NXNE 2011: The Meligrove Band @ The Rivoli by Adam Bunch

WEDNESDAY - The Meligrove Band are, of course, not the Ramones. But who really gives a fuck? The Toronto indie rockers decided to have fun with their opening night set at North By Northeast this year,  playing nothing but covers of tunes by the NYC punks. And it was as fun as hell. They pounded out about a dozen of the Ramones' hits in the short set, drummer Darcy Rego shouting out familiar track names one after the other: "Blitzkreig Bop", "Beat On The Brat", "Judy Is A Punk", "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker". The Meligroves launched themselves into the tunes, bassist Michael Small turned frontman for the night, rocking a leather jacket for most of the set while the band around him played fast and loud and tight. It all kind of ruled.

The audience, on the other hand, was kind of shit. Maybe they hadn't heard the rumours about the Ramones covers and they'd been dying to see the Meligroves play stuff off their latest (and kickingassingest) record, Shimmering Lights. Or maybe they were offended that these songs were tighter and not as raw as the '70s versions and that Small, like everyone else on earth, can't match Joey Ramone's apathetic snarl. But for the most part, as one of the best bands in the city pounded out some of the best songs ever written, people just stood there. If the Rivoli didn't feel like CBGB's in 1977 last night, it had a hell of lot more to do with the limp crowd than the Meligrove Band. It's a shame.

MP3:  "Bones Attack!!" by The Meligrove Band
MP3: "Ghosts At My Back" by The Meligrove Band

Photos by Adam Bunch

More of our coverage of NXNE 2011 here

Adam Bunch is the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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