Chixdiggit! Helps Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club Celebrate 30

Punk rock vibe fuels unstoppable venue.

Chixgiggit! singer performing at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club.

Chixdiggit! at the Bovine Sex Club

Who: Chixdiggit!
Where: Bovine Sex Club, Toronto
When: Fri., Nov. 5
Vibe: A sea of black denim and studded leather, lit up by colourful Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling and jittering with as much energy as the punk band on stage.
Highlight: The band confessing they have no planned setlist, so they take crowd requests all night and play one popular track twice!

Friday nights in Toronto are slowly coming back to life, and we have the city’s historic venues to thank. For three nights in a row, Queen West institution the Bovine Sex Club celebrated its impressive 30th anniversary with Calgary punk band Chixdiggit!, and I find myself right in the centre of the action.

With three decades to its name, the Bovine holds a lot of stories within its graffitied and junk-covered walls. The space has welcomed Against Me!, Billy Talent, Thee Oh Sees and countless others over the years — even Rihanna — and some New York Dolls have dropped by to hang. Excited to be a small part of the Bovine’s history, I’m buzzing with anticipation upon arrival, quietly thrilled to see a small crowd gathered outside the venue doors. It’s a sight we’re not quite used to, unless you count lining up outside a grocery store for the past year and a half.

Interior decor of the Bovine Sex Club - a mix of Christmas lights strung on the ceiling and across the back bar, with car parts and doll heads strewn about.

Inside is an immediate fight to the bar. The place is packed, wall to wall with guests in various black, band T-shirts. Drink in hand, I place myself right in front of the low stage, determined to see everything up close. Although seeing “everything” at the Bovine likely requires several visits — the DIY decor of band stickers, car parts and doll heads is a lot to take in at once.

Friday’s opening act is Toronto punk trio School Damage, who launch into a series of wailing tracks that immediately ignite the crowd. It’s fast and cathartic and over far too soon.

As the night progresses, the beer-soaked floor becomes stickier and the crowd continues to grow. When Chixdiggit! finally take the stage at midnight, we’re ready to party. A first-time Chixdiggit! viewer, I quickly learn they don’t follow a standard stage production. No setlist in sight, the band starts a call and response with fans and asks which songs they want to hear. Also celebrating 30 years, Chixdiggit! pull from decades worth of material. Tracks like Miso Ramen and I Hate Basketball are easy to pick up lyrically and join in. Other songs haven’t been played in years, and there is a lot of experimentation on stage, which is refreshing.

Sonically, there are a lot of heavy guitars and crashing drums, further fuelling the audience’s energy. At one point, I almost end up on the stage as the rowdy mosh pit pitches me forward. One or two people might need a refresher on mosh pit etiquette, but overall, everyone is clearly in high spirits and glad to be sharing a wild musical moment like this together again.

Congrats to Bovine visionary Darryl Fine and the amazing BSC Team — here’s to 30 more kick-ass years!

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