Show Review: Pinup Saints

Pinup Saints
Tattoo Rock Parlour, Toronto – August 6, 2009
Review by Aaron Binder
Originally published in Lithium Magazine

You’re never guaranteed anything in life, except death. Life is too short to waste away watching television into the twilight of your days…..another re-run of Raymond, another bag of Cheetos, 5 minutes with a wife you stopped caring about so many years ago.

For those who experience the crunch of a despicable 9-5 they don’t love, and then the dull, saccharine-filled, self-hating existence OF mere existence, are bound to lives that will not only be forgettable, but pointless and wasted. There is hope though, if you’re willing to put down that next bag of lard, turn off the hypno-box, and step outside of the comfortable confines of everyday life. Its then that a life of beauty awaits for those who would take that chance to open eyes crusted over by years of existential mediocrity.

Now that you’ve awakened the real person within, you’re left with questions. What do I do? Where do I go? What is this strange new thing inside causing me to…feel?

Many answers would suffice, but for the night of Thursday August 6th in Toronto Ontario, only one is correct – the sombre, sultry, home-wrecking show of sensual and savoury that is Pinup Saints. Most will never know, they lived with Raymond and they will die with Raymond, but for the few that were woken, they were exposed to a night of raw emotion, of music, art, sex, passion, and it all started with a little show from Montreal.

The Pinup Saints indeed are a band from Montreal that have been assembled and divinely influenced by creator Mabel Palomino. The show she has created is nothing short of surreal and absolutely unique. Designed from the ground up to be nothing short of excessive and provocative, the Pinup Saints act is unequivocal in execution and maintains the true spirit of rock and roll, living to the extreme.

Once they hit the stage, you can tell that a movement is happening; a perennial, life-changing, cathartic piece of performance art had entered the presence of those that would accept the danger and truth within themselves. They steal the stage; a lackluster MC can destroy a vibe with only a few words and that was almost the case. A group as talented as Pinup Saints only needed to break into their first song to rid themselves of such a curse. From the second they hit stage the audience was entranced, their music beginning an adventure that can only be navigated by holding on for dear life. Their show, even from early on, can only be described as pure sex and rock, a bright shining beacon in a world that would beg you to ignore such a liberating spectacle.

The band played and played and then played some more, their presence on stage overshadowed by the dancers, but not completely lost as they continued their steamroller of punctuated guitar strikes, blasting drums, and exhilarating production. At times though, the band is so transparent that you barely see them with the action happening on stage in front of them. That’s not to say the music is lost, it certainly is exactly what it should be – dirty, raunchy and downright sexy.

The musical characters seem out of place at times though. Guitarist Pierre-Luc Rioux should think of an image makeover to look more like a member of Pinup Saints instead of a generic club kid that was handed an electric guitar. Drummer Marc-André Gilbert lights it up, staying on beat even with a sweet Pinup dancer gyrating her hips up and down his sweaty, lithe, toned body.

 Singers Raul and Wynn are powerful, for most of the show they are the centrepiece during some of the frenetic numbers. If anything has the ability to open up a dark, clouded mind then these two majestic creatures are two of the best. Their voices are incredibly strong, whipping off high notes that would wake up even the deepest comatose human. This is quickly contrasted by the time they spend dropping lower tones and slower notes, pushing the already soul-crunching music down into a storm of sweltering passion.

Dancers Nico, Anne-Rose, Laurin and Amy are portrayed to be backup, but they end up being the stars of the production at certain excitable points. Even though the music is integral and valuable, the real show truly is the dancing. Outfits danced on and off bodies between songs, creating a theatre like setting, every scene becoming more tantric and alive than the last.

The highlight of the night was a song and dance number so obviously about torturous, tantric, beautiful sex that it ended with one dancer covered in a thick, warm, gooey substance, poured straight from a two-gallon bucket all over her supine, writhing body. The stunned audience was left in complete silence before climaxing, living and breathing on exactly the same wavelength as every single performer.

The silence hung for what may have well been a lifetime, and then, amid the eyes that had finally opened, among the souls that had been taken off of the life-support – applause. Applause and cheering, a resounding noise erupted from the very guttural and basic need in humans to feel loved, needed and desired, a need that had been filled by this intense group of performers from Montreal.

We all want to feel something in life; some of us want to feel numb, some of us want to ride a roller-coaster everyday. When it comes down to Pinup Saints, it can be unequivocally said that they love their craft, there is so much passion poured into their live show that it would be almost impossible not to feel every single bead of sweat that they put into themselves.

To define their show in one word is impossible, they evoke so much out of their crowd that you leave the venue feeling as though you were part of something much bigger than yourself, you feel as though you’ve become part of life for the first time.


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