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Music

The Ex, Rhythm Activism at Sala Rossa, June 22, 2007

Posted by MP / June 23, 2007

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The Rhythm Activists, looking dapper in their black suit jackets and matching tight jeans, had me sold as soon as they kicked into a rollicking beat that sounded like a herd of stampeding buffalo being led by a mad fiddler. (I believe they were denouncing institutionalized racism in Western Canada while doing so.) They also played a tribute to Polish vodka, along with a song consisting of multiple working-class narratives whose chorus was “Louis Riel!” sung to the tune of the classic rock staple “Louie, Louie…”

Yeah, it was that sort of thing. Radical left politics mixed with humour and theatrical clownishness. I was getting ready to roll my eyes when they all put on bright red wigs and clown noses and started singing about “Ronald fucking McDonald” – but vocalist & violinist Norman Nawrocki explained afterwards that they’d been singing about a Vancouver-area man who had legally changed his name to Ronald Fucking McDonald. Turns out the massive restaurant chain had no legal recourse to prevent him from doing so.

They also mentioned that this was their first time playing together in 10 years, and that they’d only practiced for two days with their drummer, who’d just come in from Holland… Which is surprising, because they didn't sound rusty or out of practice.

And then, The Ex came on and played a vast array of trance-inducing polyrhythmic build-ups. Their songs are a celebration of getting absolutely everything off one’s chest. G.W. Sok’s vocals are plaintive yet resolute, never falling into cheap emotiveness. I'm really glad to have had the chance to see them in action, as they've so obviously influenced and inspired some of my favorite bands.

I wasn’t sure whether they’d be the type of band to play an encore, and so I expected the house lights to come up right after their masterly “last song,” but they came back not once but twice, at which point Katherina Ex came up front to sing for a second time, (the first time, she'd sang a lovely Hungarian folk song over skronky guitars while playing the cowbell) and she layered her pretty voice over the regular/baritone guitar team-up as she banged on a floor tom, then ending the song by running back to the drums and pounding them into oblivion. If anthropologist types describe the music of The Ex centuries hence, they will undoubtedly use the term "Punk High Art."

Discussion

12 Comments

rrrobyn / June 23, 2007 at 10:10 pm
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i would use the term "waaaaaaaaaaaahhheeeeeeeooooooyyyyaaaaa!" THE EX was freakin incredible awesome nonstop fungoodthings best show of suoni if not best show of the year - the walls of sala flexed; euro-punk-rock-noise will rule us all one day; those guitars+drums are the sound my heart makes when it knows all is right with the world

(was unable to deal with rhythm activism despite the good name)

p.s. THE EX!!
Yudi / February 3, 2015 at 11:15 pm
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Jeff, you are so talented! We are so bsseled to know you, and also have you as a friend!! I LOVE you and your sweet little family. I am so proud of what you have been able to accomplish for yourself and others in the last few years. GOOD FOR YOU !!
golu dolls / March 6, 2019 at 02:05 am
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Kanchipuram sarees / March 6, 2019 at 02:06 am
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Kanchipuram sarees / March 6, 2019 at 02:07 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 6, 2019 at 02:17 am
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nice post
golu dolls / March 7, 2019 at 01:21 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 7, 2019 at 01:22 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 7, 2019 at 01:23 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 7, 2019 at 01:23 am
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nice post

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