Several years ago I bought a copy of The Kids' second LP, ‘Naughty Kids’. I think it was a bootleg - Kids stuff was hard to come by, despite their good reputation as Belgium's premier punk band. Thirty years after the band first kicked out such anthems as ‘This Is Rock'n'Roll’ they released a new live album, Flabbergasted’, a comp of their first two LPs and embarked on a short North American tour (Montreal and Ottawa, to be precise).

I thought that a chance to see Wire earlier in the month was one of the great improbables of my concert experience, but now that I've heard ‘No Monarchy’ as performed by its mostly original authors - to be precise, Ludo Mariman, Danny de Haes and guitarist Luc Van Den Poel with Scabs veteran Franky Saenen on drums - all I can say is doesn't that beat all ?

Their choice of venue seemed appropriate: A dank dive on Ottawa’s unfashionable south side. Once the home of a blues club, the band now plays home to a wide variety of punk and metal shows.

Things were a little soggy around the stage ... at first I had fond hopes the inch-deep water was caused by recent melting snow, but the popular rumour was that it was issuing from backed-up toilets in the ladies washroom. While many show-goers discussed the authenticity issue of standing in urine while watching old school punk, it later emerged that a busted sink was the culprit.

The show got underway at 9:30. First up were locals Critical Convictions. Vocalist Maxx emerged wearing a smock because “I was planning to give birth to the baby Jesus,” she told the crowd (that explained the punk in ersatz Middle Eastern garb wandering the back room before the show) “but now I’m not, so just imagine he’s here in spirit.” Perhaps the theatrics were intended to be a tribute to The Kids atheist rallying cry ‘Jesus Christ Didn’t Exist’. The band apparently decided they had too little time to rock to bother with such theatrics - or maybe they couldn't locate three wise men in the room. The shortage of probably not virgin births notwithstanding, the crowd merrily moshed to the band’s screaming, politically engaged hardcore.

Next up were Germ Attak! Like Critical Convictions the trio played a blistering set that had the punks moshing and staggering right from the start. Indeed, one diminutive punk decided things would be safer on stage and collapsed next to a mid-stage column for much of the set.

Toronto’s Brutal Knights were probably the main draw for much of the crowd. Their idiot savant hardcore was embellished by some serious band costuming - except in the case of drummer John Powers who wore only wore briefs. Diminutive axewoman Katie G. Warrior dressed as a cop, while Randy Sharron, the band’s other guitarist, wore a black minidress, purple stockings and a bright red fright wig. Their bassist sported a saffron cape and gold lame frock, while frontman Nick sported a rainbow clown wig and, for much of the show, pants. On several occasions the crowd surged onto the Bayou’s low stage, on several others Nick surged into the crowd.

The volatile crowd led Kids mainman Ludo Mariman to caution the audience that "I still have my own teeth, and I'd like to keep it that way!", but there was no stopping the assembled mass of bristles and spikes from shoving back and forth and almost jam the swaying microphone into Mariman’s nashers.

Considering the band formed prior to the birth of much of the audience, there was no shortage of punks enthusiastically singing along to tunes like ‘Do You Love The Nazis ?’, I Wanna Grt a Job in the City’, and ‘No Monarchy’, among others cherrypicked from ‘The Kids’ and ‘Naughty Kids’ LPs.

It was a satisfied crowd that climbed the stairs at the end of the show.

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Commenting On: New Bayou, Ottawa, 30/10/2008 - Kids

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