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Toronto Horseshoe Tavern

We brace ourselves for the inevitable...

Used to be that all a band had to do to secure a sold-out gig in this town was produce a British passport - hell, even Menswear ruled this town ever so briefly. Could be that the local Anglophiles are all popped-out after this week's triumphant two-night Super Furry Animals stand at the Horseshoe, as by the time Six By Seven get onstage to face their first Toronto audience, the 'Shoe's 400-capacity room is barely half-full.



Not that Six By Seven would ever do anything half-arsed. Sam Hempton's massive effects-pedal arsenal - more intricate than a NASA control board - should be the first indication that no-one's going to bed tonight without the sound of a thousand power-drills buzzing in their inner ears. Drummer Chris Davis slaps out the militaristic beat to 'Ten Places to Die', while we brace ourselves for the inevitable: a monstrous barrage of strobe-lit distorto-riffage that does not subside for a second of the ensuing 45 minutes. Even Six By Seven's most overtly "pop" turns are shown no mercy: 'Candlelight' is stripped of its Charlatans-bagginess and sent careening on a thrash-punk groove; 'Another Love Song' makes a good case for noise-rock bands bastardising drum 'n' bass rhythms. While it isn't until mid-set that Chris Olley unfurls his best Mark E. Smith snarl on 'Eat Junk Become Junk', the point has already been driven home: since the post-Radiohead/Spiritualized desolation of 1998's 'The Things We Make', Six By Seven have been eating punk and, man, have they become punk.



But the sinus-clearing set is all just a set-up for the most punk-rock move of the night: a striking encore reading of the sorrowful ballad '100 & Something Foxhall Road'. The solemnity soon turns to smiles, however, with Olley humouring a drunken yahoo clamouring for Kiss covers: "Kiss was the first band I ever saw - they were shit then and they're still shit."



Fuelled by the spite, he launches into the churning 'Overnight Success' - and the irony of hearing it performed amid a sparse gathering of 100 hangers-on is almost as brutally harsh as the feedback hurricane and drum-set destruction that finishes it off.

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