The Gig: Sex On Toast with Mandek Penha
Where: The Toff In Town, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
When: 30 June 2010
In One Word: Madness
Right off the bat: Impressive fucking crowd for a Wednesday night! Until this evening I’d never been to “The Toff In Town”, but it turns out many of the walls and doors in this charmingly offbeat venue are padded…and it’s just as well, ’cause the lunatics are definitely running the asylum tonight.
First up is the mysterious Mandek Penha, who I first had the rather dubious pleasure of a few weeks back when they supported the mighty Umlaut. Music, comedy, cabaret or cult? You decide! (‘Cause I sure as hell can’t.) The set highlight is a toss-up between a couple of jaunty pop tunes sung by a little girl in a balaclava – surely there’s child abuse laws about this kind of thing? – and a more adult male/female power-duet which somehow mates Arcade Fire with Burt Bacharach, producing an offspring equal parts hilarious and uplifting. Oh, and then there’s a completely awesome cover of 80s synth-hop classic “There’s No Stopping Us” from the movie Breakin’, which has all the bare-footed, be-robed loonies on-stage gettin’ down and funky. I dunno who this Mandek Penha creep is, but he’s certainly some kinda twisted genius…to whom, incidentally, I fear I may have sold my soul when I signed some petition doing the rounds. Oh well, the perils of attending evil “rock” gigs, one supposes…
Whenever a band lists Frank Zappa high among their influences, I think it’s fair to scoff. When that same band’s Myspace further claims that their shows have “ridiculous live energy”, I think one is well within their rights to call ’em downright fulla shit. Musically-challenging and fun to watch?! The spectacularly-monikered Sex On Toast actually live up to both these hefty claims. And they’re young bastards too, the obnoxious little shits. Didn’t their mums ever tell ’em to keep their embarrassingly overripe talents locked safely away in the garage? Discipline, that’s what these precocious little snots need…especially that Angus one, who plays the whole “belligerent frontman” part just a bit too well for my liking. I bet he has a puppy at home, just so he can kick it when he walks in the door. Who the fuck does he think he is, Zappa, James Brown and Gene Ween all rolled into one? Shouldn’t you be covered in tattoos and bellowing like a boar in heat like the other frontmen of your generation, young man? I’ll bet while all the other guitarists your age were off getting their penises pierced you were too busy in your room, learning how to play more than the requisite four chords and one shitty solo?! Smart-arse. The same goes for your band and their impeccably “tricky” timing, note-perfect performances and fancy-shmancy “musicianship”. I see right through the transparent lotta you. I know you’re all just puttin’ on that “look at us, we don’t give a damn about anything” front to distract from the fact that you’re actually really, really fucking good.
The night’s proceedings end with Mandek Penha “invading” the stage whilst Sex On Toast are still on it. Y’see, both over the ‘net and in-person tonight, the two acts have been having this little “tiff” over a supposed legal disagreement or some nonsense, but it’s all a sham of course. After facing each other off from opposite sides of the room, Mandek Penha’s “leader” being dragged on-stage and beaten Rodney King-style and other silliness, both groups now see the error of their ways and put aside their differences long enough to exchange brotherly hugs, before launching into a heartfelt rendition of my personal favourite Bacharach song, “Close To You”. It’s almost enough to bring tears to the eyes of an embittered, dyed-in-the-wool cynic like yours truly. The moral of the story, boys and girls? If even the love-child of David Koresh and Charles Manson and the prodigal son that Frank Zappa never had can somehow learn to accept and embrace one another, perhaps there’s hope for us all. Maybe, just maybe, what we’ve witnessed tonight is the first bold steps towards a greater world peace and understanding. Either that, or we’ve had the piss taken out of us so badly that we’re gonna need a swift trip to the hospital to replenish our fluids before we perish from dehydration.
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of Sex On Toast and Mandek Penha: