When it comes to the anatomy of Dundas West, the Garrison is its heart. I ventured to the neighbourhood’s favourite watering hole to check out a show featuring Die Mannequin, DD/MM/YYYY and Revolution Love.
When the Garrison opened its doors in 2009, it fully solidified Ossington and Dundas’ “it neighborhood” status. While the intersection already boasted some music venues, the arrival of the new club brought the indie sound and sensibility to an area that until then was musically defined by the country twang of the Dakota. Since then, Toronto’s famed weekly indie-music series Wavelength switched their home base from Sneaky Dee’s to the Garrison, marking the area’s emergence as the city’s new musical epicenter.
Local post-punkers Revolution Love held their farewell show at the Garrison on a cold March evening. It was a perfect mix of artistic bliss and anti-corporate angst. Opening for them were experimental spazz-cases DD/MM/YYYY, who blew minds with their hyphenate-heavy take on math-punk, post-rock , prog and hardcore. Rev Love vocalist Yoko Wikowitz joined them on stage for a harrowing tune that sounded like the musical equivalent of the Wicked Witch of the West melting to her demise.
Headlining the night were snotty sleaze rockers Die Mannequin. Vocalist Care Failure, a staple on the scene since her early teens, laid waste to the stage with her high-octane booze riffs and venomous snarls. The tunes hit hard and heavy, thanks in part to a rhythm section consisting of former Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons and bassist Anthony Bleed.
Legions of local black-clad twentysomethings – many of whom lived right in the area – congregated within the Garrison’s grungy environs to have a raucous good time and capture the essence of giving mainstream music a collective slap in the face. Dundas West at its finest.