The Rebel Reviewer Checks out Zuku and Sin Dealer Live

Zuku & Sin Dealer
Bovine Sex Club
Toronto, Ontario
September 12, 2008

I walked into the Bovine Sex Club half expecting a barn full of BBWs grazing at an all you can eat buffet but to my dismay there were none to be found. Despite my crushed fantasy I gazed in awe at the most insanely decorated bar while envisioning my next photo shoot.

Affixed to the walls of this cozy little watering hole is the most random conglomeration of shit I’ve ever seen. Band stickers, Christmas lights, chain link fences, hubcaps, busted electronics, bicycle parts, hockey skates, a fucked up cash register and everybody’s favourite purple dinosaur somehow found their way into this madman artiste’s collage. Every inch of the place is a photo shoot waiting to happen.

The tiny 10X16 stage has played host to an endless array of up n comers, has beens and wanna be’s in the umpteen years it’s been around. Just a glance at the wall and I see a list of bands, a few of which I’ve shot at some point in their careers. Trole, Billy Talent and what do ya know, Sin Dealer and Zuku are just a few that jump out at me. An ad on the bar reminded me of another band I gotta see, Drunkula. With a name like that, they gotta be good!

After a brief visit to Sin Dealer’s studio, aka, home of bassist Frank Seargent, a couple beers and whatnot later, they’re ready to get the show started. Arriving back at the Bovine a couple hours later, we discover the place is packed. Zuku’s got almost as many people in the bar as Sin Dealer has pulled in. With this kind of turnout, it’s gonna be a great show.

The lights at the Bovine are not a photographer’s dream so I find myself relying on the flash to provide that artificial light I’ve always hated. Only thing with this bar, the ceiling is so low, you can bounce a flash off it and create a surprisingly desirable effect. This being the only hope to get shots of drummers Chris Chartrand of Zuku and Sin Dealer’s Jeff Zurba.

Zuku hit the stage as a trio minus guitarist Matt Felske. At this point I’d never seen these guys go before so the difference between the power trio and the foursome was not felt by yours truly. These guys absolutely kicked ass. Putting Zuku in an opening slot is like turning everything to 10 right off the bat. Where are ya gonna go from there? Only if yer one of those bands that has the magic key to unlock the 11th notch, can you go any further. Honestly, I’d have to say Zuku hit the 10 ½ point leaving just enough room for Sin Dealer to bump it up. If they could…

Zuku’s high energy set was accentuated by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters peppered with the likes of Basia Lyjak and her drummer Glenn, members of Die Mannequin, and the lovely model Pamela Mars who happened to pause briefly for a shot while I turned my camera on her. What was this Playboy model doing here? Turns out she’s actually seeing Zuku’s drummer, Chris, quite possibly the 2nd luckiest guy on earth.

Every tune Zuku laid on us had the crowd moving. Heads bobbing, fists pumping and hair flying. At one point vocalist/guitarist, Brandon Kennedy, wandered back and conjured some of the most mind numbing and trippy audible delights outta his amp worthy of filling any stoners party room. Fittingly, Zuku left the stage to Brandon’s controlled feedback after giving away a bunch of free beer tix as an added treat for a lucky bunch at the front of the stage.

After a brief intermission, the voice of Lemmy Kilminster cut through the bar signifying the arrival of Sin Dealer. I was told I was about to witness a slice of the good ole days at the Bovine. Sure enough, I got treated to the deluxe combo and then some. Being completely outta my head by the time Sin Dealer lit the stage, I was thoroughly wrapped up in the vibe that was swirling around me.

I’d already mentioned how Zuku cranked it up to 10 ½ and left little room for improvement but there still was that ½ notch to be pushed up. Could Sin Dealer possibly push it even further? How do you top a 10 ½ performance? Well according to Nigel Tufnell, all ya gotta do is turn it to 11. Cuz 11 is louder. And turn it to 11 Sin Dealer did. A nice touch to keep the dial pasted all the way was the tray fulla JD shots passed around the crowd for a massive metal toast.

The whole band was pumped as hell to fire up the new tune for everyone to get their claws into. According to the crowd’s response, “Just A Taste” is a kick ass foreshadow of the heaping helping that’s coming down the pipe in early 2009 as Sin Dealer hit the studio to pump out their 3rd full length CD. After pummeling through their usual set of ass kicking goodies like Betrayal, Gasoline and nailing down Pantera’s “A New Level”, they left the stage to join the party they’d started.

During my visit to their studio, they cranked a few of the new tunes for me and without saying too much, this is definitely gonna be their best offering to date. Frontman, Eric Kuthe has poured his soul into this one, pushing himself to vocal heights he’s never reached before. Later on while chowing down on spaghetti and homemade vegetarian sauce at guitarist, Ron Bechard’s house, he confessed to the new album being some of the best material he’s ever worked on… and the spaghetti sauce was pretty fuckin good too…

I already can’t wait for the next show, opening for the Misfits on October 22nd at the Reverb. Promises to be a good fuckin time so get your ass out there and support one of the most classic punk acts you’re ever gonna take in, as well as some of the best new Canadian metal being forged in a time of limp wristed fly by nighters and crying emo fucks.

Mike Forbes

Rebel Reviewer Dot Com

ZUKU: Here With YouBuy the CD

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