CMW 2012: Thoughts On Tight Pants, Joy In A Meaningless Universe and Modern Superstitions @ The Silver Dollar by Adam Bunch

THURSDAY – Well, first things first, so let's start with the pants. Because ohhh my god those pants. Gold and shiny and high-waisted and tight like skin. Proper rock 'n' fucking roll pants. Pants whose lineage goes back all the way to the glory days of punk and funk and glam. Debbie Harry pants. Joan Jett pants. David Bowie pants. Pants, in fact, so tight that the pockets have become nothing more than vestigial echoes of their more functional ancestors, a satirical sartorial commentary on the whole concept of pocket-dom, a golden guarantee that anything you ever actually manage to get inside them will be lost to you forever. Indeed, I think it's fair to say that these particular pants do share something of the mystery and allure of a black hole – fascinating and thrilling, but dangerous. A physical impossibility. And so the not-so-simple act of wearing them, of being the person inside them, is to flirt with the sublimely absurd. To flip a big flashy lycra finger at the idea of practicality, function, and reason. To celebrate, in pant form, the same libidinal currents that give rock 'n' roll so much of its power: sexuality, excess, abandon, arrogance. These pants – like rock 'n' roll itself, like so many of the things that make life worth living – are a giant fuck you to death, to our biological and physical limitations, to the ultimate existential meaninglessness of the universe. They are joy for the sake of joy.

Of course, like many bands, there's more to Modern Superstitions than just pants. And though I've only seen them play twice – the first time was in the park during last year's NXNE Live In Bellwoods sessions – it's clear that Nyssa Rosaleen would be an alluring frontwoman no matter what she wore. Her stage presence is something of a more subdued counterpoint to some of her Toronto indie frontwomen contemporaries  – like, say, the raw energy of The Balconies' Jacquie Neville or the boundless enthusiasm of Whale Tooth's Elise LeGrow – but shares a similar confidence. And that makes a nice compliment to her powerful voice, to the band's thrashing electric guitars and pounding tom drums. Because it's not just those pants that owe a little something to the glory days of punk and glam – the Modern Superstitions sound does too.


Find all our coverage of Canadian Music Week 2012 here.

Photos: Adam Bunch

Adam Bunch is currently working on a theory that the lyrics to the Modern Superstitions song "Go Between" are actually secretly about Nyssa Rosaleen, her pants, and the audience. He is also 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


Anonymous said...

Love those pants! And as a (male) musician myself, I wear them when I play and, as you said, they are so rock 'n' roll(even though they are actually called disco pants).

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