Hail Paint! A celebration of Where We Are Today in Toronto

Hail Gentle Reader out there! That’s you looking at this morass of images and verbs and nouns. A small intro before we sail into the piece being written here. It has been a while since we’ve doodled some words here about Paint and Mittenz and those Derby type ladies in Spitfist and all the rest including Balconies. It beehoves us to lay down some fresh Paint and here is something from the CD release party of September 9, 2011.

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It’s only half the story but we have to take what we got. On a Friday night with just the slightest tinge of summer in the air, and the Labour Day weekend just behind us, it was back down to the corners of Queen and Spadina and a short but heavy packed with all the camera gear hurried walk
to try to catch Paint before they hit their stage at what was supposed to be the pendulum swing of midnight.

Getting past the security who were being arbitrary and then the polite doorlady who waved us in with a brief wave after introducing ourselves as the Paint photographer du jour du soir. However, a quick gander of the setlist being placed on the stage of the floor certainly did not look to be of any songs of Paint type ilk. Lesson learned again: set times are never ascribed in stone.

Instead, Paint type friends Cheap Speakers were still due and they ran through a set that was a different style rock that had their fans in a wailin’ wave bluesy vibe.

In the deep background, maestro Robb was being deep hidden in The Hideout band closet where he was safely locked away. Andre drums and skins were entertaining the ladies and gents in the hallways. Marcus was tuning in the murk beside the rack of strings. Mandy was drinking beer in the dark. The photographer was setting up lighting as a lark and a shot in the park.

As Friday came and went and midnight was in the past and Saturday was really upon us in the local timezone, it was time for Paint to be embraced by the world. It was an astonishing set by the Paint quartet – a night and day difference from the newly minted Paint trio who were seen just previously at The ElMo downstairs. [more of that in the Paint story that should be forthcoming]. With a swagger and a ton of verve that struck the nerve with the crowded throng approaching the front of the stage, yet not quite taking that final step to the stage itself. Paint have learned to accept that, because this show did take a stepping back to absorb the full scale assault of light and sound. The Hideout has one thing going for it and that is a great set of stagelights and a real rock sound to their speakers. But this night was special for it was their night of nights, no more rehearsing and nursing a part, they know every part by heart,  Paint were loose yet focused on delivering the goods to the masses. It was a night of release – of the CD and pent-up anticipation. Launching Where We Are Today into the stratosphere,  this was the night they had been waiting for in Toronto. For months upon months since the winter they had been promising that new CD and testing the songs before all manner of crowds and stages we had been privy to seeing and shooting, from C’est What to NXNE to Bovine Sex Club in Toronto to who knows where outside the city, spouting friendly jokes to all the folks. And always welcoming in the new fans and building the base. All that was was behind them, for this night was theirs and they knew it.

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The crew on stage were so focused on performing the contents of Where We Are Today, no room for loosey goosey and Mandy had no mic for the night. But Mandy was the secret weapon of the night and an awesome, swaggering force on guitar. It was all it took for Robb to say it all and stay in step and lock but that was the job of the ever stoic Marcus on unbelievable bass. Andre may have lost the power to his laptop but keeping a fluid and metric beat at the same time is his duty. Any remnants of the old chimey Paint were lost in the new crunch of the guitar chords and an aethereal Mandy on oooh and ahhs coming out of nowhere amidst it all and in the mist of la nuit. It was a cascade of guitar upon guitar, with nuance upon nuance of emotional lyricism laid on top. The pace ebbed and flowed piquing the interest of the crowd. It really must be said that Paint have a penchant for effusive pop, catchy tunes and crafty words that evoke picturesque imagery. The Girl in a Frame was a special moment as the crowd played along running on the spot on the club floor, mimicking the ever running Paint in their video. [Check the paint site for all the tunes and videos.] Yet there is always a dichotomy as there is a nasty, snarly side revealed In Disguise. She Leaves most likely had a real deep underpinning to it as this is where the real brace of guitar and gutwrenching kicked in. End of the Reel towered as always and if this is not the song of the album, no song is. Then again If The Walls Could Talk is always whispering inside my head on a good day, and no doubt after the long drawn out tour to come Home is where they want to be with or without you. [Perhaps when they get home the rest of this story will finally come to light, in the meantime in the shadowplay Paint come to the centre of the city, waiting for you, yes you, dear Reader out there. Maybe even into the heart of a Gastown gone by, somewhere we would not really recommend late at night walking among the vampires by the Town Pump watching the Replacements wasted away on stage, having the time of their lives, or Go Four 3 at Railway Club. It’s just another day.]

It’s probably to the credit of their ever sighing to themselves that they tolerate our reminiscences upon those Irish lads from Dublin. But you too would hear it if you had been there live to hear Paint deliver their songs amidst all the celebration. They jettisoned all the Strangers patter and all the singular CFNY references and focused on the matter at hand. Playing and drinking Jameson’s til 4 a.m. It was a good night to celebrate with and for Paint. Paint look to the future or to take entirely out of context: “erase the past / get out of here fast.” Live fast, live to your conscience.

And did we ever have to run out of there fast to catch the last TTC back to the suburbs and live to write the tale.

[photos on

Cheers to you all!

DSC_6789Midnight Matinee on Flickr

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