Register Wednesday | June 26 | 2019

J Mascis Breathes New Life into Old Porn Den

Day three on the road with Do Make Say Think and Broken Social Scene

5 p.m. -Do Make Say Think run their sound check. I walk into the ninety-two-year-old Strand Theatre and see immediately that its interior will be excellent for pictures. Behind the stage, metal stairs climb high up into the rafters. At the top, I'm eye-level with the ropes, pulleys and sandbags of theatre heaven. From this dusty catwalk, the band members look like tiny characters in an architect's small-scale model, but their voices carry clearly to the ceiling.

I follow a maze of scaffolding and peek into a long-unused room full of old office furniture-perhaps from one of the theatre's previous incarnations as a porn cinema. While looking out the film-coated window of one abandoned room, I hear the first few notes of  "Fredericia" rising from below.

I then wander around the rest of the venue, which, despite being in a state of semi-repair, still has its grandeur. I stop to stare at one of the many portraits of deceased rock stars that line the walls. The two-headed Elvis picture displays the King-both at his best and worst. As Jimmy P. thumps the kick drum for level adjustment, the echo knocks dust from the tombs.

7:33 p.m. -Back on board the bus. The rain comes down outside like an endless succession of finger pads drum rolling on the roof a few inches above my head. In the front room, they're watching the last Matrix movie and laughing at all the superfluous pauses for dramatic effect.

9 p.m. -The show begins. Do Make Say Think lay into "Outer Inner & Secret," converting yet another room of fresh-faced fans. Kevin climbs the steps leading to the club's tiny band room, followed by a familiar face framed with long, thick grey hair. J Mascis has arrived. At a loss for what to say, I manage only a handshake with the indie rock icon.

10:15pm -Broken Social Scene open with "KC Accidental," but Kevin can only manage "All your kind," before an ear-splitting shriek of feedback halts the song. Brendan's baseline funkifies the ensuing exorcism, which in combination with some holy duct tape brings us into favour with the spirits. The rest of the show is charmed and the festivities last well into morning.