no pants no problem

The winter blues are definitely in full swing.  Even as days get longer and the warmer weather isn’t quite so much of a distant memory, it’s still so cold in my apartment that I sometimes have to wear mini gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off while typing. In a desperate attempt to warm up, I watch the Fireplace Channel on Youtube to bask in the warming glow on the screen and the sound of the wood crackling.

Yes, it sounds like I need an excuse to get out of the house and get the blood flowing. What better occasion than the return of No Pants, No Problem, a socially conscious underwear dance party for a good cause. The premise is simple: drop your pants at the door, dance around in your best boxers, briefs, boyshorts, panties, jock strap or even thong and help support organizations with a mandate to advocate for HIV awareness and sexual/gender rights. No Pants, No Problem isn’t just a fun, underwear dance party, it also provides a politicized space for challenging ourselves around our own understandings of gender, sexuality and HIV.

As much fun as it is to dance around your apartment in your underwear, let me tell you that it’s even more fun at a bar, in this case Little Italy’s Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon West).  You can leave your pants at the on-site pants check, but make sure to come early to secure your spot as it filled up around midnight last time.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, there will even be a kissing booth on site for you to practice your lip-locking for the big kissing contest.  If you’re lucky enough to be leaving the party with a fellow sexy pantsless dancer, make sure to visit the safer sex/harm reduction booth first for free condoms, gloves and other goodies.

Tunes for the evening will be provided by resident DJ Like the Wolf, playing a sweet mix tape of classic and contemporary tracks that’s sure to keep the dance floor nice and sweaty. Also heating up the night will be a series of sexy burlesque performances from members of Glam Gam Productions.

No Pants, No Problem was founded as a community building event in 2004 and has also appeared in Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Vancouver, New York City and Mexico City. They also made their debut at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC last year.  It is a unique and safe space for people for of all orientations to release their inhibitions about body image and sexuality. Their goal is to help build and bridge communities while challenging the binary sexual and gender norms that dominate mainstream culture.

The cover charge is $10 or $5 if you check your pants, although no one will be refused for a lack of funds.  The space is fully wheelchair accessible.  For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


Light Fires opened with red pumps and karate kicks and JD Samson & MEN closed with some electro bliss, but the real jewel was sitting right in the interstice. Diamond Bones is a Montreal dream pop trio with an indie edge: Michelle Bensimon, Lana Cooney and Isabelle Banos took the stage shoeless before a packed house at Il Motore on Saturday night.

These gals paint in big, plangent soundscapes. One thing that struck me right away was the depth of their sound. I was talking to a guy in the crowd about how technology has really widened the palette of frequencies at the songwriter’s disposal. I have to agree. Diamond Bones uses this wider field very well: long smoky synths counter-pointed by up-tempo drumming and poppy arpeggios create this delicious emotional tension. They also sing harmony. Did I mention that I like this band?

Halfway through their set, I slalomed toward the stage to get some photos and Banos announced that they’d just finished recording their first album earlier that day. That’s a bit of a tricky statement though— we all know what production’s like: it never ends. But when I cornered Cooney after the show she said it wouldn’t be too long before the album dropped.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this trio only becomes tighter and more successful as they evolve. I’m really looking forward to this release. For now I’ll keep spinning that sorrowfully catchy ‘Home is Where’ track off of Bandcamp until my downstairs neighbours bang on their ceiling with a broom.

Photo by Jesse Anger

Kylesa brought their heavy, psychedelically hypnotizing sounds to Il Motore. The genre-defying band from Savannah, Georgia had most of the crowd completely transfixed, trance-like, during their set. The swirling, geometric projection lighting definitely added to the mind-bending atmosphere created by the band’s music.

It’s really difficult to accurately describe Kylesa’s sound. The heavy riffs and bass lines are reminiscent of metal and there’s a psychedelic 70s influence in there. Then there are these spacey, dark, electric undertones that feature most prominently on their latest release, Ultraviolet. Songs can go from slow and atmospheric to fast and heavy in seconds. The result is an extremely well crafted, intricately arranged piece of work that translates beautifully to the stage.

For a five-piece, Kylesa have a lot going on instrumentally. Guitarists Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants share vocal duties. Cope also uses a synthesizer, a Theremin, and an original piece called the skateboard guitar. That last one is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a skateboard that a friend of Cope’s modified by adding pickups, tuners and strings.

Rounding things out on the low end of the frequency spectrum are bassist Chase Rudeseal and drummers Eric Hernandez and Carl McGinley. That’s right: Kylesa has two drummers that each play on their own full kits simultaneously.

The noise is absolutely brutal. Listening to Kylesa perform feels like shooting through outer space in a glass rocket ship.


Opening up for the band were the equally talented and deserving Lazer/Wulf, White Hills and Blood Ceremony.

Lazer/Wulf are an instrumental three-piece from Atlanta. They like to pull the most ridiculously hilarious faces while performing their brand of impossibly fast experimental thrash.

White Hills play what they like to call “fuzzed out motorik spacerock.” This is a pretty good description of their brand of psychedelic, stoner rock. Interestingly enough, although the band hails from New York City, they’ve built up more of a following overseas since their inception in the early 00s and have only started touring North America extensively within the last few years.

Blood Ceremony’s special brand of occult doom metal really makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. The sound is reminiscent of early Black Sabbath with just a hint of medieval folk: lead singer Alia O’Brien switches between playing the organ and the flute. The highly acclaimed Toronto band has previously toured with Swedish heavy metal band Ghost and stoner/sludge behemoth Electric Wizard.

The three openers, powerhouse bands in their own right, really ensured that you got a big bang for your buck. The resulting show was a very eclectic mix of sounds and a reminder that there are really exciting things happening in the heavy music genre.

*Photos by Bianca David. Check out our Kylesa @ Il Motore album on Facebook for more photos.