Those of us in the Cool Kids Club (honest, there are secret decoder rings and everything!) have been rocking out with Jemo for a few years already. The rest of y’all will get your chance when this solid bouncy-poppy-rocky trio does their thing this Thursday at Lee’s Palace.
While Jemo shows are always memorable, Torontoist caught up with lead singer Jeff Dantowitz to find out which show stands out to him as most the memorable of all…
“The very first day of our summer 2006 tour of the East Coast started off in the worst possible way. We knew it would be a mess, of course, because we were setting off to play 11 shows in 10 days, but somewhere around Kingston we got a phone call from one of the bands that would be opening at our first show, which was scheduled for the next night in Fredericton. He told us that he’d dropped by the bar and all he’d seen were posters for this ACDC tribute band. Now, what’s very convenient or damn lucky or whatever, is that the booking agent, Andrew, happened to be in the van with us – he caught a ride with us from Toronto to Kingston. So he got on the phone and there were a lot of ‘uh huhs’ and ‘ooookay’s and such. Well, it turned out that this pretty popular bar in Fredericton that was having us out all the way from Toronto didn’t receive any of our posters. Nice.
“So they decided to go ahead and book an ACDC tribute band to replace us.
“Andrew works his cell phone magic and, long story short, we ended up on the bill opening for the ACDC band. We had to cancel our opening bands, which was a bummer. When we got to the venue, we could make out that it was probably a pretty hot nightspot in Fredericton, and we saw the ACDC posters. We ambled in, tired as ass, and checked out what we’d gotten ourselves into.
“The rig on the stage was hilarious. There were about 16 monitors and some seriously huge speakers, the place was stacked. We greeted the nice lady serving drinks, and when we mentioned we were the ‘band from Toronto,’ she said ‘oh – you guys aren’t playing tonight.’ We explained the cell phone calls that took place back near Kingston, and she got a very grim look on her face. It turned out that Andrew had spoken with her husband – the co-owner of the bar – and she knew nothing about this. So, she wasn’t very excited to see us and she doesn’t really like her husband all that much. And she started actually bitching about how much it cost to bring the ACDC band all the way to Fredericton. Then she rationalized it all by saying ‘but I gotta say, we get an awesome crowd because they bring all the Hell’s Angels and the bikers out.’
“When the ACDC crew showed up and loaded in their stuff, it was like a scene from a Bon Jovi or Nickelback special, or the opening of Spinal Tap. They were bringing in cart after cart with case after case, all Marshall stacks and subwoofers and light projection devices. The sound guy even brought his own soundboard. I talked to the head roadie dude for a bit, and he nonchalantly mentioned that this was only ‘half their rig;’ they left the other half in the truck.
“Needless to say, we quickly figured out which Jemo songs would rock the hardest and we got ready for the bikers coming for ACDC. The guitarist showed up a few hours before the show, and he was literally Angus Young, pants and all. They were a really awesome tribute band, actually. We played our heaviest, hardest-hitting songs, acoustic guitar and all, and we just tried to play the hell out of everything. The crowd, very large people in very large leather clothing most of them, were really nice to us.
“That night, I guarantee that we played through the best sound system that’s ever been in Fredericton.”
Jemo plays Thursday, January 25th at Lee’s Palace. Photo by Angela Poon from jemounofficial.com.