At first glance, The Most Serene Repulic and The Grates touring together seems unlikely -- even odd. The former is a Toronto-based snapshot of what Arts & Crafts does best: Broken Social Scene's intricate textures and soundscapes with the personality dynamic of Stars. The latter is a pop-infused fun punk band from Brisbane with a bubbly, perpetually bouncing front lady.
Despite the disparity, the two put on one hell of a late show at Modified, following a Third Thursday art show at the venue. Fans piled in to feel the warmth and giddy glow of Grates leader Patience Hodgson, who sported a Little House on the Prairie getup that included faux cowbody boot leggings over her black-on-black Chucks.
Hodgson channeled a young Debbie Harry with more personality in her pinkie than most bands have in their collective thumbs. She ribbon danced, invoked a skanking party and dedicated "Science Is Golden" to anyone who's been to Roswell.
The Most Serene Republic were similarly charming via their front man and master of American cinema, Adrian Jewett, who had fabulous commentary and also attempted to do "the Molly Ringwald." The septet seemed genuinely and pleasantly surprised by the warm tidings of the beaming crowd, and requested creamsicles due to the warm weather.
A little skanking carried over from The Grates' set, mostly due to Jewett's trombone. But, hey-o, he delivered in the personality department with such delightful non sequiturs as, "Wasn't John Candy great?" In addition to, "Tonight when you go home check out 'Robin Hood Men in Tights'; it's a gem," and "I would 69 Patrick Stewart."
Both imports avoided doing encores, and left everything on Modified's creaky stage when they were done. One of the best shows this year, hands down.
Last Night: The Most Serene Republic and The Grates at Modified Arts
Better Than: Staying at home and enjoying the dropping temperatures.
Personal Bias: Huge fan of both bands, and I never imagined they'd be on a bill together.
Random Fact: After a minor debate about Patience Hodgson's skin color variance on her left arm, it was uncovered, via the interwebz, that it is a birthmark.
Further Listening: The Grates "Trampoline"