out of nowhere.

While standing around a campfire filled with defunct magazines Saturday night, we started talking about odd concert experiences, and The Wife took everyone through one of our best.

About five years ago, we were called to Toronto to celebrate the first birthday of one of our young cousins. We decided to make a long weekend of the trip — got a hotel room at the Sheraton across Queen Street West from city hall, and started picking out restaurants, neighborhoods and bars we wanted to check out while we were there.

On our first night in town, we ate at a kick-ass little Italian restaurant off College Street. We were walking back up the street to a bar we noticed on the way to eat when we passed a record store. We heard music and saw a little crowd inside.

That was the only time we’ve ever seen the FemBots, a TO band that had just released its second record and was ready to become a fairly big deal in their hometown.

It’s too easy to call them an alt-country band. They’re unfailingly quirky; their first two records are filled with found noises, out-of-tune metallic clanks, off-kilter clapping. And the lyrics? From the title track of Small Town Murder Scene:
A single hanging bulb
does its best to cut the gloom
It casts a sickly yellow light
on all the things we never use:
a spade and shovel, some broken chairs and you.
I don’t know if we’ll ever see the FemBots in Pittsburgh, although I’d love to have the chance to see them again, in a record store, a club or a theater. So their CDs will have to be good enough for now.