Teenage Head - Canadian Music Week 2014 Report Card

CMW Report Card ’14: Teenage Head @ The Great Hall

Thursday, May 8. It was like Teenage Head karaoke and every guest singer was one of your heroes.

- May 9, 2014

Background/ Composition: Whether it's punk or new wave or garage-trained boogie, Hamilton's Teenage Head have been doing it for near 40 years, influential to almost all Canadian punk and alt rock that's come after. This show launched Gods of the Hammer, a book by Geoff Pevere celebrating that history.

Intergenerational Draw: B

They packed it, no surprise. And while you could imagine this was gonna be one almost squarely for grey and bald punks, there was a decent showing of fresher faces. If we're talking legacy, I'd have liked to see a genuine, card-carrying teenage head. (Side note: If you want a real sign of the times, the stringy haired dude in leather standing in front of me was ripping on an e-cig pretty furiously, and I heard a lady at the bar ask to sample The Great Hall's pinot grigio. Let's just say it wasn't to her liking.)

Teenage Head - Picture My Face (LP Version)

Surprises: A+

It's impossible to replace frontman Frankie Venom, who died in 2008, so the band did something pretty dang special: a revolving door of punk and alt rock icons — Ian Blurton, Ivan Doroschuk from Men Without Hats, John Kastner from Doughboys (and new CMW Festival Programmer), Nick Sewell from Biblical and The Illuminati, Mickey Skin from The Curse. Cheetah fucking Chrome got up and sang "Picture My Face."

The test of time: B+

When the band took the stage, founding guitarist Gordie Lewis was slumped on a chair in front of his amp, his thinning curls blowing in the stage fan, a little bald spot visible in the back. Could he still do his Chuck Berry thing? Yes. Big time. Shame on me for wondering.

Grand Finale: A

When they said they were going to do one more, Kastner, Sewell, and Cheetah Chrome got on stage with the Head for a rip through the Dead Boys' classic "Sonic Reducer." I looked around the room; all grins were set to shit-eating.

Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer

Final Grade: A


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