The Matadors - October 26, 2012 - Hard Luck Bar, Toronto, CA
By: Kenneth Gallant
In honor of Halloween, the Hard Luck Bar in Toronto was host to an evening of horrorbilly, ghosts, ghouls and alcoholic fueled debauchery when the Matadors rolled into town. The festivities got underway when The Satans took to the stagem decked out in ghoulish gear and blitzed through several cuts from their debut Renovabis Faciem Terrae. The best way to describe their sound is surf punk with a touch of rockabilly thrown in for good measure. Their set was kept short, as people mostly in costumes started filling up the dance floor.
The second act Butch Haller ran through cover songs of 80’s pop music, but imprinted a special blend of rockabilly into their sound. It was fairly amusing stuff for the most part, and it set up Hell Cat and the Prowl to pounce. Pretty as hell and decked out in gothic/leather, the Hellcat (ex-singer of Creepshow) proceeded to tear through a familiar set of country/rockabilly/Western Swing infused numbers. She definitely knows how to command a crowd and served to warm the audience up for the main attraction.
Finally, the Matadors came alive, taking over the stage with the Grim Reaper in tow. At this time the crowd was riled up, partly drunk and in serious need to get down and boogie with a band poised to usher in the end of the world. They started out the set with a few cuts from Horrorbilly 9000, so rabid fans in attendance were treated to songs like “Walking Dead,” “Black Widow," and a rousing rendition of “The Evil Eye.” This really got the crowd furious and a mosh pit actually formed at the front of the stage. A few people even attempted to crowd surf, but that quickly died out.
Around the middle of the set, lead singer Hooch went into a diatribe about the Mayan Calendar signifying the end of the world, and in between swigs of whiskey from an actual human skull, the morbid frontman tore into “9 Shots of Bourbon.” This song was the highpoint of the night, and it served to become the theme song of a show celebrating sex, death and rock ‘n roll. At one point even the Grim Reaper got into the act after slugging a rambunctious fan who attempted to jump onto the stage. The fan was greeted with a solid left hook and knocked clearly back into the mosh pit. It happened so fast, but I remember Hooch laughing and telling the fan it served him right for the interference.
Once the calamity died down, the band returned to the festivities with a few cuts from Sweet Revenge and The Devil’s Music. They handled such classics like “If You’re Gonna Bitch (I’m Gonna Drink)” and “Creeping Demon” to sheer delight of the crowd. Hooch and the gang sensed the growing anticipation from the audience, so they revved up the engine even higher when it came time to performing “The Devil Taught Me How” and “A Little Bit of Alcohol.” By this time of night, 2:30am to be exact, the bar was closed and everyone was close to passing out. Of course the Matadors were still raring to go and it showed in the performance they gave as the night wore down.
The only other notable moment to the festivities was the announcement of the winner for best Halloween costume. I’m not exactly sure what costume was awarded for best prize, but if I had a vote there’s no question I would have given it to the Grim Reaper up on the stage. The dude really knows how to party and he picked one hell of a band to ring in the ghoulish holiday with. The Matadors really do swing with the best of them and this night was no exception.