The Inbreds Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, September 29
Published Sep 30, 2016The Inbreds clearly don't know how to break up. Since the Kingston, ON duo officially called it a day back in 1998, they've gone on to play reunion shows in 2008 and 2012. For their latest reunion show (or whatever you call it), Mike O'Neill and Dave Ullrich came together to celebrate Label Obscura's vinyl reissues of their three proper albums: 1994's Kombinator, 1996's It's Sydney or the Bush, and 1998's swan song, Winning Hearts.
The packed crowd at the Gladstone didn't really care why the pair had dusted off their bass and drums, they were just happy to have the Inbreds back on stage. The show began with a slight delay while O'Neill tracked down a bass to play from the opening act, Peterborough's the Lonely Parade. The guys warned the audience that, "We haven't done this in a while," and then launched into a set that unfolded chronologically. Despite the reissue campaign disregarding early compilation, Hilario, they were nice enough to kick things off with fan favourites, "Matterhorn" and "Prince."
O'Neill had trouble settling in with an unfamiliar bass, acknowledging that he had hoped to play an Ernie Ball Music Man instead, and after Kombinator's "You Will Know" he got his wish. While swapping instruments, Ullrich played MC and distracted the crowd with O'Neill's approval, "Dave, keep going! You're doing great!" and then they finished off that album with "Amelia Earhart." There were some hiccups during "North Window" and "Final Word," which O'Neill conceded, but then he turned around and put on a riff clinic for "Drag Us Down" and "Yelverton Hill."
Sure it was a bit of a bumpy ride for the band, but the crowd didn't seem to mind. Plus, there's something engaging about seeing a band commit mistakes, yet own up to it — especially when this band only performs every four years. The Inbreds closed out the set with "Attitude," "Never Be" and "Whitecaps," with O'Neill apologizing again for their struggles. "You're a very forgiving audience," he said graciously, "but I'm Catholic so I'm right at home."
Then as the eight o'clock curfew came into effect, the guys left the stage, seemingly for good. Ullrich disappeared behind a door, but O'Neill announced they had one more surprise in store, before answering some questions about his moustache. When Ullrich reappeared, he was decked in an Angus Young schoolboy outfit, and the two swapped instruments for a light-hearted and loose punk song called "Joe." They swapped back and finally ended things off to loud cheers with a tight version of their arguably biggest hit, "Any Sense of Time."
The Inbreds put on an entertaining and very memorable show. Yes, there was some rust on the multiple basses, the drum kit and some harmonies, but it's nothing that self-aware wise-cracks, Ullrich in a schoolboy uniform, and hearing these songs again couldn't make up for.