Sometimes it can be overwhelming to be confronted with the entire output of an artist you are not familiar with. I knew of Seb Agnello but hadn’t heard his stuff, and then suddenly there were 7 CDs staring at me and I was being urged to buy them. Yet this is a problem that any long-term grassroots artist faces. You may have been recording for 37 years, but the public are too cautious and too busy to buy or listen to 37 years worth of music. Therefore you have to make your latest work your best work and hope that people will investigate further.

I had gathered that Seb’s songs’ lyrical content was slanted against liberals, yuppies and media types, so I was expecting a bit of a rant and a thrash, but when Seb and the other 3 musicians took the stage it became clear that I was wrong. The delivery was measured, joyful and professional. Statements were made, both musical and lyrical, which fitted the community in the room perfectly. While I would not normally support the US government, as Seb does in his lyrics, I could only feel awe at his songwriting and feel privileged to be watching someone who is good at what they do.

The song titles were like tabloid slogans which were skilfully rendered into rock chants, and there were plenty of guitar solos, grooves and riffs to stir the body as well as humour to please the brain.

A reference was made, I presume, to what Seb sees as some sort of Toronto left-wing hegemony before the band played what was described as ‘the most hated song on Queen Street in 1983’. The song was called ‘Stop Picking on America’ and it appears on the CD ‘Take Your Lumps’, which was being launched tonight, 25 years later.