I’m not sure what compelled me to go downtown to the Cafe Dekcuf (née The Whipping Post) on March 11th, 2005 to see a band I hadn’t heard of before, but I did. Maybe I was just hankering for a night out at what had long been my favourite local venue, but more likely I went at the behest of my friend Dave. If the latter is in fact the case I should remember to thank Dave the next time I see him, because I sure had a great time experiencing The Golden Dogs for the first time.
The band was set up on the little corner stage facing a moderate crowd of perhaps thirty people – which made the tiny brick-lined bar about half-full – drums and bass with a guitarist/vocalist up front next to (what turned out to be) his wife on keyboards, backup vocals and tambourine.
(I wouldn’t normally mention the tambourine, but she made that tambo* rock so hard that she made it very mention-worthy.)
Set up prominently at the front of the stage was a black music stand, the type familiar to high school music students everywhere. The stand was facing the audience, and the show began when the keyboardist placed a placard on the stand upon which was written the name of the first song. It was a cool little gimmick that she kept up all night; every time they were about to start another song she’d put the appropriate placard on the stand announcing the song’s title for the benefit of the audience.
Ironic then that I don’t remember what song they started with, but I do know that whatever it was it rocked my world. I can say that with utter confidence because every single song of the evening completely rocked my world. Each song started off super-strong and then they would hit a pre-chorus that would knock me out. And oh, the choruses! I mean, song after song was the same thing: it drew me in immediately, the pre-chorus would make me swoon and the chorus would hook me in completely. I couldn’t believe it…where had these guys been?
I vividly remember looking over at Dave several times over the course of the evening and seeing that he clearly felt the same. Our heads were shaking in wonder, our eyes rolling back in amazement, our mouths agape in rock and roll shock, and all for just a $6 cover charge. What a great night.
Of course I bought a CD and I listened to it until I knew all the words. I’ve seen the band a few times since and always enjoyed them, but never as much as that first time. While The Golden Dogs are consistently great I can never go back and relive the experience of immense joy that came with the shock and surprise of discovering them for the first time.
I wonder whatever happened to those guys (and girl)? I remember hearing that they sold a song to some television ad for $50,000 but it occurs to me that I haven’t heard about them for years. Hopefully they are still out there shocking and surprising people like me.
*Term: coined. You heard it here first.