The Inbreds Lee's Palace, Toronto ON — March 11, 2005

Canadian independent music's current golden age was well represented in the audience, but it was an iconic band from the last golden age that garnered the attention, as bassist Mike O'Neill and drummer Dave Ullrich reunited for a (likely) one-off reunion show of their Oshawa-Kingston-Halifax duo the Inbreds. O'Neill was particularly polished on his bass; he spent the last year touring as a guitarist for Sarah Harmer, so his ease on stage came as no surprise. The more unexpected joy was the rock-solid beat-keeping of Ullrich, who sounded like he's spent his downtime practicing instead of launching his innovative online label Missing a little was the enthusiastic stomp-and-fuzz that characterised O'Neill's earliest bass/distortion pedal rock-outs; he's smoothed out as he's become more skilled. His voice has deepened some too — a little strain reaching for high notes on "You Will Know," for example, served more to illustrate his songs' simple, melodic ambition than to betray the cracks in his vocals. From the very first song they ever wrote and recorded — "Prince," released on their Darn Foul Dog cassette, which broke ground for a slew of early '90s bedroom experimenters — to the very last song on their final album ("Whitecaps," from 1998's Winning Hearts), this was the career of the Inbreds in a nutshell. Not just for their catchy contributions to a Canadian canon, but for the impact they had on a new generation of Canadian music. We didn't need to be told again that bass and drums could be done, but how nice of them to remind us.