There are few instances in music where a band is so dedicated to the live experience of their shows, that everything about them – from the general and certain special availabilities of their catalogue, to their merchandise – revolves around the physical attendance of fans at one of their gigs. What I’m referring to is the genuine “let us deliver what we do in person” attitude. This is how bands won fans over before the internet and when word of mouth literally meant hearing it from another person, and didn’t involve some chat group or half baked idea of a “street team”. This is something that I have always admired about Toronto’s C’mon – one of the best live bands that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
I had the opportunity to catch one of their last shows ever in Ottawa last Saturday night. If you’re not already in the know, let me tell you a little about them. Ian Blurton – the band’s front man – is a legend in Canadian music. He’s an unassuming legend of sorts, though. He achieved moderate commercial success with his main band – Toronto’s Change of Heart – an outfit he started in 1982. He’s been around the scene that long. I remember seeing Change of Heart once with another three name band from Toronto in the late 90’s called Our Lady Peace, and thinking to myself how clearly Blurton’s opening band had head and shoulders better songs than the headliner. After Change of Heart disbanded in 1997, he founded Blurtonia, another great rock band with his signature addictive hooks. He was a member of Montreal’s Bionic, bringing his touch to them for a few years. In 2002, he decided to toss the chips to the wind, pare it down, and create one of the most electrifying hard rock three pieces in the history of histories, resulting in the birth of C’Mon. They define the word “power trio”. Katy Lynn Campbell (ex-Nashville Pussy) plays bass, and they’ve had a variety of different drummers (the current drummer is Dean Dallas Bentley). Imagine one of the loudest bands you’ve ever seen, sounding almost like a 10 piece wall of droning bass layered riffs, lead by a long bearded wizard and a super hot girl. That’ll probably do in terms of a poor man’s description. Their performances are such a combination of tight energy and balls to wall hooks’n’riffs, that you’d never want to go home. You’d want 20 encores. Besides his duties leading C’Mon, Blurton is a highly respected producer in Canadian music circles, having worked with artists like The Weakerthans and Sinclaire.
The thing that I found so compelling about this band was their commitment to the gig. If you went, you didn’t only get a searing, cook-a-steak-on-the-pickups-of the-guitar kind of live show, you also got access to a lot merchandise that you purposely wouldn’t find anywhere else. They made their full length LPs available pretty regularly, but it was the home made singles and obscure vinyl that made going to the gig that much more special and worth attending. They released their catalogue primarily on vinyl. A cool touch in my books.
Check out a great interview that Ian Blurton did with none other than Alan Cross here.
More importantly, if you can, pick up whatever you can on wax from C’Mon. Alas, they are a band no more after this tour wraps up.