Thursday night at Phog Lounge was one of the funnest shows I’ve been to in a while, with a great audience, at a great venue, with some stellar bands.
Contrary to Windsor’s infamy for audiences that show up late, there was already a sizeable crowd packing Phog at 9 pm.
And with good reason.
The Rowley Estate, a three-piece pop-punk outfit from the Windsor area, was already on stage and in full swing at this point. With raw vocals, driving guitar, and thrashy drums, these guys are more like Anti-Flag meets Bid D and The Kids Table, rather than Blink-182, and it’s a beautiful thing. They don’t take them selves too seriously, obviously enjoy being on stage, and give it their all when playing. I went into this expecting to like The Rowley Estate, and was still surprised with how much I liked them. Their cover of “And Then I Came To Terms” by Windsor pop-punk legends (and one of my favourite bands) Blurt certainly helped them out, but I would’ve been digging it anyhow.
Following this we had a band which left me smitten, The Hunters, all the way from Montreal. They opened their set with an instrumental piece that grabbed the attention of everyone in the place and opened the gates for their own variety of pop-punk. These guys were more melodic and soulful in their vocals than their predecessors, but their performance was no less energetic and engaging. The boys were very appreciative of the size of the crowd as well as their response to the music, especially considering the fact that they’re nine hours from home turf playing here for the first time. Their rendition of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” went over especially well, with many singing along and groovin’ to the tune.
Also from Montreal and making a repeat performance in Windsor was Old School Politics. I had seen these guys open for Brass Knuckles back in August, so I knew what to expect – And was still surprised. The showmanship and music were both solid, with a sound that manages to be both crunchy and smooth. OSP but on a show that was wild and rowdy, with tracks that made anyone listening want to bounce around, party, and just have a general good time. They also get points on their crowd interaction, talking to individual audience members and coercing one show-goer into a beer donation in exchange for the set dedication.
As an excellent end to the night, Windsor’s own The Nefidovs took over the stage at Phog with their own brand of music that blends punk, jazz, reggae, and rock. And no, it’s not just ska. What these guys do is completely their own. This six piece tore the place up, keeping everyone enthralled with the wild twists and turns of their sound as everyone head-bobbed, skanked, and danced their way to the close of the night. If you’ve yet to catch these guys live, it is well worth it to stop by one of their shows, but in the mean time, download the Windsor Zene February 2011 sampler to get their track “Animal Love”.