PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

The Mad Caddies: Live from Toronto: Songs in the Key of Eh

Jason MacNeil

The Mad Caddies

Live from Toronto: Songs in the Key of Eh

Label: Fat Wreck
US Release Date: 2004-09-21
UK Release Date: 2004-09-20
Amazon
iTunes

The Opera House in Toronto might sound like a venue that has upholstered seats, great sightlines, and a cozy atmosphere. Unfortunately, that would only be the case if it was 1919, but the old place still has warmth to it. Although it only holds 500 to 600 people, it's been the sight of some memorable acts, including the Strokes' first Toronto gig opening for Doves. Anyway, Mad Caddies decided that this would be the spot for their live album. And the ska punk group led by singer Chuck Robertson spends an hour going through old favorites, new tunes, and a consistent party atmosphere on these 19 tracks, beginning with the instrumental "Intro". It sets the stage for some fine horns, finer guitar riffs, and a drumbeat that keeps it all together. Thankfully, the crowd isn't completely erased from the mix, as their hoots and hollers can be heard every so often in the high-octane "Macho Nachos". The horn section of trumpeter Keith Douglas and Ed Hernandez on trombone adds a good deal of color to the Social Distortion-like tune. With horns!

"How you guys doing? We're the Mad Caddies, thank you very much for coming out!" Robertson says before launching into "10 West", a hopping, punchy, ska-tinted tune that brings English Beat to mind if Dave Wakeling occasionally played surf guitar. Another catchy tune is the bizarre, New Orleans ragtime-meets-Celtic punk of "Leavin'". Here, Mad Caddies start off with a few notes resembling "When the Saints Go Marching In", but then up the ante with a rollicking rock/ska/punk flavor. "Weird Beard" sounds like Green Day's tune about self-pleasure by Tre Cool. But Robertson comes off more like a jazzy, lounge-like pirate as he talks about the Jolly Roger. "Contraband" is definitely a rocker, as they let guitarist Sascha Lazor have his way throughout the tune, especially with some strong solo work. But the highlight of the first half has to be "Monkeys", which Robertson says is an older one. "It's kinda dumb but it's a good time!" he says, before the horns pipe in with a ragtime, vaudeville feel. You almost get the idea that if Woody Allen started his career now, Mad Caddies would be in business for the next 40 years doing the score for his opening and closing credits. The tune then goes into a slow, sultry dip as the listener envisions a stripper at a stag party.

One lowpoint is the medley of older songs, with "Days Away" bookending the track. The middle portion features "The Bell Tower" and "Popcorn", but the medley doesn't really do much for the album. Coming across more as a breather, the effort isn't that energetic and sounds ordinary at best. "The Gentleman" gets things going again with an infectious beat and Robertson giving his all while spewing the lyrics out in near record time. Having seen the band live, songs like "Villains" resemble a rendition of the score for The Godfather if done by a punk version of the Muppets. This is quite evident on the great "Last Breath", which seems to exemplify all the Mad Caddies' strong suits, despite coming off a bit like No Doubt minus the sex appeal. The crowd sings along for "Mary Melody", while Robertson does some nifty whistling. He also dedicates the subtle reggae groove-riddled "Drinking for 11" to a pregnant lady who couldn't make the show.

The homestretch includes the brilliant melding of ska, ragtime, and punk on "Road Rash", which seems to personify the band's greatest assets. Ditto for "Silence", a faster, rambunctious ditty that will have heads bobbing or limbs flailing! Overall, the Mad Caddies show on this album that they make for a fun, if bizarrely entertaining band.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.