Show review: The Locusts Have No King and Olenka & The Autumn Lovers

After some time off to catch our breath following September's ridiculously sublime lineup of shows, we belatedly began celebrating Rock-tober last Wednesday with a great evening at Windsor's Phog Lounge (we are back again tonight, Oct. 26, for Rah Rah, We Were Lovers and James O-L and the Villains, review to come).

Instead of the Rheostats from Sarnia to kick off the evening-- no, not the RheostatICs-- we got the Rheostat, as it was just band member John Pilat and his guitar. Pleasant enough, but hardly the opportunity to review the band.

Windsor-based The Locusts Have No King have been on the Phog bill several times this year and we'd heard the, uh, buzz, and now we know why. We debated how to describe them on the way home, and came up with quirky punkabilly, although with his full dark beard and glasses and slightly nasal vocals, lead singer David Dubois is more folk class than thrash. If you want to check them out yourself, The Locusts Have No King are opening for Nightwood at the Phog next month on the 24th.

"Oh my god," someone gasped when Olenka & The Autumn Lovers launched into "Odessa" from their new album, And Now We Sing. The outburst was a reaction to the beauty of the vocal harmonies of Olenka Krakus, violinist Sara Froese and cellist Kelly Wallraff. They're so good the band devoted two songs to "just the girls." "People like it when just the girls sing," Krakus commented with charming naivete. "I don't know why. What's wrong with boys?"

Not a thing, as drummer Daniel Mancini, the versatile Blair Whatmore on guitar, mandolin and lap steel and Simon Larochette on trumpet solidly supported the girls. The band's sound and songs might be inspired by the old country, but there's nothing dated or staid about this oom-pah-pah powered folk/country/pop. Like St. Patrick's Day when everyone is Irish, everyone's a little Polish when Olenka & The Autumn Lovers are in the house. (Photos: Russ Gordon)