“The guy doused his wife in gasoline. Then he went and set the bitch on fire.” And with those lyrics we welcomed the menacing Scratch Acid to Toronto. A band that, outside of a few shows in 2006, had not been heard from since 1986. The aforementioned lines are from the song ‘Crazy Dan’, which the band played along side just about every other song in their discography. It’s no wonder, since, as lead singer David Yow, himself says “there is no such thing as a rare or unreleased Scratch Acid song!” This show was part of a one-off reunion tour through North America, fuelled in part by, the continued influence of Kurt Cobain on today’s music scene (too many examples to reference for this short review).

The aforementioned Yow knows a thing or two about successful reunions. Two years ago he led his other band, The Jesus Lizard, through a year long triumphant revival of club dates and festival shows. Of those, there were notable performances at All Tomorrows Parties and the Pitchfork Music Festival. These appearances allowed a whole new generation a chance to hear the unique and brutal brilliance of The Jesus Lizard as well as setting the stage for this reboot of its older brother, Scratch Acid.

The Jesus Lizard formed in 1989, two years removed from the Scratch Acid breakup, comprising of not only David Yow but also Scratch Acid’s bass player, David Wm. Sims. The two bands share a style of music and Yow’s undeniable intensity as a front man, but it was The Jesus Lizard who would ultimately find success through stronger songwriting, career longevity as well as having the finest guitar player, Duane Denison, that this reviewer has ever heard.

As for the show itself, it couldn’t have been more satisfying. All the ingredients were there; one part Yow madness, one part menacing Sims bassline, a pinch of Brett Bradford guitar squal and an extra spoonful of Rey Washam’s precise time keeping made this a tasty and sinful treat. Particular highlights to my set of ears were ‘Greatest Gift,’ ‘Moron’s Moron’ and ‘Lay Screaming’.

At one point during the show, Yow admonished the kids at the front of the stage that “we are on the same side.” I was left thinking that, “thank God we are”, when we are treated to performances that are this good!

​- Johnny Hooper