NOV 05, 2022

Black Budget  • by octopi • tiger sex

We at Critical Zero always try to see different types of bands, whether they play metal, doom, indie rock or punk. There is beauty in all types of music; however, when we attend a punk show, there is some kind of “Je ne sais quoi” about being thrown into a pit of chaos with your friends. Last Saturday night (Nov. 5) did not disappoint.  

The headlining act was a three-piece band called Tiger Sex, who formed in Las Vegas in 2013. We had had a discussion around that time about the importance of not listening to a new band before you see them play live. In many cases, the recorded version of their music is too poppy and polished thanks to the pressure of competing in the market or the band tried to mix their music in their home studio, where it turned into a mess. So, with Tiger Sex, we wanted to bring a fresh outlook and be ready to experience them first-hand. And they certainly did not disappoint. 

Let’s begin. 

It was one hour before the doors were set to open and the street was crowded with members from the Toronto punk rock music scene. It was like a family reunion because many of us work in the music scene, and it’s rare that we can all be together for the full night. The air was warm enough to wear a t-shirt and a mini skirt, the energy was magic, and aside from the kick-ass headliner, our beloved By Octopi was playing and of course the mighty Black Budget was there to open the night. A real bond exists between the two bands, thanks to the connection they made working with Save Toronto Music Venues. 

The doors opened and within no time the place was packed with friendly faces and we saw many By Octopi and Black Budget shirts around the room. The sign of a rich scene is seeing local acts supporting local, and to see such love and respect in a mythical venue like the Bovine Sex Club was chilling. Moments like these are special, and that's why we all work so hard. To experience one incredible night where we let go and go crazy.

Black Budget began the night and showcased their powerful and fierce sound. Lead singer and guitarist Pedro Alvarado blasted the room with the piercing sound of his cream-coloured Vox. He screamed, breaking into a sweat as he franticly strummed his Gibson Classic with ferocity while scraping it against the mic stand and chatting with the crowd. Bassist Michael Orpen aka “Punkrock Mailman” blew the room away with rumbling, dirty bass while jumping around and aggressively playing like a caged animal ready to explode. Drummer Jack Laing was insanely precise and smashed the drums in complicated patterns. This was the perfect way to start the night. 

By Octopi took the stage shortly after, and they smashed the Bovine in the best way. Playing all their iconic songs, singer Kyla K had the entire room in the palm of her hand with her amazing stage presence, stage banter and of course her great vocal performance. The band’s wonderful guitar melodies and double kick drum patterns will make you feel you have no choice but to bounce up and down. The band has the tightest rhythm section, and they have such a full sound. They all play their parts well and know their role in the song, and it never sounds messy. In fact, two cranked guitar amps sounded GREAT in this medium sized room! 

To close the evening, we got one of the most punk, iconic performances we’ve ever seen in Toronto. Tiger Sex took us by surprise; there was a rawness, an attitude, and a stage presence that should be shown at performance schools. They all commit to their roles and sound massive. The band doesn’t have a bassist, and it clearly doesn’t affect the performance. In fact, I think it made it an “Omg they’re a three piece with no bass! Amazing!” moment. The sound really, really reminded us of New York City punk straight of CBGB: wild performances, a furious sound and gut-wrenching vocals. Tiger Sex’s cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and the song about the dirty mailman were striking moments of the performance. Especially since we at Critical Zero have our own punk rock mailman.  

However, for us, the most punk part was the Converse beer moment. Legends say our friend Joseph Zambri aka Joe Hat can still taste shoes. If you don’t know, check out our TikTok video recap for the best video of the night.  After Tiger Sex's performance people stormed the merch section to purchase some of the coolest merch we’ve seen from travelling bands. Touring acts hit differently at the Bovine, and Tiger Sex was no exception.  

It was an incredible night in all and I can’t help but think how this night could go down as a legendary show; it was a reminder of why we prefer cozy shows, where anything can happen and the crowd is part of the performance instead of a backdrop.  

By Critical Zero
Edit by: Matt Yuyitung