatre for Are We Not?, a cover bill boasting an evening of post punk and new wave with local tribute acts to Joy Division, DEVO, The Replacements and XTC.

There was an undeniable romance that introduced the night as I walked towards the stage as Tim the Mute did his best bellow of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” While opting for a more humorous tone for their set on the whole, specifically in regards to the cheerful rendition of the deeply dark “She’s Lost Control,” the group ended on a strong note with the high energy “Transmission,” charmingly subbing in the lyrics with those of “The Safety Dance” when the words escaped them.

Next up was DEVO, presented by DUMB, with shitlord fuckerman standing in as Mark Mothersbaugh. Clad in iron-on DEVO t-shirts, spandex shorts, knee pads and bike helmets, DUMB exercised through set with all the theatrics one would look for in a DEVO performance. Standout tracks included the sweaty, dance anthem “Girl U Want” and the unavoidable but oh so good “Whip It,” with shitlord fuckerman’s blitz-like work on keyboards and vocals being the highlight of the evening.

The third stop of the night was SLIP~ons performing as The Replacements and despite no horn section, they ripped through the set list with vigor and ease. The roster proved to stick mostly to the mid-to-late ‘80s albums with a friend and diehard Replacements fan of mine getting especially giddy over the ballad forward tune, “Left Of The Dial.” A tender moment was provided with Brock Pytel’s solo take on the quiet track “Skyway,” playing his new Nebelung guitar while his band member Shockk Mongoose coated him in hairspray the whole way through.

It was The Plodes that closed the show as XTC with their aforementioned fuckerman on drums, Reid Blakley on guitar and guest contributors to keyboard and bass, lending to the big sound needed to pull off an XTC set. With much Andy Partridge and Dukes of Stratosphear related banter to fill space between songs, The Plodes spared us the sometimes misery of “Dear God” and instead leapt into tracks like the dizzying “Science Friction” and the beautiful oddity that is “Senses Working Overtime.”

It was the eerie new wave riff off of  “Making Plans For Nigel” that filled the room for the last time that evening. That song being a personal favourite, I glanced around in the way you look to your friend’s face for satisfaction when showing them your favourite movie. Meeting eyes with a few strangers to mutually nod in agreement, it’s safe to say the evening warmed the hearts of many a post punk nerd.