Review by Daniel Ewacha
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Well, up to showtime I knew him as the ex-lead vocalist and controversial frontman for the Virgin Prunes, a post-punk rock band of the early '80s. And his Starfish performance left me, and I'm sure everyone else in the room, quite bewildered, not to mention exhausted.
Armed with a rhinestone-encrusted megaphone and enough charisma and swagger to make Liberace roll over in his grave and David Bowie hide his head in shame, Mr. Friday provided a show filled with multiple personalities. These memorable characters ranged from a bored, under-sexed housewife who -- I kid you not -- made a cup of hot tea on stage, to an exuberant cross-dresser known as Mr. Pussy ("Poo-say"), whom Friday immortalized in a song "twenty-five years long."
Performing songs off his CD, Shag Tobacco, he gave us a sense of hope, discomfort, and a dose of much needed reality, which, unfortunately, was greeted by some in the audience with laughter and sub-humourous quips, presumably by those persons who obviously did not understand fully what he was up to. However, it is possible that, indeed, that could have very well been Mr. Friday's intent, as a sense of humour is necessary to attend his shows.
To try and explain or draw a picture describing all that took place on this April Fools' Day show is a very difficult, if not downright impossible task, and I hope I have at least partially succeeded. But I will say this: Gavin Friday has proven to be one of the greater performers in music today and the only fools in the city of Vancouver April first were those people who did not attend this show.
Opening the evening was the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group. Although lacking any kind of stage activity, the band enticed the crowd with their catchy, relaxing, precise tunes, making the Jazz Butcher smile with pride. This Gilligan look-a-like and his beatnik friends offered the audience the perfect start to the evening by disguising what was to follow. The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group -- commit their name to memory because you will be hearing from them again and again.
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