Wax Mannequin is a force of nature—an awesome and unstoppable, if sometimes clumsy, hurricane. He arrives in a flurry of movement befitting the Tasmanian Devil, promptly loses his keys, gives an awkward and timid hello that belies the fury within then erupts on stage with an unmatched intensity before narrowly missing his flight to the next rock-forsaken town of which he will become the saviour.
There are not many performers that I put on the same pedestal as this tireless troubadour. He also holds a unique position in Dog Is Blue lore:
Tuesday, September 9, 2008. Laura and I drove to Guelph on a whim to see Wax Mannequin play with The Kettle Black at the now-defunct (and greatly missed) Family Thrift Store. Jenny Omnichord was working the door and informed us that Wax had been forced to cancel at the last minute. Knowing Laura and I had been hoping to start performing live, she proceeded to throw down the gauntlet: “You want to start playing music, right? Why don’t you open the show tonight?”
I payed solo on The Kettle Black*’s guitar for the most part, with Laura joining for occasional harmonies while brandishing a shaker made out of thrift store shrapnel. As a sacrificial offering to the dejected Wax Fannequins in attendance I opened with a timid cover of “End of Me” (a fantastic Wax song that had yet to be released at that point)*.
Our first show took place because he didn’t show up and the first song we played was written by him. In the sage words of the man himself: “That shit is Wax Mannequin.”
We’ve since had the good fortune of sharing the stage with him proper, and will do so again at Phog Lounge in Windsor tomorrow night (Nov. 27).