DARIN’S PICK FOR JANUARY
When I was in at Vertigo Records this week to see what Darin had in store for us this month, neither of us knew that we had lost one of the most important people in D.I.Y. culture in this city. When Darin chose the great live Fleshtones album for us to review this week, neither of us had any idea that Mark Valcour, sound technichian for pretty much every punk show we ever went to, had passed away. Fleshtones have played at The Dominion Tavern, and you could be guaranteed that Mark was there, tweaking “nobbies” (as he called them) to make sure we all got what we came for – a great fucking show. We will miss you Mark, and thank you for everything you have done for our little music scene – many of us would never have been heard if you hadn’t been there, and many of the shows, including The Fleshtones, wouldn’t have happened so smoothly.
First off, I fucking love this band. There is more energy in their tiny fingers than in anything I hear from bullshit top 40 radio today. So much color. So much movement. So much love. Yeah, these guys loved every second of what they did. I had the chance to meet them a few times, and you felt like you were floating a bit off the floor when you were in their presence. Live in Paris 85 has that great D.I.Y. recording quality that brings you right to the front of the stage. As much as their show may seem polished, it takes it to another level though. It goes so far into the “show” that it goes around the other side like a really bad horror movie that becomes a cult classic. The flamboyance and camp of it all is palpable, and this really comes through in this album. You feel like you’re in an old ballroom in the 50s, and all of a sudden a space ship lands, and these colourful beings appear and give you a set of great rock and roll that seems just a bit futuristic. Is it me, or can we hear where the Dead Kennedy’s got some of their chops here? Just imagine taking the Misfits, the Dead Kennedy’s, and mashing them with a bit of B52s and Sha Na Na. It jumps off the turntable and slaps you across the face – and you love every second of it.
To my grave I will take the memory of seeing them play live while a tent-city protest was happening just adjacent to the stage they were playing on. Lined along the fence to the festival was a make-shift tent city that some street kids and other protesters were occupying to shed light on the homelessness crisis in our city. The Fleshtones recognized this, and as they play with cordless gear that allows them to move freely, they picked up a snare drum, got themselves on the other side of that fence, all while still playing the song, went into the middle of traffic – stopping said traffic – and blew our fucking minds as they played to the tent city while in the middle of the road. Who does that? Well, the fucking Fleshtones do that. That powerful energy was ever apparent when they smashed their way out of Paris in 85 on this record. I don’t care how old you are, what generation you’re from, what style of music you like – if you like high-energy rock and roll done right, the Fleshtones do that better than most. This is not a reissue of any sort. Darin picked this from his bin of previously enjoyed records, but with a simple look over the internet, this record is not very hard to find. Vertigo Records has a shit-tonne of these gems in their bins – get out an make everyday record store day. If you see The Fleshtones: Live in Paris 85 sitting in the bin, snatch that shit up – she’s a classic.
HIDE AND SEEK from the album LIVE IN PARIS 85 by THE FLESHTONES