Hello friendly reader. We have a guest commentator here who will recount his experience with space-related music. Let’s begin, shall we?
Been a big fan of Shadowy Men since I first heard their theme song on
Kids in the Hall in college. This post from my friend and yours, Bon Vivant, Rob Vaughn.
After I finished the very last final exam I had to take in gag school,
I grabbed a suitcase I’d packed and my pals from high school met me
outside of the hall to drive up to Toronto for a three day weekend. I
kept telling them to stop at a liquor store in the U.S. to buy booze
but they were hell-bent on driving straight through. By the time we
got there and found a hotel, it was about 8:30pm and like Oregon the
liquor stores closed at 7.
We left the hotel and were looking for a beer store (they’re open a
little later, no beer in grocery stores either, at least back then)
when I saw a flyer for a Shadowy Men show. My fellow idiots finally
figured out the beer stores closed at 9pm and were resigned to finding
a bar and paying the price. Told them I was going to the show and none
were interested; they wanted to go to titty bars, I wanted music, so I
split off alone.
I’d been to Toronto a few times and have always had a good sense of
direction and making my way around. Took some guesses, and a Metro
ride and walk later, found the little club they were playing at; more
of an art space in hindsight. I paid the $5 CAN and went in, There
were all sorts of friendly folks inside: solo people like me, couples,
friends of the band, etc. The lights were dim, the place a bit of a
mess and dirty, and said friends of the band were walking around with
cases of beer selling them for $1 CAN each.
I don’t remember the name of the opening band. They did a 40 minute
set of surf rock, all short tunes, good stuff. Place was pretty packed
by the time they were done. Shadowy Men came out and helped the
openers move their gear, except for the drum kit, which drummer Reid
was loaning them. They set up quickly and turned off everything but a
lot of black lights. They’d decorated the whole space with fluoro
reactive stuff: stars and comets on the walls, dayglo planets and
moons hanging from the ceiling, ufos and spaceships on wires that
would slide back and forth from the stage to the back of the room on
pulleys, and so on.
The two couples I’d been hanging with broke out some joints and we got
very high while slugging beer out of cans. The moment the geegaws on
the pulleys started moving, the band lit a couple of roman candles on
the stage and went straight into the first song off their first album,
which they played in full, followed by their 2nd LP. Barely a pause
between songs until they’d finished most of the latter, then some
witty banter from lead singer/guitarist Brian. At some point there
were a couple glow-in-the-dark blow up balls bouncing around the
crowd. The beer guys just started giving away cans and I had to pace
myself because I realized I hadn’t eaten in over a day.
They played for over two hours straight, then turned up the lights and
said “Thanks everyone, that’s our last show ever, hope you had a good
time” or some such thing. I excused myself and went up to the stage
where the band was just hanging out. I introduced myself and told the
guitarist how much I loved their music and felt it was crucial to the
TV show, and was bummed they were breaking up. Said I had almost all
of their LPs and singles, in particular the Estrus stuff, but had
never found a copy of a 7″ that they’d self-released. Connelly told me
to wait and went backstage, then returned with a copy of the single. I
asked him how much he wanted for a it but he just handed it to me and
said, “Nuthin’! Glad you like the music,” We chatted a little more
then I left to let others have a turn.
I found the folks I’d been hanging with and thanked them for the weed,
then split to catch the Metro back, since it didn’t run late. I tried
to find my pals at a strip club they said they’d be at, but it being
pre-mobile phone days, I had no way to contact them and didn’t feel
like paying a cover charge to get in to look, so I headed back to the
hotel. They were already there, drunk as hell, broke after spending
hundreds at the club and in the process of trashing the room. I’m
surprised we didn’t get caught and kicked out.
We hightailed it to another hotel at checkout time then hit the liquor
and beer stores. I don’t remember much more of that weekend after we
procured the booze. Some museums, some restaurants, book and record
stores and pubs for me, while they went back to the naked lady bars.
It was a completely random and lucky thing to catch their last show.
The next year I skipped the graduation ceremony over Memorial Day
weekend to fly to Portland and drive up to Bellingham to catch another
Garageshock. Can’t remember if Soren was on that trip in ’94 or not?
Don’t remember if they ever played at those, but at least I got to see
them once. The bass player died of cancer a couple years later, so
doubtful there’ll ever be a reunion or new material.
So, the author of this post doesn’t waste his time on them thar farcebooks, but the band in question continues to perform: https://www.facebook.com/Shadowy-Men-on-a-Shadowy-Planet-132699680204307/