The Boathouse was rocked again this past weekend as Max and his legendary Axe stormed the place with heavy riffing, some friends, and a brand new album called Status Electric.
Opening the show was singer was former Max singer Mickey Straight (“from Guatemala” as he was introduced, but I think Guatemala is Toronto). Mickey has a rock star stage presence and together with Max the Axe, they played some of their oldies such as “Mutant Mind” and “Belljar Party”. Mickey played bass as a trio with Max and Dr. Dave Haslam on drums, which we quickly learned was going to be a common theme going forward.
Second up was the biggest surprise of the night: Nancy Vicious and the Nasty Bitches. Punk rock was expected, and punk rock we had (including some Pistols and Stooges with originals). On drums…the newly rebranded “God Damn Dave” Haslam. Guitarist Mike “Mitch Bitch” Mitchell surprised us by ripping off his shirt revealing a corset. But the real surprise was Nancy Vicious herself, a young powerhouse with lungs of fucking stainless steel. Classic punk mixed with new-breed bands like Dilly Dally. I learned that Nancy has been playing the bars for years, though only 19 years old. No CDs for sale unfortunately — Nancy told me their first album was “really bad” but that they are working on a second one with (hopefully) about 13 songs. They did have merch for sale in the way of stickers, buttons and postcards.
We were under the impression that the Hellen Keller Band had changed their name to the Delusionals. This was Fake News. What is the Hellen Keller Band? An instrumental trio led by Mike Mitchell on guitar, God Damn Dr. Dave on bass, and Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller on drums. Mitchell’s incredible picking was quite stunning to watch. He’s got chicken pickin’ going on, and plenty of ability. And it turns out Dr. Dave is even better on bass than he is on drums. This trio was plenty of fun to watch, as they mixed covers and originals. They closed the set with a blistering Dead Kennedys “Holiday in Cambodia”.
Finally the game of Musical Chairs came to the end when Max the Axe hit the stage. Lineup: Max on lead guitar, with Eric Litwiller’s voice, Dr. Dave’s drums and Mike Mitchell’s bass. He played his entire new album, the stellar Status Electric in sequence with a break in the middle. Now, we’ve been quite clear here how great Status Electric is. Hearing it played live for the first time? Brilliant.
Litwiller opened up his powerful lungs on “River Grand”, a grungy rocker. He blasted consistently through all of “side one” while Max ripped hot licks on his Axe. After the vocal tour-de-force “Sick of Living”, they played “Mexican Standoff” from Trillion Dollar Threats, some Black Flag, and then gave Litwiller a break as Mickey Straight was invited back for two oldies. “Daddy Was a Murderin’ Man” and “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” (also Trillion Dollar Threats) were a treat. The final side of the Status Electric album was then laid out, with “Gods on the Radio” and “Scales of Justice” being the obvious best tracks. Unfortunately by this time all four band members had already played full sets with other bands, and they flubbed a few lines in “Uptite Friday Night” and “Scales”. Not that this detracted from the show. It seemed everybody was aware of how hard these guys had been playing all night!
CD and MERCH GIVEAWAY!
WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF STATUS ELECTRIC! Bonus NANCY VICIOUS STICKER AND BUTTON!
How, you ask, do I win?
It’s simple! Just answer the easy question below by submitting it directly on the form. All correct answers will be put in a hat and one lucky winner will be drawn at random! Please remember to include your complete mailing address so we can send your prize!*
QUESTION: Name all four current members of Max the Axe.
This contest will run for one week, from December 10 to December 17, when we will draw the winner.
*Disclaimer: Canada Post is on strike and we can make no delivery guarantees.